The Reapers are the Angels by Alden Bell (link to authors website)
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
The Reapers will terrify you, give you nightmares, and make you flinch when someone approaches from behind. The horror and gore is vivid and near nauseating. The revelations and philosophies will make you question your priorities; re-evaluate your motivations; and invoke an insatiable desire to stare at the stars, feel the grass beneath your bare feet and the shocking cold of rain on your face, to sing out loud, and to wander in wonderment. Temple’s world may be sick, but through her thoughts and eyes it is unquestionably precious and awe inspiring.
With a poetic depth, brilliant description, and horrifying exploits, Bell presents a distinctive story. I will keep this book, I will buy the final publication, and I will read this book again and again. This book is a reference to the beautiful world God has created and reminder things could always be worse.
Temple was born into this zombie infested world. She’s never known anything else. Early memories numb her with the brutal reality of losing every person she’s ever gotten close to. Hardened and damaged and wandering the countryside lacking purpose, she discovers humans more disturbed than the living dead, situations more horrifying than constantly avoiding the flesh eating “Slugs”, yet Temple still notices and revels in the magic, beauty, and wonderment in God’s country.
The dead began rising nearly 25 years ago, 10 years before Sarah Mary, or Temple as she calls herself, was born. She doesn’t recall her blood family, and isn’t really sure she had one. There was a boy, for all purposes he may have been her brother; a mother whom she assumes existed,
“I guess I must of had one,” Temple says trying to breathe through her mouth so she doesn’t choke on the perfumed air. “That’s how it works, don’t it?”
And an assumed uncle that taught her the basic skills needed to survive this world before succumbing to the unrest himself.
Temple knows she needs to keep moving to stay ahead of the pressing Zombies. She needs to keep moving to stave off her own personal demons, convinced she is evil because of some of the terrible things she has had to do for self-preservation; things no 15 year old should ever have to see, but “that’s just the way this world is.” Temple encounters a mentally retarded man that she is compelled to protect, “an innocent that never could hurt no one,” and proceeds to travel across the country to see him off to what family she hopes survives. On her journey Temple meets a group of wanderers that journey to see the wonders of this country and tell her of Niagara Falls and how “people would go there for honeymoons and you could lean over a railing and feel the mist on your face and it would take your breath away, the majesty.” Temple accidentally kills a man whose brother then vows to end her, tracking her across the states, and in the end determines “she is a princess warrior that sees the world for what it is, not the past, not the future, just the wonder all around her.”
Synopsis from book cover:
For twenty-five years, civilization has survived in meager enclaves, guarded against a plague of the dead. Temple wanders this blighted landscape, keeping to herself and keeping her demons inside her heart. She can't remember a time before the zombies, but she does remember an old man who took her in and the younger brother she cared for until the tragedy that set her off on her personal journey toward redemption. Moving back and forth between the insulated remnants of society and the brutal frontier beyond, Temple must decide where ultimately to make a home and find the salvation she seeks.
About the author:
Alden Bell is a pseudonym for Joshua Gaylord, whose first novel, Hummingbirds, was released in Fall '09. He teaches in a New York City prep school and is an adjunct professor at The New School. He lives in New York City with his wife, the Edgar-award-winning mystery writer, Megan Abbott. (MacMillan Publishing)
The Reapers Are The Angels by Alden Bell.
Advance Review Copy provided and published by Tor UK, to be released September 3, 2010
US release 8/3/2010 published by Holt Paperbacks