Rise Again Below Zero by Ben Tripp
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Billions died and rose again, hungry for human flesh. When the nightmare reached Sheriff Danielle Adelman’s small mountain community of Forest Peak, California, it was too late for warnings . . . forcing her to lead a small group of survivors out of hell, all the while seeking her estranged runaway sister at any cost.
Two years later, the undead have evolved. Now, besides the shambling, mindless cannibals are the hunters—cunning and fast, like wolves—and the thinkers, whose shocking intelligence and single-minded predatory obsession may mean the downfall of what’s left of humanity. As Danny leads a ragtag band of the living through the remnants of the American Midwest, rumors arise of a safe place somewhere east. But the closer they get to it, the more certain Danny becomes that something evil waits for them at the end of the line. With an unspeakable secret riding beside her and an unbreakable promise made to a small, silent boy, Danny must stake everything she has—her leadership, her sanity, and her life— in order to defeat the ultimate horror in a terrifying and dying world.
The zombie apocalypse has happened and Danny and her tribe are trying to survive. There’s a rumor of a place where children are safe and you can be too if you bring one in. Children are being kidnapped to get accepted into this zero-less place.
Danny doesn’t believe for one moment that the kids are being collected for their own safety. She sets out to find the truth while battling her own ailments.
The story starts out with Danny and her turned “thinker” sister. This new breed of zombies who can think and rationalize are all but human except they still need meat and blood to survive. Danny is running things as usual, but she wasn’t as interesting as she was in the first book. Her heart didn’t seem to be in it. She’s still tough-as-nails, but something is missing. There has been no progression for her. If anything, she is more cantankerous than she was before, anger always at a boil.
This read was not as action-packed as the first book although there were multiple fight scenes. I never got to connect with the other characters. They were there one minute and gone the next.
The plot was pretty straight-forward with no deviations that mattered or that broke up the monotony of finding the “Happy” place.
The pacing was sluggish at times with Danny being introspective and other players telling stories of their lives.
I wasn’t thrilled by Below Zero, but it did have its moments. A good read that lacked intensity, but made up for it with creativity.