Series: The Dead Saga #1
Genres: Dystopian, Horror, Post-Apocalyptic, Science Fiction, Suspense
It's better to die by the gun than die by the dead.
Nina’s life was irrevocably changed when humanity’s dead began to rise.
Now, she lives behind the walls.
The barricaded cities, erected by the government to protect the remnants of civilization, have become a brutal dictatorship- causing the inhabitants within to starve, steal and claw for survival. Life behind the walls has become as terrifying as roaming the zombie-ridden landscape beyond.
Citizens trade what they can to gain food, water, and shelter. Nina has only one currency—her body and she is tired of submitting herself to the greedy hands of the self-proclaimed leaders.
An opportunity to escape presents itself in the fate of a young girl named Emily-Rose. For the price of a stale piece of bread, she is set for banishment from the city, and most likely a horrific death at the hands of the deaders. Nina tells herself that it is sympathy and not self-preservation that makes her follow the young girl out of the walled metropolis, and into the overgrown world beyond.
Unused to fighting the deaders, Nina tries to scrounge for her survival and against her better judgment, begins to care for Emily-Rose. However, when you have a bread-stealing liability providing your only back up, survival seems even tougher. Nina is forced to fight for their lives, and with every zombie slain, she becomes fiercer, faster – a grim reaper with her not-so-sharp butcher’s knife.
Along the path to a safe-haven that might not exist, Nina and Emily-Rose meet Mikey who introduces them to a new life they could not imagine, a life above the ground. However, this new world brings new dangers, and darker shadows than she knew.
Nina finds out that the deaders aren’t the only thing to fear beyond the wall.
And that fear will not be ignored, or Forgotten.
Okay, so I’m not a fan of horror. I don’t like zombies, and I don’t like grossness. I’m not a part of the post apocalyptic TV fandoms, and my experience with dystopian novels is narrow and pretty much only encompasses the world of THG. That being said, I’ve been trying to expand my reading repertoire lately and open myself up to new things. I usually read mainstream romances, occasionally wandering into the world of PNR when I want to mix things up. So how did I end up reading this book? Well, I read Word Play by Amalie Silver – a witty satire about the crazy book world (read it!) – and one of the characters I loved in that book was an ‘adorable little redhead’ who wrote about zombies, vampires and severed limbs. My curiosity was peaked, I bought Odium, and I began reading. So what did I think about this zombie book? Well, I thought it was pretty fucking good. Odium was a fantastically freaky read for me. A good introduction into the zombie world, that left me wanting more.
Odium takes place sometime after the deaders (zombies) overran the world, and the majority of the world’s population is living in walled off cities to keep them safe from the walking dead. Too bad the world behind the walls was just another version of fucked up, just as dangerous and deadly as the one outside.
Fear is the biggest weapon now.
The wall was meant to keep the dead out and the living in, but to what end? Without any control over their existence, were these people really living? Well, Nina didn’t think so. She was burning with a deep resentment, for the people who suppressed and took advantage of those they were supposed to protect, and for the people who didn’t stand up to them.
The other people behind the walls, what they had to do to survive was just as bad as what I had to go through, but I hate them just the same. I hate them for never helping me, I hate them for watching me suffer, and I hate them for having someone to protect. A family.
Fed up, and pissed off, Nina finally refused to tolerate her life anymore. She escaped the walled city with a young exile, Emily, and entered the wild world beyond.
I don’t feel any remorse that I’m out here instead of behind its safety. For the first time in a long time I feel free again, like I’m back in charge of my life – however short-lived that may be.
Nina and Emily were unequipped to handle a world full of deaders, but with a little luck, and a serendipitous meeting with a man with a shotgun, they are able to fend off the deaders and find safety within a group who’ve found an ingenious way to survive in this zombie world. There was little time for them to settle in though, because as I quickly learned, in this world the characters never got any relief. They were never are able to relax because they were forever on guard and fighting for survival. Like with any good horror flick, I was holding my breath the entire time I was reading, because I was bracing for the next shocking scene, the next devastating blow. And it always came. With Odium, I was constantly being assaulted with death and destruction, terror and tension. I didn’t know who was going to live and who was going to die. I didn’t know who could and couldn’t be trusted (the deaders weren’t the only baddies in this story!).
I loved the rapid pace of this book. There was never a dull moment. Although, that didn’t mean that I read it quickly. I had to take breaks because my weak stomach couldn’t handle the gore. The scenes were descriptive enough to make me cringe, but not enough to turn me off, so if you aren’t a regular reader of horror, you shouldn’t shy away from this book. If I can handle it, then you can too.
Alongside the action, I also loved the characters in Odium. They were well developed and I got a good sense of who they each were. Nina, the protagonist, was a hardass, who I sometimes wanted to choke, but I understood her motivations, and I became invested in her story. Her bitchiness and attitude was a shield, and I got that she was just protecting herself from the pain that was so prevalent in this world where nothing is guaranteed.
In this world you get attached to things very quickly…you lose them, or they die. I swore I wouldn’t let myself get attached to anything or anyone again…
I loved her interactions with Mikey. He quickly took on the role of her protector, and she fought him tooth and nail, refusing to accept his friendship or any hint of something more.
We’re not your problem, Mikey. I can manage on my own, and I can protect Emily too. I don’t need you.
I know you don’t. You’re as tough as old boots, Nina. But I want to.
I thought Odium was a great balance of horror, humor, romance, and suspense. As a reader who wasn’t exposed to this type of story before, I thought that Claire C. Riley did a great job mixing all the elements together, and creating a story that was multifaceted. The world she created was intense and exciting. I was enthralled throughout the whole story, and I can’t wait to read the rest of this series to see what happens next.
What do you do when hell comes upon the world? Run and hide or stand and fight?