Even though I enjoy Anthologies, have a lot them to read on my bookshelf, and can get through them relatively easy if I keep reading them, I'm horrible at finishing them quickly. I can't sit and read several short stories at once, and I tend to get caught up in the other books I'm reading, forgetting about the anthology. This year I had a plan to read one book every month, starting in January, figuring a month was plenty of time to get through an anthology. Well, here it is in September, and I am just now finishing the ONE anthology I started in January. *Facepalm on that goal.*
This is such a strange theme - blending the morbid popularity of zombies with comedic and gory romantic themes - in a book that has a cover that won't let go of you, a theme you rarely see, and stories that are all completely different from each other. Sometimes the romance is between those who fight zombies together, sometimes where a zombie and human are involved, sometimes between zombies themselves.
The intro explains what the author is trying to achieve compiling these, and how they wanted to fit in different themes. They did pretty well, although this anthology was only mediocre.
Some stories weren't very long and more like scenes than short stories - such as 'Apocalypse as Foreplay' by Gina McQueen; wasn't a strong story but had excellent, fun and quirky writing. 'Through Death To Love' was a 2 star rating for me. More of a scene than a story, a point rather than enjoyment. Bizarre and didn't full get it. Either way, didn't get into it either.
Some took it to full short story level - 'Romance Ain't Dead' was the first story in the book, actually enjoyable. I dug the writer's style, it flowed naturally. The grim situation was almost comical and went back and forth with hints of wanting to laugh to a serious thing. Stereotypical characters a little for the Haitian doctor, but good character that fit. 20 page short story that flew by, good start.
Revenants Anonymous was unusual. A support group for a type of 'zombie' - humans abused and discarded until they have spiritually died and started physically rotting away. There's hope in this one through the end. It's probably one of the 'sweeter offerings' this anthology will dish out. 3/5
I Heart Brains' was a different sort of zombie tale. Once the body is dead, it can be bought to give the living a new chance. The romance relationship wasn't really that realistic but it wasn't a bad story. 3/5
Didn't care much for 'Everyone I love is dead.' Had a crudeness that didn't work and the storyline was just strange. Definitely different. 2/5 Likewise, In the Eye of the Beholder' wasn't anything impressive - a short tale about rotting people coming together for a time and not bothered by each others appearance. It did have a bizarre humor attached to it, though, which is likely the whole point. 2/5
'First Love Never Dies' was a detective type tale with an actual short story, quite good, all zombies 'bad' typical zombies in this one. 'My Partner the Zombie' had an abrupt ending, but nifty humor and another good detective story that worked. Both of these were bumps up from the last offerings.
'Captive Hearts' by Brian Keene was a violent, strange little story/piece. Despite what Richard did, this girls gone way over the edge. Apocalypse as Foreplay by Gina McQueen wasn't a strong story but had excellent, fun and quirky writing. 'Julia Brainchild' by Lois Gresh was fun, funny, and actually had a short story. The ending was too silly but the story a winner in the humor department. One of the better ones.
'Kicking the Habit' by Steven Saus was about the newborn zombie waking with memory and reuniting with a group, including an experienced zombie woman he once had feelings for. Not great, not bad. Zombified was weird erotica between two normal live people that later had them fight zombies together.
'Inhuman Resources' by Jeanine McAdam was one of the best ones - comparing zombies to office workers and how it can become hard to tell them apart. Cute story. 'The Magician's Apprentice' was a different kind of zombie and just strange, but not bad; have to like the ironic end. The last story ' First Date' was enjoyable because the protagonist was - she dismissed her blind dates favorite horror flick being Hostel because she said it's torture porn, not horror ( I agree completely, hate that movie) and also disses on Zombie's remake of Halloween. There's a fun story in here although the two love birds getting it on the middle of the tension will silly - although this book is supposed to be.
Overall a few great stories, some good ones, but several disappoint. I doubt zombie fans will all dig this anthology as it's not the typical type of story, but those who like morbid humor will.
"Then came the recession and the end of the Bush boom, and with it came the realization that we were all worker drones paying off our bloated mortgages, bloodsucking corporations and even each other- we are the dead”