My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Time Taken To Read - 4 days
Blurb From Goodreads
Ten years after Cape Town was destroyed in the War with the living dead, zombies ramble free in Cape Town's suburbs (known as the Deadlands), and the remaining living are either in fenced in on farms or in urban shantytowns.
The living are watched over by the mysteriously robed Guardians, a race of humanoid figures who appeared at the end of the War and who keep the living dead at bay, albeit for a steep price. Every year the Guardians stage a human Lottery and select five aspiring teenagers to be whisked out of the enclave for a secret purpose. To be one of the chosen five is a highly sought after and prestigious accolade.
No one (yet) knows why it is that the Guardians prize teenage bodies so highly, how they control the zombies or what they look like under the robes that cover their bodies..
Ten years have passed since the war against the zombies happened and the Guardians appeared. They keep the undead away whilst the living are fenced in and safe or living on farms or Urban shantytowns (the book takes place in Cape Town (South Africa). But protection doesn't come free and every year the Guardians have a human Lottery and take 5 teenagers for reasons unknown to the people left behind. Where do they go and what happens to the teenagers and how do the Guardians control the zombies?
The main character of the story is a seventeen year old girl, Lele. She is a lively teenager who is unhappy with many aspects of her life, let alone the zombies and Guardians. Her step mother is a believer that the coming of the zombies made everything better (as is the teaching at Lele's new school). Lele sounds finds out she is not alone in her thinking and after hearing about the Mall Rats she wants to know more.
There is a lot to this book and the zombies don't really come into play until after 100 odd pages. The book is definitely Young Adult and covers the teenage angst issues,despite there being zombies and people dying, they play a huge part in the story. Lele's struggles to fit in, her budding interest in boys, heartache at losing her gran, relationship issues with her step mother etc.
It picked up for me when the Mall Rats came into play and you start to get a bit more background on how things came to pass. Lele finds out as slowly as the reader, the background, and I found myself getting really frustrated as she would ask the questions you the reader would but more often than not gets brushed off or a half answer. There is a twist with the zombies that you don't see coming and it is interesting to see them in a different light.
From the zombie aspect I was disappointed as I wanted a lot more zombie but as this is the first book in the series I think a lot of ground work has been covered to build the story. There are a lot of unanswered questions too however the second book is out October 2013 and I will certainly be getting is as I need to find out the answers to the questions.
The chapters are very short (we know by now how I love this) so you can dip in and out and the book as and when. The author also has a great way of ending each chapter in a way you can't put it down and you want to know what she means and what happens next. A good introduction to a new series, well written and flows well, 3/5 for me. This book is out to buy on April the 18th 2013, both paperback and ebook for £6.99. Thank you so much to Newbooks for the ARC in exchange for an honest review.