McAlester News-Capital, McAlester, OK

Opinion

August 20, 2012

The Bookworm — "Devil's Wake"

McALESTER — “Devil’s Wake” by Steven Barnes and Tananarive Due

c.2012, Atria

$15.00 / $17.00 Canada

278 pages

How — and when — will the world end?

Depending on what (or who) you believe, it’s coming sooner, later, or not at all. We’ll go in glory or a fiery ball of war; Armageddon, Rapture, or a lights-out fizzle. Depending on who (or what) you listen to, it’s going to happen in five minutes, five hundred years, sometime around Christmas, or ten days after never.

But can you outrace the end of the world? Is it possible? In the new book “Devil’s Wake” by Steven Barnes and Tananarive Due, a small band of survivors will surely try.

Kendra Brookings hated doctor visits.

That was doubly so when the visit in question was occurring on her 16th birthday. Yes, she knew her parents had her best interests in mind, just like they did when they moved to Portland for a better life. Yes, the antiviral shot might keep her from getting sick, but on her birthday? Really?

Still, she didn’t want that virus. She’d seen the news on TV, and what was going on in L.A. was horrifying. Authorities were warning people not to let anybody bite them — as if Kendra was actually going to let someone bite her.

And then a wild-eyed, grey-haired lady rushed into the hospital, gnashing her teeth …

For Terry Whittaker, dealing with brats at Camp Round Meadows was better than being in juvie for the summer.

He’d been given the choice and his sister begged him to take three months in the woods near Seattle. So he did and, when all was said and done, Terry supposed the camp was okay. The owner, Vern, was decent. Vern’s wife, Molly, baked great cookies, and Terry had become tight with the other camp leaders, Piranha, Sonia, Dean, and Darius.

It might’ve been a great summer, actually, if Vern hadn’t been bitten by the red-eyed cop in the tattered uniform.

Nobody was safe from the hungry, infected creatures, even in the middle of nowhere, and Terry knew it. Taking charge, he also knew he had to gather resources and get his friends out of Seattle, maybe to Portland or somewhere. But everything seemed like a trap and nobody could be trusted.

Except, maybe, a cocoa-skinned girl standing alone near a bashed-in car … There is nothing earth-shattering in “Devil’s Wake.” Nothing here is going to change your life, make you energized, or fill your wallet.

But wow, is this a fun book!

Authors Steven Barnes and Tananarive Due take a classic zombie story and give it a fresh look with plenty of gore and a band of smart young survivors to get through it all. That made me like this book a whole lot more than I thought I would; in fact, I was expecting to roll my eyes a lot while reading it, but I didn’t. I was too busy turning pages.

While it might seem more like a young-adult novel, I think this book will appeal to anyone who craves a little Undead. For you, “Devil’s Wake” is something you’ll never want to end.

Book reviewer Terri Schlichenmeyer has been reading since she was 3 years old and she never goes anywhere without a book. She lives on a hill in Wisconsin with two dogs and 13,000 books.

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