Publisher: Jabberwocky, Sourcebooks
Release Date: April 1, 2011
Genre: YA (MG), Paranormal, Zombies
Pages: Hardcover, 480 pages
Source: ARC, Publisher
Rating: 5/5 (Avg 3.5/5)
"On a sunny Wednesday morning in October, a day that would mark the end of one life and the beginning of another, I found out my grouchy next door neighbor was the walking dead. When you turn around expecting to see something familiar, and instead see something else altogether, it takes a little while for your brain to catch up with your eyes. I call it the 'Holy Crap Factor.'"Forced to flee his home and family, twelve-year-old Will Ritter falls in with the Undertakers-a rag-tag army of teenage resistance fighters who've banded together to battle the Corpses.
Yep, another zombie book. And yes, it's another zombie book that I thoroughly enjoyed. I know what you're thinking: "Missy, you say you hate zombies.. but every time you review a book about them, you sing their praises. What gives?" Well, I'll tell you what gives. I don't exactly hate zombies. I was a huge fan of the Romero movies when I was younger. I've just never really liked zombie books because I need more than just those zombies that run around and eat brains. I found it in Daniel Waters' Generation Dead series, then again with Isaac Marion's Warm Bodies... and now The Undertakers.
Taking it one step further, The Undertakers has something that the others doesn't.. the IT-factor that made my husband read it. It was literally like a wish come true. Nick told me he's never seen a zombie book where zombies were smart and calculating. A few days later, the offer to read this one came in. After I read it, I gave it to Nick. He just finished, which is why I'm posting now... I wanted his opinion, too. Fortunately for me, I married someone who is literally my other half - so, our feelings are pretty mutual when it comes to this book. It's everything we wanted in a zombie book and, unexpectedly, then some. But then I guess I should say that you don't call them "zombies" really.. they're "Corpses" - smarter and stronger than your average zombie. This was part of that IT-factor I told you about.
This book is more geared toward Middle Grade than Young Adult, but I thoroughly enjoyed it. The main character, Will, was indeed middle grade and acted like it - though every once in a while there would be a slip up where he acted more mature. Or was it a slip up? Maybe Will was just maturing, considering his special circumstances of the world that he lives in and the fact that he has to give up everything to fight the Corpses with the other Undertakers. There was lots of adventure and many moments where I was on the edge of my seat. And like I said before, this story took a cliche and made it engagingly original, which is the most refreshing part of all.
Overall, The Undertakers was a fast-paced thrill-ride that will spark the interest of the most reluctant readers - just like my husband. I'd recommend this book to everyone, from adults to middle graders and everything in between. It's just that good.
On a sunny Wednesday morning in October— the day that would mark the end of one life and the beginning of another— I found out that my next-door neighbor was one of the walking dead.