Series: Thicker Than Blood #1
Published by The Author(s) on January 12, 2015
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A true friendship never dies.
Leisel and Evelyn lost everything. Husbands. Families. Friends. Lives that made sense. All they had left was each other, and a friendship that could withstand anything…
Even an apocalypse.
Until one fateful night, the marginal safety they’d come to rely on comes to a vicious and brutal end. With the help of Alex & Jami, both unlikely allies, Leisel and Evelyn are able to escape their shattered sanctuary only to find themselves face-to-face with a much altered, much crueler life where they have to find the way—and the will—to stay alive in a world they no longer recognize.
Traveling across a broken and infection-ridden country; the road-weary group are pitted against endless violence, improbable circumstances, and the ultimate loss.
Everything comes at a price—especially safety, the cost of which could very well strip them of the one thing they’ve tried so hard to cling to: their humanity.
Yet along with all the trials they’re forced to endure, there’s also hope in the form of love. Having loved Leisel from afar, Alex attempts to put the pieces of her fractured heart back together.
But in such a savage world, is there room for love?
In a place of nightmares-made-reality, where the living should be feared far more than the dead, an unbreakable friendship and a love amongst all odds can mean the difference between life and death.
There are friends…
And then there are Leisel and Evelyn.
I do not think that my thoughts on Thicker Than Blood by Madeline Sheehan and Claire C. Riley are in line with the majority here on Goodreads. I have to wonder if we all read the same book, with the same characters.
Listen, it’s super fun to read zombie books during October, which is why I picked this one up. I also really like the cover, and I like the way the book seems to highlight Leisel and Evelyn as friends because I’m always a huge fan of books with strong friendships. But these two grated on me in ways that never changed throughout the story, and the strong friendship was not able to help that in any way.
The book opens with strong scenes in which something horrific happens with Leisel. She finds herself having to flee the “safety” of her walled-in town in order to save her own life, and of course Evelyn comes with her. See, the two made a pact way before the book began-before the infection spread and wiped out normal civilization-that it would be the two of them, together, always. Best friends, forever. As expected, as soon as they’re outside of the city walls, they have to start fighting off the infected (aka the zombies). They go into survival mode immediately and their situation intensifies.
Evelyn goes into fight-or-flight mode. Leisel crumbles.
Initially, when Leisel is weak and tearful and seems emotionally fragile-well, I had some grace with her because of the horrific scene from the beginning of the book. She’s been through a lot, she’ll be okay, she’ll toughen up, give her a chance to redeem herself. But good grief, she spends nearly the entire book that way and it’s the zombie apocalypse! Eventually you have to put up or shut up and carry your own weight-or at least I thought so. The other characters spend the entire book “watching out for” Leisel and taking care of her. On one hand, that’s really sweet. But on the other hand, I just didn’t find it very fun to read. I wanted her to kick ass and take names. I mean, this is a zombie book!
Throughout the story, there are brutal things that happen to these friends. They have to fight off the infected creatures, they have to try to trade with people that are gross and unsavory, they find themselves fighting their way out of some awfully dangerous situations-I get all of that. I just wanted to see more of a balance in strength between Leisel and Evelyn. It didn’t matter to me if it was physical strength or mental strength or whatever, but I just found them to be wildly imbalanced. Evelyn carried the major portion of the load in terms of their safety and well-being for the big, big portion of this book.
I was sad to see a couple of really great secondary characters killed off, but I’m not surprised. Because: zombies and the apocalypse. I really enjoyed one character (“E”) that I’m thinking is supposed to be a villain. He did some pretty nasty things in this book, but literally every other character did awful things at some point too, including Leisel and Evelyn.
I’m just-I read this. It fit the season. I didn’t care for the main characters at all. I really liked the characters that either didn’t make it or were supposed villains. It is pretty clear that my opinion on this book is not the popular one, so if you want to read this one-please do! You may love it. I’m just really surprised that I feel so strongly opposite of what most people do, but here we are.
I still want to read the next book though, even though it appears to be a standalone companion to this one. I’m interested enough in this world.
Great review Asheley – the way you write about Leisel somehow sparks my curiosity, even though you didn’t like her!