If you’re a fan of classic zombie novels, then I highly recommend that you add The Ravening to your summer reading list. This is a typical tale of a family separated by unfortunate circumstances during the zombie apocalypse, but the side effects of the zombie virus are what set this book apart from the rest. Once people are infected with the Zagreus virus, they become overly violent before they actually become zombies. After being bitten by a zombie, it can take days for the victim to die, and the virus causes people to become bloodthirsty savages while they’re still alive. I love reading new twists on the virus that causes people to turn into zombies, and I’m definitely adding The Ravening to my list of favorite zombie books.
The story starts off about five months after the zombie virus has spread throughout the country. The main character in an average middle-aged man with a lovely wife and two sons, aged eighteen and eleven. The family of four is staying in a rural Illinois town, surviving the zombie apocalypse fairly well, but everything falls apart when the protagonist’s sons are kidnapped by a crazy cult. I’ve read several zombie books that have some sort of religious cult involved, but the one in The Ravening is extraordinarily creepy. The cult leader, Lowry, was a psychopath before the zombies invaded, and the apocalypse is the perfect opportunity for him to form a following of brainwashed survivors. Lowry has an equally insane sidekick/lover named Sister Mercy (creepy, right?), and they make a wonderfully psychotic couple. The author does a great job of making these two villains deranged yet strangely likeable.
The writing is top notch. Sternberg does a great job of pulling the reader into the story with his vivid descriptions and realistic characters. My favorite character was an overweight biker named “Daddy.” The main character’s wife, Karen, was also badass. And, I must admit, I kind of dug the crazy cult leader. I always have a thing for the villain. Psychopaths are people too!
I don’t want to give away too much of the story, but I will say that there is a cliff hanger at the end that left me wanting more. The sequel, The Zagreus Swarm, will be released this year. It’s going right to the top of my reading list once it’s released! If you haven’t read The Ravening, I suggest you stop what you’re doing and download a copy now. It’s only $4.99 on Kindle!