Matt Pike is on a roll. He’s churning out books on a regular basis, and so far they’ve all been so good whenever I pick one up I can’t stop reading until I finish.
Life and Beath gives some of the back story of Zhang, or Z-Hang, a plucky girl who has the power to move objects, and grunts (a.k.a zombies) from far away, using hand gestures. Without giving too much away, poor Z-Hang had to witness some gory, emotional scenes before she met up with the rest of the group.
As with the rest of this compelling series, Life and Beath is chock full of puns, fun collectible images, and helpful advice for others who may be fighting for their survival in a zombie apocalypse. For example, taking a deep breath just before firing a slingshot can help you aim straight for a grunt’s head.
Also, grunts are attracted to sound, and according to Life and Beath, “like the atoms in the early universe slowly combined to form large galaxies held together by gravity, so the zombies in the early RiZing are slowly forming larger and larger clusters, held together by sound.”
Though Life and Beath is, like the other two books in the series, action-packed, Pike breaks up the intense fight and flight scenes with expert humor. Sonny’s gastrointestinal tract provides relief (pun intended) to the gang as much as it also puts them in danger. Or at least it gives them something to talk about and bond over.
Pike also subtly squeezes in elegant, thought-provoking prose in between scenes. Abby, who has Rett Syndrome, is a wonderful character who, despite having issues communicating, is incredibly strong and full of insight. At the end of chapter 5, we learn about Abby’s infectious laughter. Though she has trouble speaking, Abby has other ways of communicating, via signals, eye movements, and her Choices app, which gives her freedom. But to quote Pike:
“But it was when she laughed, when she shared that joy with those around her, that she truly understood freedom.”
Life and Beath is a quick read, and every chapter presents the gang with a new challenge. Beath, Abby, Ms Simmons, Zhang, Sonny, and Vihaan all have to dig deep to find the skills they need to survive. And the longer they are out in this new zombie world, they more they learn about themselves and their capabilities, which also includes magic powers.
Not to spoil the book, but one member of the group discovers a new power, which will help a lot as they battle their way through giants and different types of grunts.
At times Life and Beath felt a bit rushed, but overall it’s a strong third book in the Zombie RiZing series. If you have yet to pick up Scared to Beath and A Fate Worse Than Beath, then I highly recommend you read them, and then purchase Life and Beath. Looking forward to the next book in the series, Creeping Beath, which will be available on June 23.