The Dead Will Rise First, Logan Kain
Genre: YA, Paranormal, LGBT (G)
Length: 120 pages
“They are scratching and pounding at the door. My head throbs and I know it’s only a matter of time until they get in.”
The Dead Will Rise First is not your typical zombie book. Set in Texas we meet young 16 year old TJ, openly gay since 13 but living in a religious household. Well at least his parents are. TJ’s brother Jake came out as being an atheist and his sister, Sarah, is pregnant at 15. Despite this their parents still love all three being parts of the school of thought of “love the sinner, hate the sin.”
The day of TJ’s birthday the whole family is around to celebrate and as things are winding down the dog starts barking uncontrollably. TJ rushes into the kitchen to find his mother seems to have gone mad and is attacking the dog. It takes TJ, his best friend and crush Ryan, as well as Jake to restrain their mother and lock her in the kitchen. Outside they can hear vehicles crashing, planes falling into the ground and the world in general coming to an end.
A journey to find a safe place takes part for those who are left behind, along the way we meet Jodi, Jake’s wife and her sister Lorrie. They join these three and together they keep searching until they can search no more. TJ and Ryan choose this, of all times, to start exploring those feelings they have always had for one another.
Brains…. (A.K.A. The Good Parts)
Called ‘Neighbours’ in this book the zombies are those whose souls have gone to heaven in the rapture. What is left behind is all the evil in a person, with the body still living. The end result is the descent of the world into anarchy, rape, cannibalism and murder. Those who survive stand little chance as the only discerning feature is the eyes of these creatures. Young and old, even those who haven’t been born yet, they are all pure evil.
With this brand of ‘zombie’ an incredibly dangerous enemy is presented for the remnants of humanity. Since only the good is gone in these creatures they are still intelligent or stupid, depending on their previous lives. But in losing their inhibitions and morals they become a pack who wants to punish those who are left.
TJ is a young writer who wishes to be author and the book is told as his manuscript which has been found in the ruins of Texas. In it we see this wonderful first-person narrative of a teenager coming to grips with the world ending. In it we see his story writing which is inspired by his feelings at the time and how his attitudes and beliefs change as they survive longer and longer in this new world. Key to note is how he sees the changes in his brother and friends as they each struggle with the thoughts of how those who’ve survived may just be as bad as the threat they are facing.
For a self-published novel this has one of the best covers I’ve ever seen. It just really makes you want to pick it up and read the blurb. As such this is a key factor in it’s rating, showing that self-published books can have close to if not exactly the same feel of quality that comes across in those put out by publishing houses.
Not Brains…. (A.K.A. What I Didn’t Like)
Use of ‘Christians’
The Dead Will Rise First is intended to be a satire as explained by the author’s note. I did not read this note until the end and until then I disagreed with the broad use of ‘Christian’ to be just anyone who believes, minus the gays, teen mothers and bikies for some reason. Since no other qualifying or disqualifying features were presented, it did feel like this book was simply Christian-bashing for long portions. If you feel offended by this I highly suggest reading the Author’s Note at the conclusion of the book first which explains his motives for this and the satirical intentions.
I had to skip over a couple pages of the book due to my issues my squeamishness with animals being harmed. ‘Neighbours’ do not like dogs and are out to harm them. The destruction of these animals is graphically portrayed and simply made me uncomfortable. I understand this is not an issue for everyone and despite this the story is still a good one.
Brrrraaaiiinnnsssss (Summing Up)
The Dead Will Rise First was a nice, short, entertaining read with a good message of hope intended for young gay people who find themselves torn between religion and their sexuality. As a standalone horror book the story also stands on it’s own legs, with one of the best ‘zombie’ concepts I have read about, or seen in movies for a long time. For gay, zombie loving fans I can’t think of any better book.
“I don’t know where I’ll go. Hopefully I become the universe…”