The Reapers are the Angels by Alden Bell.

11019529304 pages

First published August 3rd 2010

Older than her years and completely alone, Temple is just trying to live one day at a time in a post-apocalyptic world, where the undead roam endlessly, and the remnant of mankind who have survived, at times, seem to retain little humanity themselves…Her journey takes her to far flung places, to people struggling to maintain some semblance of civilisation – and to those who have created a new world order for themselves. When she comes across the helpless Maury, she attempts to set one thing right: if she can just get him back to his family then maybe it will bring forgiveness for some of the terrible things that she has done in her past. Because Temple has had to fight to survive; along the road she’s made enemies – and one vengeful man is determined that, in a world gone mad, killing her is the only thing that makes sense…

The Reapers are the Angels is quite different. It’s a zombie journey (road) novel, which is a very common type of zombie book, but it features this incredible girl (I think that she is fifteen) named Temple who has never known the world to be any different. She’s totally alone and only stays somewhere until it is no longer safe, then she just looks for somewhere else to go.

Temple’s got a certain kind of faith in God. She believes that you don’t miss out on nothing you’re supposed to witness first hand. This faith is kind of a recurring theme.

Her companion, Maury, is much older and totally helpless. When she first meets him, he is carrying his deceased grandmother – who was his carer – along a road with a string of meatskins (zombies) behind him. He’s got a note that his gran wrote, asking anyone who finds him to please take him back home to the west if they can.

Also, there is a man after her. He wants to kill her in order to settle a blood debt.

It’s quite beautifully written, but in that unflinching way that you’d expect of a zombie book. Temple is a strong character who’s just looking for some redemption.

While the zombies are significant, they’re not the horrific kind that you may be hoping for. If you like the blood and guts kind of zombie, then look elsewhere. But if you enjoy reading about the ‘what it means to be human’ kind of zombie, then this is for you.

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