Titan, out now (US), August 24 (UK)
The entire world is now infected by the zombie virus – but Ashley Parker and the remnants of her team still have a job to do…
Secrets are revealed, sides are changed, and the plot becomes paramount in this third (but hopefully not final) novel from Dana Fredsti featuring zombie hunter Ashley Parker. This picks up from the cataclysmic conclusion to Plague Nation, as the team try to come to terms with the losses they suffered in that story – but they have little time to do so, as they have got to discover who the traitor in their midst is, and attempt to rescue their comrades who were kidnapped.
The pop culture references are, if anything, even higher in this volume (I’d love to see an annotated version of these books, because I can tell there are some references which have gone straight over my head), although there’s the annoying element that always affects such stories – how much do you keep the characters’ “present” aligned with the publication present? We get a Sharknado call-out for instance: a film which probably was little more than a dream in Anthony C. Ferrante’s mind when the first book (set only a few days earlier) came out.
The story narrated by Ashley is punctuated with descriptions of the plague’s effect around the world (starting, naturally, in Britain!) and I have to admit that I did wonder how Fredsti was going to make the location of the final chapter work (no spoilers, but for a zombie to get there, it would be really achieving something). These little vignettes neatly show countries’ cultural differences, although no matter how you face the drooling monsters, chances are you’re not going to make it out the other side.
Fredsti’s style has matured across the three novels, and she achieves the gross effects she needs more economically now. While I hope we see some more of Ashley Parker down the line – maybe jumping a couple of years – I very much look forward to seeing how Fredsti tackles something different.
Verdict: A fitting conclusion to the trilogy. 8/10