PJV Quickie: When I first started reading Fatal, I wasn’t sure I was going to like it. I didn’t know if I was going to enjoy this take on a zombie novel and the writing was a bit strange at times in the beginning. Those thoughts only lasted through the first few chapters; after that, I was hooked!
The first few chapters of this book didn’t exactly wow me. The zombie premise seemed a little shaky and I was unsure if it would be a plot I could get behind. The protagonist, Grayson, was extremely moody and standoffish due to the fact that he was unhappy with his lot in life. He didn’t want to be a zombie and knowing that there was little chance of him ever being a human again didn’t help any. Of course if you read the synopsis, you understand that the other main character, Cori, is supposedly his ticket to being human. I had trouble connecting with her in the very beginning as well; she was moody and didn’t want to get close to anyone since she was still trying to deal with her father’s death. That I could understand, I’ve been there too. Some of her interactions with Grayson came off as a bit childish, which was irritating at times, and there were moments that the dialogue seemed a little awkward. At a certain point though, not too far in to the novel, the things I found myself disliking just seemed to fade away. It hit a stride and the story flowed along smoothly; so much so that I couldn’t put it down.
I thought the relationship between Grayson and Cori was incredibly sweet. Sure, it wasn’t all sunshine and kittens, especially in the beginning. It took Cori a while to break down his defenses, but she was so patient and never gave up on him. For Grayson’s part, he stepped out of his comfort zone and tried his best to fit in with Cori’s friends. It was incredibly difficult for him, to change his way of thinking after 19 years of being a zombie; for her it seemed like he would do just about anything.
I’ll be better, he thought. I can do better, try harder. When she nodded, he realized he’d said it out loud. But he couldn’t take it back. What had been meant as a silent promise was now a declaration. And really, that was okay because somehow he knew he would always try to be better for her. Maybe one day he would be able to leave her alone – inevitably the day would come when he would have to tell her what he’d become or leave her – but today was not that day. (Chapter 14, pg. 143 in my copy)
As I mentioned previously, I wasn’t sure if I would like this different spin on the typical zombie tale. I’m a fan of The Walking Dead, so mostly I associate zombies with decay and zero brain activity, except for their incessant drive to devour human flesh. Fatal definitely exceeded my expectations; I liked that the zombies were so human-like, at least until they hit the Age of Deterioration. It was something that happened at the end of their life and more closely resembled what we usually think of when we picture the undead. The way they kept themselves animated with drinking water (LOTS of water) was interesting as well.
The second book in the series, Lethal, is set to come out later this year. It seems interesting in that it appears to follow Cori’s friends, Peg and Aiken (who I completely neglected in my review, sorry!), through the same time period as book 1. It will be fascinating to see how their story played out, since we didn’t really didn’t see much interaction between the two characters previously. Just to give a little background, Peg is a girl who befriends Cori almost immediately and is always there for her. Aiken is a guy who arrives in town about the same time as Cori and seems to have a thing for her; appearances can certainly be deceiving though. There’s more to Aiken than meets the eye, but I’ll let you read Fatal and find out for yourself.
The beginning started out a little rough for me, but once the story got going I loved Fatal. The characters were likable and I appreciated the fact that Grayson and Cori’s relationship wasn’t rushed; they had their ups and downs, yet never gave up on each other. I’m looking forward to seeing what the rest of the series has in store.
If you’re in the mood for a YA paranormal romance with a zombie twist, then this book is right up your alley!