Audiobook Review: Devil’s Wake by Steven Barnes & Tananarive Due

Audiobook Review: Devil’s Wake by Steven Barnes & Tananarive DueDevil's Wake by Steven Barnes, Tananarive Due
Narrator: Emily Bauer
Length: 8 hrs, 19 mins
Series: Devil's Wake #1
Published by Audible Frontiers on February 21, 2012
Genres: Horror, Paranormal, Post-Apocalyptic
Format: Audiobook
Source: Purchased
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The first book of an exciting new paranormal series from two award-winning authors about what happens when an alien race brings Earth to the brink of the Apocalypse. 

The husband and wife writing team of Tananarive Due and Steven Barnes continue to achieve extraordinary literary feats with this first book in the exciting new Devil’s Wake series. Due’s The Living Blood and My Soul to Keep were each named to Publishers Weekly’s list of Best Novels of the Year, and both were nominated for the Bram Stoker award. Barnes scored New York Times’ bestsellers with The Legacy of Heorot and Star Wars: The Cestus Deception, and he has been nominated for both the Hugo and Cable Ace awards for his work in television.

The eeriness of Devil’s Wake begins a week after tomorrow. An unprecedented infection has swept across the world, bringing an epidemic of mindless biting attacks from the infected that leave their victims “changed.” Society has broken down.

The victims are more than mindless zombies. They are the result of a sinister alien life-form in the wake of the aliens’ insidious plot, humanity ultimately becomes enmeshed in a brutal struggle for control of its home, planet Earth.

Part Dawn of the Dead and part Road WarriorDevil’s Wake is a testimony to courage, friendship, and the power of faith. Horrifying and heartbreaking, exciting and challenging, it is a compelling, brilliant story on the edge of what could be the end of it all.

This year, the office where I work brought in someone to give people flu shots, making it easier for people to get them. Despite the fact that I declined the invite and didn’t fill out the paperwork, one of the admin at the office still called me to bully me into getting one. Peer pressure does not work on me for things I don’t want to do, so I didn’t get one. I’m opposed to them for a lot of reasons, one of which being my fear of needles, but that’s not the only reason, despite coworkers insistence that I need to stop being a ‘wussy.’ Thanks to Devil’s Wake, I have a new reason to dislike the flu shot: it could totally turn you into a zombie.

To start, I’m going to give a rundown of the zombies in Barnes’ and Due’s novel. In Devil’s Wake, they’re known as freaks, and the day of the outbreak is Freak Day. The freaks resulted from a combination of the aforementioned flu shot and a diet mushroom. Okay, whatever. I suppose that makes as much sense as any explanation for zombies. Anyway, the freaks start out really fast, and not so much hungry as determined to run around infecting as many people as possible. Over time, the freaks slow. When they hit the shambling stage, that’s when they’re looking for food and will actually eat your ass, and the rest of you too. Finally, they slow altogether and end up rooted like a tree in one spot, no longer harmful. The phases thing is interesting, and pretty much the most unique thing in the novel. It totally makes them survivable if they can lock down some towns until all the freaks take root.

In this nightmarish landscape, we have two sets of characters. First, there’s Kendra. She’s young. Fifteen, I think. Not only that, but she seems pretty young even for her age. The fact that Kendra manages to survive is frankly surprising. Kendra refuses to talk at the begining because of the horrors she’s seen and also pees her pants in terror at one point. Still, she’s been through a lot, losing both of her parents, and they actually had a healthy relationship, to freak bites. Rescued by her grandpa Joe, he teaches her to shoot and some other defensive lessons, until he too falls to a freak.

The other set of third person perspectives is a group of troubled teens. To avoid a stricter sentence, they’re sent to work at a summer camp. Piranha, Terry, Sonia, Dean and Darius all have records and troubled pasts, but are essentially good kids. They’re actually saved by the fact that they’re in the middle of nowhere at this camp, and only have to deal with one freak and one dead body. Plus, they have a bunch of food and a van.

As one might expect, these two story lines eventually converge as both Kendra and the group take to the roads. The group agrees to let Kendra joins them when their dog, Hipshot sniffs her and deems her not a freak. At this point, there are a couple of romances, as well as increased themes of wondering who to trust and what to do. What rocks about this group of kids is how diverse they are: Black, Hispanic, Native American, and maybe more that I missed. The diversity shows not just in the main characters, but the various people met along the road as well, and in no way are any of the characters defined by their race.

The title’s frankly a bit confusing. The group does talk about Devil’s Wake, but they don’t go there. It’s sort of a pipe dream. The next book is called Domino Falls, and that’s where they are in that novel. So what will they call the book where they actually get to Devil’s Wake, as they so obviously will?

Devil’s Wake was an enjoyable listen with decent narration, characters and story. I didn’t have any big issues with it, but I also wasn’t hugely impressed. There’s just not too much original to the story. That said, I’ll definitely be reading the next book, because I do want to know what happens, so good enough.

Tl;dr – Review in a GIFfy:

zombies inside

One response to “Audiobook Review: Devil’s Wake by Steven Barnes & Tananarive Due”

  1. I bought this one a while back but haven’t gotten to it yet. I sort of stockpile horror for when I REALLY need it 🙂 And while I do hope that each and every one will be a home run, I’m ok with one that’s entertaining and decent.
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