Review: Rise Again Below Zero by Ben Tripp

  • Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Gallery Books; Original edition (December 17, 2013)
  • ISBN-10: 1451668325
  • Source: Publisher

It’s been two years since billions of the dead rose, hungry for human flesh. Sheriff Danielle Adelman now leads a band of survivors through the decimated Midwest.  The dead have evolved: mixed in among the savage zombies (or zeroes) are those that have retained a modicum of humanity: they speak.  Danny’s sister is one of these “talkers” and she’s torn between protecting the safety of the survivors from the zeroes and protecting her sister from the hunger that rages inside her.

They hear word of of safe place in the Dakotas but Danny knows that promises of safety are often balanced against danger and death.  Along the way, they pick up a young mute boy and his dog, both somehow surviving the horror of the past two years.  As they make the long and dangerous trek, they must not only fight against the hungry undead but troops of hunters who, for some reason, have started collecting children.

Upon their arrival, Danny is horrified to uncover a secret far more devastating than she could have ever imagined. Their haven is a small town in which adults are only allowed entry if they have a child with them, one adult per child is granted entry.  Those that hold power in the town are far more dangerous than the walking dead beyond the perimeter. While the children are promised safety, Danny learns that this safety is only temporary. Their purpose for keeping the children alive is unspeakable and Danny must use every ounce of strength and determination to destroy this ultimate of horrors.

Rise Again Below Zero is the sequel to Rise Again, one of my favorite zombie novels of last year. As I stated in that review, don’t let the fact that this is a zombie novel turn you off from reading it.  More than just your typical zombie novel, Tripp has created an intense and powerful examination of humanity, showcasing the lives of those who have been fortunate (or unfortunate) enough to have survived the attacks from the undead.  The characters he has created are expertly drawn, so genuine and full of faults and failures. Watching Danny evolve from a small-town sheriff to the only individual able to withstand the grasp of the undead is incredibly rewarding for she goes through enough trials and tribulations to last a dozen lifetimes.  The amount of loss she is dealt would be enough to bring the strongest of individuals down, but instead she uses the pain as a weapon, refusing to let those who feed on the weak (figuratively and literally) win.

I listened to the audiobook of the first book in this series and I was taken away by the audiobook performance. It was so breathtaking that, when the print review copy of this title arrived, I found myself worrying that reading the print version wouldn’t be as oustanding as the audio. Fortunatenly, I had no reason to fear for Tripp masterfully depicted a world so genuine that it was quite easy for me to become drawn into the story.

If you are looking for something to occupy your time as you wait for The Walking Dead to return, I encourage you to pick up this series. Much like this highly popular television series, the Rise Again series examines the lives of survivors amist a world decimated by death and destruction.  Highly, highly recommended!

1 Comment to "Review: Rise Again Below Zero by Ben Tripp"

  1. December 16, 2013 - 12:39 PM | Permalink

    When I glanced at this on my feed reader before clicking over I completely read your first sentence as having something to do with ‘dead roses’. As in the flowers. haha.

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