Lee is beginning to organise the camps of survivors into a network – one that is growing. The foundation of society is beginning to be put in place; winter is coming but they are read
But not all of the survivors agree with Lee and internal tension could rip them apart – and that’s if the Infected’s huge numbers don’t just sweep them away and everything they’ve built
Then there’s what his fellow soldiers are up to…
The world building of this series is huge. I really like how here’s a real attempt to look at some explanation behind the zombies (or infected in this case). We have scientists explaining what causes the infection, scientific reasons for why they behave the way they do and a real attempt to study and explain the biology of the infected. It doesn’t just say “zombies” and rely on pop culture to fill the gaps – or just let the word “zombie” cover everything
This makes the world setting much more real and believable. It also means that we have a lot more scope for plot lines – because the realness of the infected, the fully fleshed out nature of the infected means they can do far more than just be background noise. In most books and on most shows with zombies, eventually the zombies become something similar to a natural disaster – some big background thing that everyone works round while the storyline focuses on how people deal with it and how they interact with each other while dealing with it. They become character driven stories in the background of a zombie apocalypse because after a few stories of surviving zombies there’s not much else to say
But here the infected are different and it raises a whole scope of issues like whether the infected are going to die out or perpetuate. Whether they are evolving and, most pressingly, whether they are going to migrate en masse from the major population centres and, if so, where are they going to. There’s a lot of scope here – in addition to the character driven conflicts.
I’m slightly frustrated that more isn’t made of these unique zombies and the greyness that comes from killing them. Unlike other zombie books where the zombies are blatantly corpses and there’s absolutely no way they could be brought back to who they are, these zombies are still very human. Physically, recovery still seems possible. More they are reasoning, they are forming groups, they are protecting each other, they are providing for each other and helping their weakest – and more (which I won’t reveal for fear of spoilers).
Basically, they’re not mindless monsters – they show at least a level of intelligence on par with more intelligent animals, they’re not undead, they are infected. There’s every reason to think they can come back, they can be cured. Rather than viewing the obvious humanity of the infected as a threat, it would have been nice to see some of this explored.
Especially considering the utterly clumsy way the professor and his students where handled – here we have people who are supposed to see the humanity of the infected, but instead it’s handled in an almost laughable manner with them working to bring about a coup to stop military control (the “military” being 2 people…) of their little enclave. This isn’t close to an actual attempt to portray compassion so much as it trying to parody war protestors – it’s like some pro-gun, pro-war attempt at satire by creating straw pacifists that would be the most ridiculous ones I’ve ever seen if I hadn’t read the Sword of Truth series (which tends to beat all other series when it comes to ridiculous, thinly-veiled straw-men).