Angel is having problems. She took the zombie drug V12 originally to help her in a mission for the Tribe. Then she kept taking it because it helped with her studies and her dyslexia – and then she kept taking it despite the side effects
It’s a major hurdle to overcome, but she can’t focus on it alone – there’s a threat to expose zombies and the Tribe has its hands full with Sabaton’s plotting.
And there’s murder on her doorstep – which may be related to zombie hunting. It’s a lot to handle and there’s only Angel free to step up.
Have I mentioned how much I love this series? Because I really love this series. More surprisingly, I love this series for different reasons to why I love Diana Rowland’s Kara Gillian series (though both series are in my top 10 list). I love Kara Gillian because I love the world, I love the setting, I love the awesome, epic plots – I’m not saying I don’t love Kara as well, but the world and plot is amazing. While the White Trash Zombie Series I love primarily because of Angel – again, not that the world or plots are lacking, far from it. But Angel is such an excellent character and this book just continues Angel’s story
I think the first thing to emphasise about Angel is that she isn’t super. She’s a zombie, but no more powerful than the average zombie. She’s not stupid, but hardly super intelligent either. She’s physically capable but doesn’t have super strength or move in a blur of speed. She can handle herself, but don’t expect her to pull our ninja moves or shoot with deadly accuracy over vast distances.
Yet, despite that (or because of that), she is one of the strongest characters I’ve come across who has accomplished more and overcome more than most I’ve read. The very lack of epicness about her underscores just how awesome our White Trash Zombie is.
At the end of the last book I predicted Angel was going to have some problems with the zombie pharmaceuticals the Tribe is now producing – more, that she should have problems with them. She managed to overcome drug addiction when she became a zombie simply because she became a zombie – and with that became immune to the drugs she used to take, forcing her to quit. Now there are zombie pharmaceuticals, pharmaceuticals she uses, which are helpful and useful to her – and are addictive
Reading this can be painful. Because you know she’s making terrible decisions. You want to yell “no, Angel, nooooo!” but this is very much in character. One thing she’s been clear about from the very beginning of the series is that addiction is a terrible thing to wrestle with and she knew she dodged the bullet. Seeing her actually struggle with addiction this book is excellent – including how Dr. Nikas responds to her (excellently and with great understanding compassion and no small amount of guilt because he realises that by having Angel use the performance enhancing drug without any real thought of the consequences or her history he set her up to have addiction problems), how she has to work rough this problem, how hard it is and how proud she is of herself when she does succeed is all excellent.
I also like how Angel falls back into addiction – it isn’t a simple case of “oh yeah I want it.” She takes the drugs to both calm her anxiety and to help her control and manage her dyslexia while she goes to college. Like many people who become addicted to drugs, Angel begins by self-medicating to deal with low self-esteem, to treat her mental illness and treat her dyslexia – I like that this is included because we often miss some of the causes of addiction, preferring to present it as more a “moral failing” because judgementalism is always more popular
I also love Angel’s growing confidence in herself, now happier to go to rich people’s parties, happier to challenge Pietro with her own ideas, confident that her ideas do have value and are worth listening to. When people try to talk down to her and make her feel small, she is confident enough in herself to let it roll off her – because she knows her worth and doesn’t believe what they tell her.