- Paperback: 225 pages
- Publisher: Holt McDougal; 1 edition (3 August 2010)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0805092439
- ISBN-13: 978-0805092431
- Product Dimensions: 13.3 x 1.5 x 20.3 cm
- Boxed-product Weight: 340 g
- Customer Reviews:
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 257,370 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Reapers Are the Angels Paperback – 3 Aug 2010
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"If you loved Justin Cronin's The Passage, this summer's vampire hit, you'll get a charge out of The Reapers Are the Angels. It's a literary/horror mashup that is unsettlingly good." --USA Today
"The Reapers Are the Angels is a knockout, a fresh take on the zombie novel, with a heroine you can't help but root for as she braves the land of the living dead and the dead living, pursued by a foe far more dangerous than flesh-eaters and with the beacon of redemption flickering ahead. Alden Bell will snatch your attention and keep it until long after you close this book." --Tom Franklin, author of Hell at the Breach
"Alden Bell provides an astonishing twist on the southern gothic: like Flannery O'Connor with zombies." --Michael Gruber, New York Times bestselling author of The Book of Air and Shadows
"Alden Bell has managed something improbable and striking: a disconcertingly beautiful tale of zombie apocalypse. The Reapers Are the Angels is soaked in all the blood that any horror fan could desire, the effluvia rendered in a high Southern Gothic style as redolent of rotting magnolia as anything written by William Faulkner or Cormac McCarthy." --Charlie Huston, author of Sleepless
"... This is a must-read for those who like their literature both brain-specked and philosophical." --journalstar.com
About the Author
Alden Bell is a pseudonym for Joshua Gaylord, whose first novel, Hummingbirds, was released in Fall '09. He teaches at a New York City prep school and is an adjunct professor at The New School. He lives in New York City with his wife, the Edgar Award-winning mystery writer, Megan Abbott.
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Top international reviews
Temple was one of the most refreshing female characters I've ever read. Stopping just short of making her a feral child, we're presented with someone who is practical, resourceful, intelligent and pretty handy in a fight - all of which works for me! There's no illusions about the sort of world she's grown up in but at the same time she manages to see beauty even in the rot and ruin of a dying world. Her outlook on life is surprisingly optimistic and while she fights altruistic urges, she's not so hardened by the need to survive that she won't protect those who need it. Her personal moral code is interesting. I one particular instance I would have 'fixed his wagon' rather than letting a threat continue. I actually like her more because she didn't.
Perhaps one of the strangest things was the complete lack of speech marks. This served to make us feel that we were always deep inside her head even during a conversation. I think it worked but it took getting used to.
Every character was well rounded and satisfying. The end was brutal, visceral and right - though I'm sure it will put some noses out of joint. I'd love to read more in this world. And I don't particularly like zombies!
This was awesome. I loved it and wish I had it to read all over again. If you haven't discovered it yet, set aside some time - you're in for a treat.
I think it is clear that this novel is not primarily about the undead menace that lurks around every corner but more about the survivors and how they are coping with the situation, with the primary focal point being that of Temple, a fifteen year old girl born into the torn world that Bell has so ably created.
Stylistically, Bell writes very much like Cormac McCarthy and the imagery is similar to that found in The Road. The tone is dark and bleak; and Bell himself has described The Reapers are the Angels as being more Southern Gothic than a tale of a zombie apocalypse. The zombie plague provides the backdrop to the narrative but it's Temple's flight from her pursuer that drives the story on and for me, evoked memories of Frankenstein and the Doctor's pursuit of his creation.
As I'm sure you can guess from the title, there is much discussion of religion and God throughout the novel and Temple's moral compass is very much tested throughout the book. Temple sees the beauty in much of the world that remains and believes this is all a part of God's plan and her background of having never known a world without "meatskins" (zombies) gives her an interesting perspective and makes her quite a compelling protagonist; her attitudes towards society and other humans gives the novel further depth.
In short, The Reapers are the Angels is a real surprise. Bell manages to pack an awful lot into just under 300 pages and succeeds where so many horror stories fail and has created a compelling character-driven horror tale.
Temple is a tough young girl who, although not able to read or write, is cunning and has a natural ability to survive. While she has this tough outer, Temple is a very lovable character and she carries with her a constant feeling of guilt and isolation.
When I bought this book my initial thoughts were that it would be full of zombies trying to eat Temples brains and a young girls struggle to survive, I was pleasantly surprised. The books antagonists are not the zombie as expected but other humans who, in a world gone to hell will try to take advantage of a young girl, only to meet their end. One such person is Abraham, Abraham's demise results in a vendetta by his brother Moses who will stop at no length to see that Temple dies. This sees Temple having to uproot from the relative safety of a small community and travel across the dangerous landscape. On her journeys she comes across Maury, who she refers to as dummy because he cannot speak. Initially Temple is reluctant to help the gentle giant but her conscience gets the better of her and gives her journey purpose.
This story was a great change from the usual zombie novels I delve into, the characters were well developed, although it did confuse me as to why Moses was so hell-bent on the demise of the young girl, but still he made a great adversary, opposite in physical description but similar in personality and values, as cunning and equality if not more so dangerous. I think that Moses and Temple are different from the other people in the book and as Moses puts it “Some people, he says, they hide themselves away from the eyes of the world. They hunker down and shiver. They find four walls high enough to put between them and everything else. Those people, to them the world is a frightful place. See, you and me, we're different. When we are called on to move, we move. It don't matter the cause or the distance. Revenge or ministration, reason or folly - it's all the same to us.”
I really enjoyed this book and would highly recommend it; it contains all the things I look for in a book, action, adventure, violence, horror, great memorable characters and settings and also was unique compared to most post-apocalyptic novels.
Moses Todd is chasing Temple across the ruined landscape and she is running for her life but the chase keeps her going and probably Moses too, the cat and mouse game becomes their reason for carrying on in the hostile world and I thought it was summed up nicely when Temple is confronted with two bodies; the result of a suicide and Moses asks her why she looks so disapprovingly at them, 'At least the Meatskins found something worth desiring. They keep on keeping on till the very last minute when they fall over in a pile of dust.'
I don't want to give anything away but the end of the story has a real sting in the tail. I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys the Hunger Games, although this book does get slightly more gory with a few swears thrown in just to let you know (incase i'm sending a few sensitive souls where they don't want to be).
It is very hard to find a decent zombie novel though. Some of Brian Keene's efforts have been enjoyable and Max Brooks does an interesting take on the genre but I have yet to find a zombie novel that I've really enjoyed....Until now.
The Reapers are the Angels is set roughly 25 years after the dead started returning to not so dead. The book focuses on Temple a young girl roughly 15 years old but with the experience of one who is much older.
Temple knows what it takes to survive. At the first sign of trouble she moves on. She has no emotional ties, just takes what she needs and goes. The story follows her progress across America. The people she encounters and the incidents she endures. Each of these episodes are intriguing and well portrayed. Whether it be communities in denial of the world around them, or mad mutants who feel they are superior you get the sense of desperation and loneliness of Temple's plight.
Running alongside this survival, a carefully revealed back story is revealed that hints of a past family where Temple was happy.
Temple herself is a great character. She is hard and cuts herself off from getting close to other humans but at the same time displays a good sense of loyalty and at times subtle tenderness. It keeps her character fresh and the reader interested.
If surviving the zombies (slugs) wasn't enough. Temple is also constantly looking over a man determined to kill her. It is this relationship that is the strongest part of the novel. Despite their hatred for each other, the two begin to recognise that they understand each other better then anyone else they have come across. The dynamic is interesting and plausible and concludes in excellent fashion.
Overall this is the first zombie book that I can say is really good. Others have been enjoyable but Alden Bell has struck the correct balance between portraying the horror or the situation and concentrating on the human elements of the story.
The narrative style is at first annoying but develops into something rather charming. I guess it takes a little while to get used to the speech patterns of the various narrators. The story is slow paced taking a long time to come to fruition but the easy style of narration (once you are used to it) prevents the story from becoming boring or appearing too wordy. All in all there is promise in the story and its an enjoyable enough read, though it lacks the action and gore of other novels.
There are a few things that bugged me however. Firstly the story is set decades after the "zompocalypse" yet cars are still being driven around with regularity (petroleum products have a finite shelf life or months not years). The use of cars and other forms of modern transport is to some extent necessary for the story and thus forgivable. But there are other examples of technology that would likely have stopped working (GPS), and most of the towns and cities still have electricity. But perhaps the biggest problem is that despite being a "survivor" born to a world of zombies and raiders or our main protagonist makes numerous silly mistakes and seems just a little too trusting for the world she has been brought up in.
Ultimately the book is lacking, that's not to say it's badly written or that there are the grammatical and punctuation errors so prevalent with Kindle books. Its just that at times the story lacks substance coming across more as if it is the first draft of TV screenplay. I paid 99 pence for this and at that price it's a good story and worth a read, but at the current price (£5.03) its hard to recommend.
it was just too short, the characters are well written but not rounded enough, they need fleshing out and the story was skimped on, the whole book could have been another 600 pages long and I would have devoured it, we could have learnt more about the rest of the world, we could have gone to Niagra, what happened to the planes? it just feels like the author ran out of ideas and gave up which is a damn shame.
Reading this, I felt the story got better and better, with a perfect mix of action and emotion.
A definite read for those who love the undead, and even for those who don't!
It is violent but that's what you expect when reading zombie stories.
Th main character is very well written and you learn about her past and how she survives
I enjoyed it a lot and will look for anything else by this