Review of Rachel Aukes’ “Deadland’s Harvest”
Deadland’s Harvest starts off where 100 Days In Deadland left off, with Cash and company doing their best to survive in the wooded park where they have taken up residence. This after the mayhem that closed out the first book and wiped out Camp Fox, the National Guard base where most survivors in the area had migrated to after the dead rose. Clutch is still alive, but working on learning how to walk again after the injuries he suffered in the mayhem at the end of 100DiD. The survivors are fewer, but the human dangers from the first book are no more, making the undead once again their main concern.
On a mission to save a group of refugees stuck in a building surrounded by zeds, Cash and Clutch discover that there are hordes of the undead roaming the countryside, moving south toward their current safe haven. After flying a surveillance mission it becomes clear to Cash that these hordes are massive, with tens of thousands, if not hundreds of thousands of the undead in them and they are wiping out everything in their path. Nothing remains except rubble and desolation. And soon they will trample the park and anyone who remains there.
The survivors make a decision to seek the assistance of a riverboat captain, who has taken on other survivors on his boat that floats on the Mississippi river, out of clutching grasp of the zeds. This leads to new complications and more human conflicts as the two groups struggle to coexist with one another while at the same time the hordes continue to advance on their position.
Deadland’s Harvest maintains the fast pace of its predecessor and the narration has a natural flow and feel to it. While Cash has become a seasoned survivor who has been hardened by the trauma she faced in the first book, she has formed a family bond with Clutch and Jace, and will do anything to keep them safe. While this story is told in first person, the author manages to continue to let the secondary characters tell their own tale and grow as the story progresses. Avoiding many of the pitfalls that challenge the middle book in a trilogy, Deadland’s Harvest does a solid job of standing on its own, though with an intriguing promise of what is to come in the final act in this three part saga.
Kudos to the author for using the idea of massive hordes of the undead moving and migrating together, like other creatures who are avoiding the cold of winter. I do wish there was greater detail on the hordes shared, as the concept was an intriguing one. Also intriguing is the theme the author has carried over from the first book, which is to use Dante Aligheri’s works to set the stage for her story. 100DiD traversed the nine circles of hell while DH examines the seven deadly sins. The final book promised to explore the seven virtues. The reader need not know anything further about Dante to appreciate the story, just the fact that this is a solid zombie action tale.
Deadland’s Harvest can be found here: http://www.amazon.com/Deadlands-Harvest-Deadland-Saga-Volume/dp/0989901815/ref=tmm_pap_title_0?ie=UTF8&qid=1400809307&sr=8-1