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Emma Rossi is a nurse trainee at the outbreak of a zombie apocalypse created by the release of underground gases. Already, I give the author props for explaining how the zombie apocalypse happens.
The character of Emma is unlike any other protagonist I've read about in zombie fiction. Her ability to maintain good cheer and humor despite the end of the world is amazing. I'm reminded somewhat of Harry Dresden, Wizard P.I. who confronts all manner of horrible things with a quip. Emma Rossi isn't a wizard, though, but a normal person with a husband and dog.After so many post-apocalypse novels with protagonists fighting off soul-crushing depression, Emma is a stand-out. About the only other character I can think of with a similar attitude is the literary, not the television, Sookie Stackhouse and even she had a mean-streak Emma doesn't.
Despite being Shana Festa's freshman effort, there's only one real flaw with this books and it's the same one I had with World War-Z. The novel more or less takes it as a given once the undead start rolling out, the world is going to end. Given the United States military is not portrayed as a bunch of complete boobs and the zombies only spread by bite, I'm not sure how the outbreak is supposed to have destroyed the entire world in the span of a few weeks.
Shana Festa also has a talent for using musical cues, which is not something you expect to see in these sorts of books. One scene had a character sing Brittney Spears' "Oops, I did it again" to distract a horde of zombies. Even characters in-universe looked stunned by that. It's moments like this which separate the Time of Death series from others in its genre. I even like the character's extensive nursing experience, which is put to use in terrifying and sometimes just gross ways.
I admit I may be biased to liking Emma because she's a dog-lover and the character of Daphne the Wonder Yorkie would have won me over even if our heroine didn't. Knowing pet owners, I'm well-aware attempts to separate them from their dogs or cats would go extremely poorly—even in the zombie apocalypse. While not the best zombie novel I've ever read, I think Time of Death: Induction is up there and bound to be considered a literary gem in the future. It's just so darn fun.
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