Zombie novels besiege the horror chart like the horde that they seek to represent, good, bad and ugly, each seeking to be something different, something original in a sub genre that has literally being done to death.
Plagued is one such novel, which presents us with the interesting notion that the undead can be tamed and even put to work after a virus ravages the world, leaving the United States split in two. This however serves as a back story, for when a frontier town in “Mid-America” is suddenly besieged by the untamed dead, a group of survivors take to the river in a frantic bid to escape their clutches.
I enjoyed the set up of this story, as the author lays the frontierscape, creating an environment that suits the world of the story perfectly. The survivors also find themselves with a distinct lack of guns, which makes a refreshing change of atmosphere, as survival becomes that little bit more fragile as they travel through a desolate land devoid of humanity in order to reach safety.
There’s a likable enough core of characters, and even an interesting emerging love story involving a “half breed” zombie that shows promise, but there’s too many disposable characters that go undeveloped, and I found myself not all that bothered when their deaths eventually did come.
Plagued shows promise, but an increased gore quota and a bit more time spent of fleshing out some of the survivors would have made this an original must read.