The Reapers are the Angels

I’m working on a novel– let’s just say it’s under the “zombie” genre umbrella– and I’ve been doing my homework reading the “best” of the genre. I’ve gotten a bit into World War Z and just finished The Reapers are the Angels.

I enjoyed it. The main character, Temple, is barely a young woman, and an incredibly adept survivalist in the zombie apocalypse. She doesn’t pine for the time before the “meatskins” because she barely remembers any of it. She isn’t all psycho-mad at them either. She regards them as you might any other moderately dangerous animal in the wild– the returned dead are simply part of her everyday life. They don’t even take that large of a central role in the story, which is primarily about the survivors and her evolving relationships to them. So, not so much on obliterating zombies, but still an engaging and entertaining read.

It has some very lovely language that you’d normally find in more literary works, but is also very readable and fairly fast-paced. Alden Bell (a pen name from Joshua Gaylord) does owe a certain debt to Cormac McCarthy for the style of the language (the Southern bent in the character’s speech reinforces that connection). There were a few cliches I could have done without (do we really need another main character staring in a mirror, taking inventory of their features?). And a very strange– even for a zombie book– mad scientist moment in the story stretched the integrity of the world a bit thin. And, well, I kind of hated the ending for ruining everything completely, but… I appreciated the choice on an intellectual level. Apart from these foibles, it was a good read.

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