5/5 Amplification stars!

This is one of those, “why haven’t I read this sooner” moments. I love a good zombie story, and this one is a winner. The year is 2040. In 2014, a zombie outbreak called “The Rising”, destroys life as the world knows it. After the Rising, people are far less likely to congregate in large groups, must take a blood test for entrance into any building, and entire areas (Alaska) are declared uninhabitable and given over to the infected. Traditional news sites failed miserably at reporting the original outbreak. The government tried to keep it silent and the media was complicit. A lot of needless deaths were caused because they reported it as a hoax, or cos play. It wasn’t until a doctor spoke to the people directly through his eleven year old’s blog that the truth was revealed. It was a turning point for independent bloggers. Now, they were the trusted name in news.

Now it’s 2040. One of these independent news sites, After the End Times, is invited to follow a presidential candidate around during the primaries and up to the election for the first time. We meet Georgia and her brother Shaun, our intrepid reporters. Imagine trying to run a campaign and stump in a post-Rising world. The threat of zombies limits your ability to talk to the people, and the need for power leads some to go to extreme lengths to destroy their political opponents.

Ms. Grant did her research and it shows. The explanations and the world-building really give the reader a sense that this could happen. She uses some other zombie lore, but puts her own spin on it. The virus that causes amplification into a zombie, Kellis-Amberlee came about through a cure for cancer and the common cold colliding. (Think I am Legend). Everyone has the virus, (Think the Walking Dead) but it’s not until you go through amplification that it becomes a problem. Whether you get bit by the infected or you die from a heart attack the result is the same.

Everyone has the virus, but some people experience concentrated levels in certain organs that doesn’t spread to the rest of the body. Georgia has retinal KA (Kellis-Amberlee) affecting only her eyes making her eyes permanently dilated. Rick’s wife had it in her ovaries, causing her newborn to be born with an increased viral load and undergo spontaneous amplification at age nine.

What I loved is how this book made me think about what it was like after the Rising. The author touches on some things, like a political candidate who would want to eradicate all the infected and take back Alaska (Tate). But I could also imagine an opposing political group, who fight for the Infected’s rights. I could see a group of protesters who would put everyone in danger in the name of political correctness. If you didn’t want to coexist with the infected you would be labeled a zombieist, or something along those lines. Others would be prosecuted for shooting a zombie trying to bite them or their family.

It also made me think about the medical aspect. How would cardiac arrest be handled? Do you try to resuscitate a person who goes down, or let them amplify? I wouldn’t want to get close enough to a person who has dropped to perform CPR or even hook-up an AED. And what about the terminally ill or nursing home residents? Could you come up with some sort of device hooked up to your heart monitor that will kill you once your heart stops? (Like the doctor in Saw III). Maybe I think about things too much. Anyway, it’s a great book. If you love zombie stories, give this one a try.