Author: Jesse Petersen
Genre: Horror, Comedy, Speculative Fiction, Zombies
Publication date: June 2011
Paperback: 261 pages
Sarah and David have survived the zombie apocalypse. They stood side by side and fought the undead, mad scientists, and even bionic monsters until the unthinkable happened. A zombie bite. But not even that could stop them. Now, with a possible cure in hand, they’re headed east, looking for a safe zone behind the rumored “Wall.” They’re feeling pretty optimistic.
That is until Dave stops sleeping and starts lifting huge objects.
Eat. Slay. Love.
Because they haven’t got a prayer.
Stand alone or series: The third (and I believe final?) book in the Living with the Dead series
How did I get this book: ARC from the Publisher
**WARNING: THIS REVIEW CONTAINS UNAVOIDABLE SPOILERS FOR BOOKS 1 & 2 IN THE LIVING WITH THE DEAD SERIES. If you haven’t read books 1 or 2 and want to remain unspoiled, look away! You have been warned.**
Sarah and David have survived the initial outbreak. They’ve survived the journey south from Seattle to Phoenix. They’ve survived a mad scientist, his unlikely offspring, and even a zombie bite (thanks to said mad scientist’s mad cure). Now, with a vial of the precious serum that could save the vestiges of humanity in hand, Sarah and David leave the southwest and make their gradual way towards the Midwest in hopes of reaching the rumored Wall, behind which there is supposedly a working government…and no infection. Of course, getting to Illinois is no easy feat with hundreds of miles of zombieland in front of them – and when they begin to pick up a pair of straggling survivors (a perky former entertainment news anchor and a drug-addicted has-been rockstar), things only get more complicated.
And then there’s the pesky matter of David’s increasing strength, invisibility to zombies, and freaky sleeping habits to contend with…
Eat Slay Love is, I am sad to say, the final book in the Living with the Undead series by Jesse Petersen. As with the prior book in the trilogy, Flip This Zombie, Eat Slay Love is a departure from the relationship snark of Married with Zombies and more plot centric, as our favorite zombie-busting duo make their way towards a hope for future civilization in the east. The story this time takes the couple down a road filled with more crazy villager-cultist-types that have a sweet Jabba the Hut type dungeon pit (filled with zombies to devour unlucky prisoners, naturally), an irritatingly pretty and surprisingly intelligent and conniving reporter, and a full-fledged evil military government (complete with an opposing underground resistance movement). Ms. Petersen’s writerly superpower seems to be her ability to use tried and done tropes, and yet somehow keeps readers engaged and excited to find out what happens next. I’m still not quite sure as to how she does this. Perhaps it’s the level of action in the story, with Sarah and David constantly on the move and staving off enemies both living and undead. Perhaps it’s the delightful gory details of the zombie plague and the ravaged countryside?
Actually, while all of these things are pretty good, the best thing about Eat Slay Love and the series overall is the snappy dialogue and interplay between main couple Sarah and David. You want pop culture drops that range from Alicia Keyes to Star Wars? Look no further. I love that in this final book, the relationship between our intrepid duo is severely tested, and not by some emotional BS or the usual marital issues. David’s prolonged reaction to being bitten by a zombie and the cure that saved him from becoming one changes everything for the couple – in both good and terrifying ways. Sarah’s fear at losing her husband for good is palpable throughout the book, and I love seeing how their relationship has grown from the stunted angry thing in book 1 to the level of trust shown in book 3.
Beyond the serious stuff, as always, Sarah’s narration is hilarious, biting, and insightful. This last book builds up to a crescendo of action and high-stakes, but ends in a way that is both satisfying for now, but could promise more books. I’ll miss Sarah and David dearly, and I’ll be keeping my fingers crossed that there will be more from my favorite Zombiebusters in the future.
Notable Quotes/Parts: You can read the first chapter (and more) using Hachette’s Open Book widget below:
Additional Thoughts: Totally bummed that you’re not getting any more Living with the Undead? To get a quick fix, author Jesse Petersen has a short story available for download set in the same universe!
Avery Andrews is her name and directing celebrity telethons after tragedies is her game. But the Northwestern Zombie Outbreak isn’t your average tragedy… and once the infection spreads to the studio, Avery and her crew will have to worry about staying alive, not ratings.
You can find the story for sale for only $1.99 at all ebook retailers – just check out Orbit’s wicked cool short fiction site for more details.
Rating: 7 – Very Good, even though I was wavering towards a 6 (as with the last book), the overall enjoyment of the novel – plus the fact that this is the end – bumps it up to a 7.
Reading Next: Working Stiff by Rachel Caine
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