Thursday, November 25, 2010

Review: Thunder And Ashes by Z.A. Recht (Blog Tour)

Title: Thunder And Ashes
Series: Morningstar Strain #2
Author: Z.A. Recht
Available: Now
Reading Level: Adult

3.5 out of 5 Stars

**Possible spoilers for earlier books in this series below**

Description from Goodreads:

A lot can change in three months: wars can be decided, nations can be forged... or entire species can be brought to the brink of annihilation. The Morningstar Virus, an incredibly virulent disease, has swept the face of the planet, infecting billions. Its hosts rampage, attacking anything that remains uninfected. Even death can't stop the virus-its victims as cannibalistic shamblers. Scattered across the world, embattled groups have persevered. For some, surviving is the pinnacle of achievement. Others hoard goods and weapons. And still others leverage power over the remnants of humanity in the form of a mysterious cure for Morningstar. Francis Sherman and Anna Demilio want only a vaccine, but to find it, they must cross a countryside in ruins, dodging not only the infected, but also the lawless living. The bulk of the storm has passed over the world, leaving echoing thunder and softly drifting ashes. But for the survivors, the peril remains, and the search for a cure is just beginning...

My thoughts:

Thunder and Ashes follows three groups of Morningstar Virus survivors. When infected the virus causes you to become the living dead. The first set is lead by a couple of military men who are trying to get to Omaha. Over the course of their travels they find themselves helping a survivors village deal with some ruthless bandits. The second group contains the doctor who is considered an expert on The Morningstar Virus. She is attempting to get to Omaha so she can work on a vaccine. Survivor groups one and two hope to meet up at the research facility in Omaha. The final set are sailors from the USS Ramage. They’ve abandoned ship, and while exploring an abandoned town they find themselves in possession of a seriously hot commodity. 

Ok, I did it again. I read a series out of order. I didn’t realize this was a sequel to another book. I saw zombies and thought Heck Yeah! Thankfully, reading this without reading the first turned out not to be a big deal. Background info was provided, and I pieced together what had occurred in book one, Plague of the Dead

The husband and I are both a little zombie obsessed. We have a group of friends who we’ve planned our survival strategy with. Yes, we roll nerdy. So when I discover a new book starring the undead I have to read it. Thunder and Ashes portrayed the reanimated in a different light than I’ve seen so far. You have two types, shamblers and sprinters. The names are pretty self-explanatory. Shamblers move slowly so you can usually get away. The sprinters are the scary ones. They can catch you. Once they’ve let out their roar to alert other undead in the area you better make yourself scarce. They hunt like a pack. Zombies are scary, but the thought that they would be coordinated enough to actually hunt together and sprint after you is seriously unsettling. 

Kudos to the author for pointing out the virus is in the blood, and having character decontaminate themselves after a bloody battle with the undead. I hate when folks are out bludgeoning zombies in books or movies with little concern for blood splatter. Hello! Get some protective gear. Last thing you want is zombie blood or brain matter in your eye. Nice group of characters featured in this one. They could have been a little more developed. The pacing could have also been better. An extra 30 pages would have provided a meatier story, and maybe not such a rushed ending. Even with the minor flaws I was enthralled. This would make a fantastic movie. Seriously scary stuff, and if you’re looking for something to make you sleep with the lights on this is it. 

I plan to backtrack and read the first book in this series. While I was researching the series further, I was sad to learn the author had passed away. A ghostwriter is working on finishing the third book in this series which is titled Survivors.

On the web:

Books in this series:

Plague of the Dead: The Morningstar SagaThunder and Ashes

Source: Publisher


  1. The third book, SURVIVORS, will be available June 19th. Just thought you'd like to know!