Title: The Beautiful Dead (The Beautiful Dead, #1)
Author: Daryl Banner
Release Date: July 29, 2013
Genre: Post Apocalyptic Zombie
She’s dead. In fact, the whole world’s dead. Every single person, apparently. Unburied and reimagined into a beautiful living-dead woman called Winter, she is doomed to spend the rest of eternity in a quaint, peaceful city with no hunger, no sickness and no bills to pay. Her Second Life is perfect in every way possible. So why is she so bent on destroying it all? After angering the mayor, befriending rebel headless teenagers and igniting romance with a dark and brooding neighbor, she finds herself wrestling madly with a First Life she cannot remember and this Second Life she cannot accept. Not to mention the maniacal army of rotting corpses who want her dead. Again. But none of that matters in comparison to an even worse problem. There’s a guest in her house. A rude, good-looking man on the run ... a man with a heartbeat.
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“You’re all dead,” I whisper, like I’m just now discovering this. “Undead. Every last one of us,” she agrees. “I doubt there’s a Living left in the world.” Looking at each of them, it’s dawning on me what world I’ve been brought into. A dead world. Ageless. No one breathes here or ever will again. Souls being fetched from soil and made up into fake-alive people, like me. A world full of … silent chests. “Now,” she says, gripping my foot tight, “hold still while I make you a new pinkie toe.” I don’t remember what else she or the Roxie girl or the twelve-year-old do to me. I don’t remember having my right ear reshaped, or my nose reset, or color fused into my lips by some weird kind of gun-shaped mechanism. Even though Helena claims otherwise, I don’t remember choosing Icecap Blue for my eyes. “And now, girl, meet Winter!” Helena’s guided me over to the first mirror I’ve seen since my Raising. The maybe-twenty-year-old face in the mirror is one I should probably recognize since it’s my own, but I don’t. She has eyes like arctic pools. Hair that falls like a soft mist, veiling half her face. Her skin is a sea of satin. Her nails are little polished glass shards. Her lips, a subtle pink, with cheeks gently blushed the same. The person in the mirror is a person I do not know. “What do you think?” the large woman asks me, obviously proud of her work. “Can you live with this?” My left hand falls off. “Roxie!” the large woman yelps. “Adhesive, honey! Proper, level-four-grade adhesive!—I do swear!” A lot of shuffling, a slight shove from my left side, and I’m whole again. I wiggle my fingers and they seem to work. For how long, who knows. “Should we try another blush?—another eye color?” the large-in-charge offers sweetly. “We have enough time before our next appointment.” “This is fine,” I say, defeated somehow. “Icecap Blue is fine. My name is fine. Whatever.” Winter. I didn’t even choose my own name.
Wow! This was an incredible book. The story was so unique and unlike anything I have read before… A completely different take on the whole Zombie/undead/post apocalyptic concept which was really a cool idea! It was definitely very different from what I was expecting, but in this case, that is an EXTREMELY good thing. It was so refreshing to have such a unique story to read, and I really do not have one single negative thing to say about it. The first thing I did when I finished reading was message the author, Daryl, begging him to tell me there is going to be a book 2 (which, good news…there IS going to be more!), and also begged him for any insight on what was going to happen next. Sadly, he would not give away anything (MEANIE! lol) so I am stuck here trying to figure things out on my own until book 2 comes out. This is going to be a super long wait for me too!
This is the story of a woman named Winter. She is not alive, or dead, but rather undead. Before you picture a world of brainless foaming at the mouth zombies, let me just tell you this world Winter is in is not like that at all. Each and every one of the undead thinks before acting. They don't aimlessly wander around waiting for their next taste of fresh blood. They live in a community. No pain, no sickness, no death. If they get injured, they get repaired…. actually, that is a requirement. No undead person is allowed to roam around looking like death has chewed them up and spit them out. They look like living, breathing human beings (minus the actual need to breathe). Oh, and they don't eat humans. Winter is led to believe humans are extinct, and she believes what she is taught… until one ends up pushing his way into her world, and home, and despite his obnoxious attitude towards her it's almost as if he gives her one thing she lacked…Hope.
Winter struggles with the fact that she cannot remember her former life… who she was, what she did… what her real name was. Day to day (or at least what she believes to be a day since she cannot see the sun) she struggles internally with living a "life" of lies while trying to fit into this new world she is in. She does manage to make a few friends however, and has gotten herself a boyfriend who quite literarily saved her undead life. Just when things begin to settle down a little bit for her, her world is turned completely upside down. Not only did she learn humans do still live in this world, but also that life isn't as safe and pleasant outside the walls of her town. There are a large group of undead who are after her, and they are not kindhearted like the ones she lives with. They are out for blood… human blood… and will stop at nothing to get what they want… and one of those things is Winter.
This story is brilliant. And no amount of words could describe or do this book justice unless you yourself have read it. There is so much I could say regarding the story itself and the events which unfold, but then I would be giving away too much and you will miss out on the shock value of it all. Things happen which you completely do NOT expect and the whole concept takes a turn in a different direction from how it starts off. And do NOT be fooled by the whole mellow undead idea. This is not your calm, and gore free book. Oh no, there is still plenty of that, just with a different twist to it which may just knock your socks off in the end. Even if you are not a fan of the whole Zombie or paranormal craze, you are certain to love the uniqueness of this amazing story. It stands out from all the other books in this genre and the story will surely stay with you for a long time.
I love love LOVED every second of this book, and I am sure that all you other readers will as well. Definitely one to add to your MUST READ NOW list!
The Beautiful Dead Series
Dead of Winter (Beautiful Dead, #2)
Available Now! No one said being an Undead is easy. Winter’s Second Life became a lot more complicated when the Living moved into her hometown of Trenton. Undead neighbors fight with their Breathing ones. Food is sparse. And, worst of all, the season is taking a change for the colder. A desperate plea for help to a neighboring city turns deadly and soon Winter finds herself facing an old friend from her past whose plot to annihilate all life on the planet may have everything to do with her. And what about the man-with-the-heartbeat in her house? Is there even room for love in such a ruined, unforgiving world? New friends are made. Others are lost forever. In the dead of winter, no one is safe.
Almost Alive (Beautiful Dead, #3)
Coming April 24th Twelve years have passed since the devastation. The world is changed. What once was a planet struggling to survive is now a planet bursting to life. The humans are thriving. Gardens are growing. Trees are reaching up to the sky and the Undeadly clutch on the planet is slowly letting go. But what does that mean for Winter and her friends? In the wake of spring, the last of the desperate Undead gather, fighting to maintain their place in a world that no longer wants them. Mother Nature slowly but certainly works to purge the planet of the Dead, just when Winter thought she had finally embraced this Second Life. Her new friends are back and old nemeses return for the final chapter in Winter's Undead journey.
About the Author
Daryl Banner is a writer and composer who graduated from the University of Houston with a degree in Theatre and Psychology. After writing several plays and a musical in college, he started composing for short films and websites, one of which is the Vamplets "Baby Vampyre Dolls" website: (www.vamplets.com) Interesting tidbits: Daryl is also an obsessive piano player, video game enthusiast, and occasional actor. He's been remixing video game music for over fifteen years, and is a passionate Final Fantasy fan. You can feed your ears with many of his remixes (as well as his original music) on his YouTube page "www.youtube.com/DarylBanner". Also, he personally answers all emails he receives, so if you have some strange desire to write him, he may enjoy it. He currently resides in Texas.
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