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Plague of the Dead book review

Plague of the Dead
The Morningstar Saga

By Z.A. Recht
Bought this book at the same time as I purchased World War Z (see review below); what can I say, I was in the mood for some zombie killing books!
Plague of the Dead (PoTD) takes a similar approach to the nature of the zombie outbreak as World War Z--zombies are created by a nefarious, fast spreading virus (the "Morningstar virus").
PoTD adds an extra twist--initially, upon infection, the zombies are still alive, but mad with rabid rage and cannibalistic urges. They're similar to the infected, "rage" zombies from the 28 Days Later movies, in that they keep their speed and reflexes. These infected become known as sprinters. They can be stopped fairly easily, killed just like a normal human can. However, after killed, they rise again as "shamblers", the slow-moving, hard-to-kill zombies we're all familiar with. These undead require the typical headshot/brain destruction to be stopped.
The book starts with a worldwide flair, following several characters during the initial phases of the outbreak. Gradually, as the zombies spread across the globe, the characters come together into two main groups: a small band of soldiers and refugees and three escapees running from the NSA.
PoTD has a lot going for it. Recht keeps things moving at a fast pace--the characters rarely have more than a few pages to rest before something else bad happens--and keeps things interesting. Great action sequences, interesting twists put on the zombie genre--PoTD book is a fast, fun, and intense read. It sets up well for the rest of the "saga".
That being said, PoTD has some flaws, as well. There are many characters (to me, it seemed more than a few with names that begin with "D"), who can be hard to distinguish between as they're turned into zombie-food. This is a partly a consequence of the genre, though--there needs to be lots of people for the zombies to eat!
A few plot lines are started, but not finished, or a character is introduced and then eaten or forgotten. For example, the group of soldiers need their boat fixed, so we're introduced to a retired military mechanic who lives on a remote desert island. Several pages are dedicated to the character, the island he lives on, his strange inventions--including a magnetic rail gun/gauss cannon--but then he is never heard from (or possibly even mentioned again). It's assumed that he made the repairs, but that's it. I would guess that the book was written a piece at a time, and after a break, the author returned, and uninterested with a character or plot line, and either just moved on or killed the character off/had them infected.
At one point in the book, the soldiers ditch all of their M16s, because they don't think they'll be able to find ammo on their journey through the U.S., despite the fact that ..223/5.56mm are one of the most commonly available rifle rounds in the United States, used by every branch of the military, the police, and civilians across the country! If there's ONE rifle round you'd be likely to find in the U.S., it'd be .223/5.56mm.
Complaints and nit-picks aside, PoTD is a very fun and entertaining read. It sucks you in pretty quickly, and the action doesn't let up. I'll pick up the sequel, and would recommend the book to any zombie or action fan.
3.5 out of 5
For more information, check out the Saga's official homepage: The Morningstar Saga.com

Plague of the Dead on Amazon.