Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Blog Tour: As The World Dies Untold Tales by Rhiannon Frater - Review & Guest Post

Hi!  Thanks for stopping by the blog for my Tour Stop for 
As The World Dies The Untold Tales by Rhiannon Frater!
We are so thrilled to have Rhiannon stop by the blog and talk about
the possibility of love during the Zombocalypse.

But first, take a look at what the books are about, and my thoughts!

THE FIRST DAYS: AS THE WORLD DIES introduced Jenni and Katie and their harrowing journey to the makeshift fort in the Texas Hill Country.

But theirs is not the only tale to be told.

In the first volume of the AS THE WORLD DIES UNTOLD TALES experience three terrifying tales of those who are forced to face the unrelenting and hungry walking dead.

Deep in the Texas Hill Country, a man and his little dog takes refuge in a bed and breakfast located in the hills above a doomed town where an infested rescue center might unleash the hungry undead…

On a deserted highway slicing through the desolation of West Texas, a woman struggles to survive as she faces the horrifying aftermath of the rise of the zombies…

And finally, discover what happens on the first day to Katie’s beloved wife, Lydia, as the world dies…
THE FIRST DAYS: AS THE WORLD DIES introduced Jenni and Katie and their harrowing journey to the makeshift fort in the Texas Hill Country. FIGHTING TO SURVIVE: AS THE WORLD DIES continued their story as the two women joined the members of the makeshift fort in Ashley Oaks in the fight for survival against not only zombies, but the evil designs of bandits.

But theirs is not the only tale to be told.

In the second volume of the AS THE WORLD DIES UNTOLD TALES experience three terrifying tales of those who are forced to face the unrelenting and hungry walking dead.

In a nearby town Ken and Lenore have started their regular routine at Ken’s Beauty Salon. A terrible accident brings the undead plague to their front door and soon the best friends are scrambling to escape their overrun town…

Katarina is just finishing her shift at a roadside café when a badly injured man stumbles through the front door. She quickly realizes that to survive she must learn to kill…

And finally, a trapped family must face the fearsome truth that sometimes zombies are not the worst monster they have to fear as the world dies…

Let me start off by saying that I dove into this world of As The World Dies totally blind. I hadn’t read the synopsis’ on any of the books, I didn’t read any reviews, nothing…nada! Then one day, on a Twitter filled evening, I caught snippets of a few awesome fellow bloggers talking about the As The World Dies trilogy. What was it about their conversation that caught my eye? ZOMBIES! Done! Hooked! Must have. Luckily for me, I saw the “call to arms” for Rhiannon Frater’s As The World Dies Untold Days book tour and I was like “hell yes, I am so going to see what the hype is!”

Now, because the short stories that are in these two volumes were actually stories about the characters in the main trilogy but PRE fort, I was absolutely sure, without a shadow of a doubt, that I would not find any surprise spoilers as I read them.

The stories that are hidden within these pages were mind blowing and unforgettable! The first story tells the tale of Katie’s wife, Lydia. For those of you who have not yet read the series, or are planning to, Katie is our most awesome protagonist. Reading this short tale of when the zombocalypse first broke out and just how incredibly insane the world was left me needing to know more! And from there I read on, and on, and on…absorbing every single word that described all the different tales, each one coming to life in my mind. How could I not? The writing styles of Frater are so addictive! I felt like I was literally right there in the pages with these characters, witnessing the onslaught of zombies. I could feel the panic and fear ripping through their hearts and souls! Each story is more heart wrenching then the last. As I finished reading one story, I needed to stop and think to absorb it. I didn’t want to forget any of it.

Whether you decide to read them before you dive into the trilogy, or after is up to you. I, personally, found it very cool to have read the short stories first, as it was interesting to see how each character enters the main storyline. It was because of the brilliance of these stories, combined with Frater’s haunting story telling that I decided that I needed to buy the first two books of the trilogy. I had boarded the train, and I sure as hell wasn’t ready to come off it yet.

Unforgettable characters embedded into an unforgettable world from an unforgettable author. The As The World Dies The Untold Days will have you scrambling to get the trilogy and witness more of this world filled with death and little hope.

Love in the Zombocalypse
Rhiannon Frater

The one thing that has always been true of humanity is that we survive as a community. The lone survivor is doomed to die alone, but a community provides food, shelter, and comfort. Community supports familial connections and friendships. Community creates safety.

Photo Courtesy of Mary Milton
For a long time in the zombie genre, the lone badass guy surviving on his own was the popular cliché of the genre. If women made an appearance in the story, she was usually a disposable lover that was heavily dependent on the lead character for guidance and protection. Most zombie books seemed to be filled with male wish fulfillment and not reflective of what would really happen. The one thing that was never really addressed was the emotional fallout of the world dying.

During my research I noted how quickly people bond to each other in dire circumstances. Friendships end up deep and lifelong, people fall in love very quickly, and strangers create familial bonds to draw comfort from. Since I had decided to create a small population of survivors in Ashley Oaks in the AS THE WORLD DIES universe, I knew I wanted to explore what it would mean to be part of a community facing the zombocalypse.

The survivors in the makeshift fort in Ashley Oaks struggle to survive in a world full of death. Every day they are aware that they have outlived the rest of humanity and that today, tomorrow, or the next day could bring their death. Because of this many in the fort cling to every scrap of joy they can find. For the character of Nerit this means a box of cigarettes, for Ken it means having his cat Cher with him, etc…etc… Because of the terrible loss of family and friends, the survivors turn to each other for comfort. Strong, deep friendships are formed like that between Jenni and Katie. Familial bonds become stronger. For example, Jenni and her stepson grow even closer in the aftermath of the death of their family.

And people fall in love.

Strangely, it was the fact that some of the characters find a love connection that riled a few readers. I remember a review that criticized that the two protagonists found potential romantic relationships with other people in the fort. The reader would rather the two women just used people for sex to find fleeting moments of comfort.

But that’s the cliché, I thought. Why wouldn’t you want Jenni and Katie to find a way to start over and find some sort of happiness in the dead world?

Though certainly some people would use sex as a way to escape the cruel reality of life, many more would be seeking sincere connections (both romantic and otherwise) with other people to find comfort. One of my favorite scenes in the trilogy is when Jenni is overcome with grief at one point and sleeps in Katie’s bed to draw comfort from her. They have a strong, sisterly bond between them and a great deep love that transcends their very different pasts. It’s their friendship that gives them strength in the midst of great sorrow.

J.R.R. Tolkien survived the trenches of World War One and formed deep friendships with the men he served with. Facing death together created incredibly strong bonds among the men in the trenches. Those friendships were very important to him and he used them as a basis for the friendship of Sam and Frodo. World War Two hero Audie Murphy wrote abount the dear friends he lost during his time on the battlefield in his autobiography. The friendships he had formed with his fellow soldiers helped him survive the war, but left him deeply affected by their passing. I kept these two examples of war time friendship in mind when I wrote about Jenni and Katie.

One of the great love affairs in AS THE WORLD DIES is born out of lust, but deepens into a true love connection. The two characters are hot and heavy together and are a fan favorite. Their love creates an emotional safe haven for both of them that helps them overcome the pain of loss. Their saucy humor and great love for each other is a fun and sexy part of the series and was inspired by real life romantic entanglements created by crisis situations.

A great example of forming quick romantic attachments in high stress situations is World War Two. Many young men straight out of bootcamp had whirlwind romances and were married almost immediately before being shipped off to war. Single soldiers overseas often came home with war brides. When facing death, the need to love and be loved is a very natural and human reaction.

So would there be love in the time of zombies? Hell, yeah. If anything, loving relationships of any kind would be cherished. As history has shown us, humanity survives in communities and friendships, romantic relationships, and familial bonds are the natural result. In the face of ever present death, having people you can depend on is an important survival tool.

Many zombie books like to concentrate on the negative aspects of humanity, but I wanted to take a more realistic look at how people would actually survive. Though there are definitely monstrous people in the AS THE WORLD DIES trilogy, at its core is a small community of survivors drawing together and fighting back against the undead hordes. And if history is any indication, they have a better chance at survival than the lone badass traveling across the deadlands with only his weapon for comfort.

Be sure to follow the tour and check out the other blogs participating.  
You can check it all out HERE!

Connect with the author:

Available for purchase at:
Barnes & Noble
The Book Depository


Megan said... Best Blogger Tips

These books sound so great! I'm waiting for the first book in the series from the library!

Cecilia Pham said... Best Blogger Tips

Great post! Rhiannon Frater seriously impresses me, and I enjoyed this guest post topic! I am surprised - although it makes sense - that people did not want a more serious love connection and just wanted one-night stands. I can see it go either way, but I think ultimately the relationships that take root in this series works out for the best.

Who can resist a good zombie or two? Or three or four? :) So far I am digging this series, and I cannot wait for Book 3! Rhiannon Frater writes with such vivid intensity that, yes, I felt like I was there or watching a really believable movie!

Kristin@BloodSweatandBooks said... Best Blogger Tips

This was a great post! Thanks for Sharing.

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