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New Release Review with Giveaways: Undying by Valerie Grosjean (Undying #1)



Undying by Valerie Grosjean
(Undying #1)
Publication date: September 29th 2013
Genres: Paranormal, Young Adult, Zombies

This is a story of love . . . and zombies.

When eighteen-year-old college freshman Christian discovers his dormitory is crawling with the living dead, he knows he has a problem. But once he learns the whole country is overrun by the flesh-eating horde, he must race to protect what matters to him most.

Sixteen-year-old Iris, the girl he loves, is stranded eighty miles away, alone and completely unaware of the gruesome threat surrounding her.

Christian’s plan is to evade the zombies, drive the distance to rescue Iris, and get them both to his family farm—where there are guns, fuel, and everything else they’ll need to survive. His mission seems simple: Get the girl, get to the farm, and stay alive.

Things get complicated when Christian is forced to make an unthinkable choice between Iris and his family. Someone he loves must die, and he must decide.

Valerie Grosjean’s love for zombie movies shines through every page of this novel. Its hero, Christian, often reflects it:
A current of electricity ran down my spine. I could feel someone back there, undead, ready to spring when I approached.
In a horror movie, that was exactly what would happen. A zombie would emerge and attack just as I passed its hiding place, cued by a sudden, loud burst in the creepy background music. Depending on whether I was the hero or just an expendable extra, I would either make a narrow escape or be eaten in a gory, detailed close-up.
I could envision some less mechanically inclined mortal stopping at a gas station, just like she’d seen in the movies: She pulls in next to the pump. Stepping out of her car, she walks around to the tank and twists off the gas cap. The she removes the nozzle, sticks it in the tank, and raises the lever to start filling.
When nothing happens, she realizes it’s not going to work. The pump display is dead, but in desperation, she repeatedly pounds the unresponsive buttons on the lifeless unit and squeezes the handle on the gas nozzle again and again.
Finally, she’s surrounded by a ravenous hoard of zombies.
Shaking her fist in the air as a final gesture, she yells into the heavens, “…but it worked in the movies. Curse you, Hollywood!”
She continues to shake her fist until a zombie rips it off. Blood and screams fade to black.
I really hoped that wasn’t Iris right now.
Undying  is a fast-paced, adrenalin-infused read. Just like the apparent virus that has caused the epidemic, everything escalates quickly for Christian in the novel, and the reader is left hanging on for dear life as the story hurtles along.
I’m not a huge fan of zombie culture–I’ve only read or seen a small sample of what’s out there–but this story definitely kept my attention. It doesn’t have an HEA, but instead ends on an “okay for now” note. (Two more books are coming–Infecting and Relieving.) Romance is definitely a small side note here–Christian is understandably concerned with survival and getting to those he loves, both romantically and in a filial way.
He has varying degrees of success with those goals.
 Since we see everything from Christian’s POV and since it took him a while to figure things out with is almost no information coming in from the outside, we don’t really find out too much about the cause of the zombie infestation. We hear a little about its probable spread, and the rest we learn with Christian, through trial and error. It can be assumed that more will be revealed in later series installments.
In the meantime, don’t read this–especially the beginning scenes–in a time and place where staying quiet is a necessity. The opening half of the novel in particular caused many a noisy outburst on my part–shocked laughter, horrified squeals, and much yelling at poor Christian–that had my current companion (my mother’s cat–I was cat sitting at the time) worrying more than usual about my state of mind.
Don’t say I didn’t warn you.
Oh, and you might want to consider sticking to bottled water. I’m just saying.
Rating: C+ and 3 1/2 (very entertaining) stars
I received an ARC in exchange for an honest review.
Valerie Grosjean is the author of the young adult novel UNDYING. She grew up on a Nebraska farm. After college, she married and moved to Northern California, where she lives with her husband and their two young children. Her obsession with zombie movies inspired UNDYING, her first novel and the beginning of the Undying series.
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