Love and Decay Volume #1 (Episodes 1-6 of the first season) by Rachel Higginson is a book I have been meaning to read for a while. It was recommended to me months ago by a reader during Women in Horror month and I’m just now getting the chance to circle back around to it. As of this post, the book is available for free on Kindle. (I seem to plug kindle a lot, but it’s what I use and I love the fact that I can read books online or on my cell phone with the FREE Kindle Reading App. If you like another medium feel free to recommend it in the comments or to me on Twitter!) The good news with this series is that it is already several volumes in the making, which means that unless you have a huge reading appetite you won’t have to wait a long time for the next installment. …Not unless you get all the way through the eight volumes that are currently available for purchase. (Speaking of, there are several books which contain multiple episodes of the book. If you start reading volume 1 and are a fan, the Love and Decay Season One Omnibus (the complete first season) is currently available for Kindle if you don’t feel quite right about paying for the second volume and having the story in two separate books.
Zombies- as if that wasn’t enough to ruin any girl’s dream of a happily ever after.
A vaccination gone oh so wrong and a huge portion of the world’s population was turned into Zombies. Reagan Willow is forced out of her home when her parents become casualties of the horrid Zombie Apocalypse. With the help of her best friend Haley, they’ve become somewhat of experts on surviving the dangers of a world thrust into chaos and decay.
Reagan and Haley are on a vague mission to find somewhere safe to live out the remainders of their terrifying life when they stumble upon the Parkers, a pack of brothers that seem to have the survival thing down in a much more efficient and successful way than Reagan could ever have imagined. They are also protecting their eight year old sister, Page, and will do anything to keep her safe.
The brothers decide that Reagan and Haley need help with being kept safe as well, and as a group they set off to find the Zombie-free utopia Reagan is dreaming of.
Zombies are a daily problem, constantly threatening the lives of their group, but they’re not the only peril on the journey ahead. Militia groups of power hungry men are also a constant concern. And settlements of paranoid, suspicious people turn out to be just as hazardous.
Danger looms over every inch of the way, but Reagan, Haley and the Parkers are determined to get to their goal and remain together. Soon the Parkers become more to Reagan than just traveling companions and more than friendship starts to develop between her and Hendrix, the second oldest brother.
But at the end of the world, nothing can be as simple as life and death. Now, Reagan is going to have to schedule falling in love between hunting and surviving. Hopefully she can last long enough to find out if true love can still exist when everything else has started to fall apart.
Love and Decay, Volume One, is a compilation of the first six episodes in a twelve episode season. It is a Dystopian Romance Novella Series about Zombies, the end of the world and finding someone to share it with.
Writing Style: 5/5
The writing style is very conversational, and the main character is a teenage girl who actually speaks like a teenage girl… That is simultaneously frustrating and refreshing. While I appreciate the fact that Higginson is able to recreate the rhetorical style of a seventeen-year-old cheerleader, I didn’t really like talking to seventeen-year-old girls when I was one myself, so the appeal was somewhat lost on me. I didn’t like the Twilight saga; I prefer my vampires bloody and evil thank you very much, so the sultry brooding teen boy didn’t hold the same appeal for me as it did for Regan, the lovelorn narrator. One thing that I will mention that is somewhat related to writing style but is mostly related to content, but I’ll sneak it in here anyway. Due to several cultural references that take place over the course of the different episodes in volume one the series really dates itself in terms of staying relevant/withstanding the test of time for new readers.
Character Description: 5/5
While I might not look at Hendrix, Vaughan, or any of the other characters from Love and Decay with the same teenage hormone fueled admiration that is offered by Regan, Higginson’s description of the characters through her narrative voice allows me to picture them perfectly. In addition to providing initial descriptions, Higginson is very thorough in providing additional details about the characters as they appear during conversations and at different moments during the story. It helps, of course, that Regan is more prone to notice things like tightened jaws, playful smirks, and the way hair falls over eyes in just the right way to make her swoon.
Writing Flow: 5/5
The transition from one episode to another within the season was virtually seamless. Although I could see how each segment was tailored to be its own stand-alone release it also functioned very well as the complete volume that Higginson intended it to be. Although I did pause and wonder what was going to happen next between episodes, at no point did I feel as if the story had been cut short or that I was missing out on some vital piece of the puzzle before I started the next section. (I’ve read other compilations where the stories can’t stand alone as their own individual volumes, so even though this was already compiled, it gives me hope for Higginson’s future releases in this series and otherwise.)
This book is definitely a YA title, and due to that I didn’t knock it for having a hopeless teenage girl who could go from survivalist to boy-crazy in seconds flat as the main character. This is a book that, despite myself, I kept reading and continued to want to read, even when I had other deadlines to meet and other projects to work on. Although the narrator is definitely less mature than others that I have read in the YA genre (evidently having her best friend beside her kept her from maturing like other teens trapped in an apocalyptic wasteland), I still enjoyed the book and look forward to checking out at least the next volume in season one.
Overall it’s a good book. If you happened to enjoy Twilight or find that you incredibly enjoy YA books with an authentic sounding narrator then this book may be for you! There are elements of action, adventure, romance, and the horror that comes with zombies – so there’s something in it for everyone… As long as they can handle being in the mind of a teen girl for a few hundred pages.