Thursday, February 19, 2015

Please Remain Calm

It's just not something I can do when there's a Courtney Summers novel around.  She hooked me a few years ago with This Is Not A Test (probably one of the best zombie books around that I've read) and then sucker punched me with Some Girls Are.  I still have two other novels of hers to read, but I'm spacing them out like treats.  Plus, I have an ARC of her newest book, All the Rage, that is burning a figurative hole in my Kindle.

No, I'm not her publicist.  Just a fan.

Anyhoodles, basically, Courtney Summers is the Canadian Zooey Deschanel-resembling Queen of Horror, Psychological Mindtwisting, and Unrelenting Nastiness, and it's amazing.

Although I think that This Is Not A Test stands up very well on its own, I squeed when I found out that Summers had written a follow-up novella entitled Please Remain Calm.  While TINAT was written from Sloane's POV, this is written from Rhys'.  I really liked the switch of narrators and seeing Sloane as others saw her, not just in her self-loathing.


This is a quick read, but it still packs a wallop.  Rhys and Sloane have made it out of their town alive, leaving behind seven fellow refugees who fell to the zombies.  Sloane is in shock over having had to kill her sister, and Rhys is trying to keep his faith while the world crumbles.  After finding a place to crash goes very wrong, the two are separated.  A man named Jess rescues Rhys from drowning in a river, and Rhys joins Jess and his family as they make their way to a Prepper cabin.

Summers describes their journey in unflinching detail, and I think that's why this succeeds.  She's not afraid to talk about zombies eating intestines because if zombies existed, there would be no censors around saying, "Hey, that's too gross for a book!  Show some decency."  Zombies aren't "decent."  I also applaud the fact that we still don't know why people started turning into zombies.  That mystery is left veiled, when too often, in fiction, it turns out to be a *government conspiracy* or *alien virus* or something.  We are as much in the dark as Sloane and Rhys.  Be very, very afraid of the dark.

And that last scene?  Haunting perfection.  Boom.

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