Release Date: October 26, 2014
I always thought when the apocalypse finally began I would be swinging my baseball bat with the best of them, in true zombie slayer fashion. I was prepped and ready to smash in some heads if the need ever arose.
The problem is…no one ever warned me that I would have to fear the humans instead. The ones who still remember their names and how to put a gun to your temple when they want something.
The others…well,they pretty much keep to themselves.
Wither is a psychological thriller that poses the question…what if the zombies aren’t the ones we should fear? What if it’s human nature instead?
How far would YOU go to survive just one more day?
Do not fear the Withered Ones. Fear the ones still human.
***I received this eARC in exchange for an honest review
Wither is the perfect Halloween read. It’s graphic, full of wickedly grotesque imagery and enough suspense to make nail-biting a habit. Read this with the lights on.
- What makes Wither such a stunning and compelling read is the take on zombies and the questions about the nature of humanity. Set in a dystopian world where everyone must fend for their lives against a vile infection that results in a zombie-like state (Withered One), Amy Miles forces the reader to question what people are willing to risk and how far they’ll go to save themselves. When chaos and apocalyptic horrors arise, how much of our humanity are we made to sacrifice to circumstance and how much do we choose to forsake?
- The Withered are not the traditional brain-eating, bloody imbeciles with a hunger for human flesh, they’re largely peaceful and helpless, they walk into things, destroying their decaying flesh without a second thought and meander through the decimated city. They’re creepy, yes, and some of these gruesomely graphic images are truly terrifying but as a threat, they’re not the worst that can happen. I appreciated this off-beat spin. When it comes right down to it, who is the real monster, a Withered whose eye-socket is empty and flesh is shredded in ribbons, or the men who abduct and murder without conscience?
- The suspense is killer. Edge-of-your-seat, avert your eyes sort of uncertainty. Every scene is made of risk and recklessness, of fear and threats, and what’s more, of the bleak reality that safety is a thing of the past. There’s a powerful sense of foreboding that resonates throughout the story, you’ll be left in a dizzying state of constant tension and fear for the characters.
- Suspicion is high and the military is painted in shadow. The rumors of their involvement and the mystery behind their seemingly random actions is a puzzle that grows and builds piece by piece adding to the big picture.
- The birthing scene will probably stay with me for life.
- Action is high. If you’re looking for explosions, hand-to-hand combat, guns, slaughter, and extremely detailed gore, this is your next favorite read.
- The epilogue is a semi-cliffhanger with promise of redemption, revenge, and carnage. The paranoia and confusion over changes in the Withered is thought-provoking and the sense of a huge shift, a new threat is high.
- Cable. Cable. CABLE. There’s something warm and cowboyish about Cable. He’s military but has a southern gentleman feel. He’s compassionate, a big teddy bear of a man that’s all sex appeal and fierce protectiveness, the man is a total bad ass. He’s stabbing, kicking, throwing punches, and always putting his life on the line to save those he cares about. His interactions with Avery are playful and charming. He’s wise and brings a smile to the typically downtrodden Avery. The light he brings is pretty miraculous in such a dismal scenery.
- Avery is a scared, traumatized girl who has a past that left deep emotional scars. It’s Avery’s past that has made her into a warrior, or at least gave her the tools to become one. At first she is paralyzed with fear, however, when the real horrors begin she learns fast how to adapt and fight for her life. Avery, at heart, is a wonderful person. She cares so much that it clouds her decisions and sometimes nearly kills her. She’s fiery, bold, blunt, and very outspoken. She wants to be heard and roars her opinions.
- Does contain what could be considered triggers. Assault, violence, lots of blood and gore, abuse.
- Avery makes some arguably stupid decisions. While she does have every right and instinct to withhold her trust and be leery of those willing to help her, it’s pretty clear that Cable is her best bet and a great guy right off the bat and yet, she’s like a panicked, caged animal desperate to flee into dangers far worse than she’s experienced. Avery doesn’t learn from her mistakes, she’s brave but stubborn, she leaps before she looks and ends up in horrendous situations because of her impatience.
- Alex’s backstory was pretty absent, as were the stories of some of the other secondary characters. I was dying to know how they got in their position, who they were before, and how the apocalypse changed them.
Today we are sitting down with Avery Whitlock, our heroine from WITHER, book 1 of the WITHERED SERIES.
Interviewer: “Growing up on the streets is a hard way to live. Do you think learning to fend for yourself at a young age really helped prepare you for the apocalypse?”
Avery: “Sure. Not everyone grows up in a Leave it to Beaver sort of home. My mother wasn’t exactly the best role model. She worked a lot, had a thing for bad guys and drowned her sorrows in the bottom of a bottle after my dad skipped town. My brother left not long after we moved to St. Louis so I was on my own a lot.
You learn some valuable lessons when you have to take care of yourself. Sometimes you do things that other people would snub their noses at just to eat. Sometimes you trust the wrong people. You learn by trial and fire. I guess that made me tougher than most girls when facing our new world.”
Interviewer: “Why do you think you stuck by your mother’s side after the world started falling apart? In the beginning you could have escaped without much trouble, yet you remained.”
Avery: “I’ve asked myself that question more times than I can count. Obviously there was no love shared between my mother and I. She and I were pretty much strangers in the same home. I avoided her and she liked that. It wasn’t until her accident that left her in a coma that I actually spent any time with her.
Part of me thinks maybe I stayed for closure. Maybe I just wanted her to wake up and admit that she’d wronged me. I don’t know…it doesn’t make sense, but then again, when has bitterness ever done so?”
Interviewer: “You went through quite at lot those first few days. Can you tell us a little about what you were thinking?”
Avery: “Honestly, I was shitting my pants most of the time and praying no one noticed. I’m not so good at letting people in, or needing them for that matter. I’ve always been a bit of a loner. I like my space. I like to be on my own. After Cable, the marine that saved my life at the hospital, got me back on my feet I was too stubborn to consider that he might actually be a good guy. So I did the idiotic thing and tried to make it on my own.”
Interviewer: “And how did that work out for you?”
Avery: “I got kidnapped, twice. Yeah, it could have gone better.”
Interviewer: “So then Cable saved you again?”
Avery: “Yeah. He’s got this really annoying hero complex but after a while you sort of get used to it. Actually, I guess that’s not really being fair. Cable’s a good guy and those are really rare in this world, especially now. I owe him a lot and that’s hard to admit.”
Interviewer: “So with the world changing rapidly around you, how did you decide what the best course of action might be to stay alive?”
Interview: “Can you elaborate on that?”
Avery: “Look, when you’re out there and your ass is on the line, you need someone there to watch over it for you. You can’t do it on your own. Well, you probably could for a short time but eventually you’re going to slip up. I had to learn that even though I may not have wanted people in my life, I did need them.”
Interviewer: “So I’ve heard rumors about a possible budding relationship between Cable and yourself? Any truth to it?”
Avery: “No comment.”
Interviewer: “Interesting. One final question. After all that you’ve been through and seen, do you think the world has a chance of coming back from this apocalypse?”
Avery: “I really hope so…cause its freakin’ messed up out there right now.”
If you like any of the following, you’ll enjoy this:
“Yet, even when stars die, they leave a lasting impact through their light, their diamond brilliance as they scatter their material to form new stars. When people die, they leave the same impact with the footprints they leave on people’s hearts. Even the ones who feel insignificant go out, leaving behind dust that can nourish the world anew.”
Amelia Gareth’s brother is a witch and the only way to save her family from the taint in his blood is to become a professed nun at Cathedral Reims in the snowy city of Malva. However, in order to become professed, she must endure trials that all nuns must face.
Surviving these trials is not easy, especially for Amelia, who is being stalked by shadowy beings only she can see. They’re searching for people they can physically touch, because only those they can touch can see them. Amelia soon learns why she is being stalked when she accidentally harms her best friend with fire during the third trial. Fire is a witch’s signature. The shadows are after witches.
Now Amelia must decide what to do: should she continue on her path to profession knowing there is no redemption, or should she give up on her dream and turn away from Cathedral Reims in order to stop the shadows who plan to destroy everything she loves?
Alice Sheraton is slated to be executed for being a witch; however, her father spares her. He sends her to Finight Hill, a safe house for witches. Here a Shadowman begins to pursue her, and from this Shadowman she learns she has been bound since birth with a terrible fate: either be a martyr to free witches from their misery, or choose to live knowing her existence will bring on more chaos.
Where do I even begin? This book is fantastic, easily one of the best books I’ve read so far this year (2013), and for those of you who haven’t checked out my Goodreads tally that’s close to 170 books. Let me start off by saying that going in, I had no idea what to expect, you think becoming a nun? Hmm? Perhaps not the traditional route for paranormal YA but honestly, this is such a creative, beautifully crafted concept that juxtaposes the traditional ideas of sin, fate, temptation, and damnation with redemption, choice, abstinence, and salvation, it’s got something for everyone.
If you are a fan of Rae Carson’s Fire and Thorns series, Amy Plum’s Revenants series, Carrie Ryan’s The Forest of Hands and Teeth series or even Cheri Lasota’s Artemis Rising add this to your TBR pile NOW! You won’t be disappointed.
For more of this review, see the original post here –> When Stars Die Review
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Amber Skye Forbes is a dancing writer who prefers pointe shoes over street shoes, leotards over skirts, and ballet buns over hairstyles. She loves striped tights and bows and will edit your face with a Sharpie if she doesn’t like your attitude. She lives in Augusta, Georgia where she writes dark fiction that will one day put her in a psychiatric ward…again. But she doesn’t care because her cat is a super hero who will break her out.