[Review] Married With Zombies by Jesse Petersen

[rating:4]
Author: Jesse Petersen
Series:
 Living with the Dead #1
Genre: Horror/Humour
Age Group: Adult
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Pages: 241
First Published: 2010 (US) | 2011 (UK)
Goodreads | Amazon.com | Amazon.co.uk
Received for review from Simon & Schuster.

First sentence:
David and I became warriors in the zombie plague on the first day, but don’t think that means we were front line soldiers or something.

Married With Zombies has been described as a romantic comedy. I prefer to think of it more like when chick lit meets the zombie apocalypse. Does that sound like basically the same thing? Perhaps, though to me it doesn’t particularly feel like a romance as much as a story about zombies with a couple going through marital problems in its midst. Each chapter gives you a new piece of marital advice for the couple living through the zombie apocalypse. These are both fitting and funny.

This is a story about a couple who are on the brink of divorce. Weekly, they see an overpriced marriage counsellor, and they are very close to giving up on each other when things start to get a bit weird. First off, they find their marriage counsellor tucking into her previous clients and have to fend her off with her own shoe before she can eat them too. Once they escape, they discover that this wasn’t just a one off thing but is in fact widespread throughout Seattle and they know they have to get out and fast. Who would have thought that all their relationship needed was a zombie apocalypse? Married With Zombies is all about Sarah and David’s journey to find safety and their family and the obstacles they have to overcome along the way.

The story is told from the perspective of Sarah, the female protagonist, with a little bit of hindsight. Though she never really says how long has passed in this one, it does give a nice touch of a developing story and it’s comforting to know that she survives at least this book, else of course she couldn’t be telling us what happened. The thing I like the most about Sarah and David is how they are just normal people with normal problems stumbling through this apocalypse together and in the face of survival, they become a little badass. Not ridiculously so, they still have their close calls and they go through an awful lot just to stay alive and that’s what makes them so perfect. Their flaws. They’re frightened, shaking, sick, in shock, as any normal person would be if suddenly their normality was overrun by zombies.

Sarah’s voice sprinkles humour throughout the story, making light of the horrible situations they inevitably keep coming across, which is especially welcome if you’re a little squeamish. There’s a lot of brain splatter and goo. Though it is a very well-balanced story. The zombie genre is treated with respect, and when the situation gets a little too horrible, Sarah ceases joking about it. Jesse Petersen gives Married With Zombies great attention to detail. She considers the little things that a lot of writers wouldn’t. Such as, you start shooting zombies, you have an efficient way to get rid of zombies, but if you’re not careful you will run out of ammo and the noise and commotion will draw more to you.

There are an incredible amount of pop culture references in here, which reminds you that this novel doesn’t take itself too seriously which was something that I particularly loved about it, though I sometimes felt that there were a few too many. I also found some of the dialogue a little bit limp. It wasn’t all bad, but these are the kinds of things that took away a little from my enjoyment of the novel.

Married With Zombies is a fun and easy to read story that I would definitely recommend to zombie fans, you will notice a lot of the same old zombie tropes in this series but the way in which it is written and the characters in it and the way they handle their situation is what makes it a great read. If you aren’t a zombie fan, read this, and you soon will be.

The Living with the Dead series in order:

1. Married With Zombies
2. Flip This Zombie
3. Eat Slay Love