I am always looking for new books for the Evil Genius Reading Collection. We all love the classics and we each have our favorite fandoms but somewhere between the ages of eight-years-old and 13-years-old things turn ugly. It’s like a virus taking over our communities; a plague turning our young geeklings into spoiler-seeking zombies who will only feast on established fandoms. The only way to overcome it is to seek out fresh meat books.
Good thing I like to attend geeky conventions. And while my last venture was not the most enjoyable, it did reap some awesome returns in the ‘new book’ category. Check out Zombie RiZing.
Initially, an e-book series, Zombie RiZing is a collection of six books (for season 1) self-published by the author, Matt J Pike. I was lucky enough to gain a review copy of the first book, Scared to Beath.
Zombie RiZing: Book Series
The story doesn’t ease you into the Zombie Apocalypse. Oh no—It throws you right into the deep end with the six main characters as they navigate their newly infected world. Aimed at 9-12-year-olds, the characters themselves are a little older (except for the sole adult, a teacher named Ms Simmons). The characters are real; the scenario they are in, not so much. But their reactions are very believable and easy to associate with. It makes the book deceptively easy to sink into.
“I’m not Elizabeth anymore. That was my scared name. I’m Beth, but not the normal spelling. I’m B E A T H – like death, but a better option. I am a zombie killing machine, like you.”
I’ll be honest with you: none of our spawnlings are interested in zombies. It’s just not their thing. However, for the sake of giving a new book a chance, 11-year-old Sinister offered to read it with me.
And really, really enjoyed it. So much, he is asking about the rest of the series. Book 1 ends on a cliffhanger and Sinister wants to know what kids like him might do in situations like this. It’s that type of book.
The storytelling is fast-paced and the dialogue equally so. At no point do you feel like it is lumbering along
The Personal Touch: Rett Syndrome
There’s also a nice personal touch to the story. The author based a character on his daughter, Abby, who has Rett Syndrome—a neurological condition, more commonly affecting girls than boys. Abby is unable to walk, talk, or use her hands in a meaningful way. Pike has chosen to use his writing to raise awareness and money for research, with proceeds from the sale of each book going towards finding a cure. Within the story itself, Pike has developed a character who is honest and substantial, and in no way tokenistic for Rett Syndrome. Instead, we find a character who is an active part of the group and a natural part of the story.
So many elements of this book felt new and fresh. Zombies are not new, and school kids surviving the Apocalypse also not new. But the storytelling in Scared to Beath was refreshing. Little touches like music references and magical effects were all tightly woven into a story I really enjoyed reading. Like Sinister, I am genuinely interested to know what kids like Beath are going to do in situations like this.
So Where Do I Buy It?
The entire Zombie RiZing series is available in both eBook and hardcopy. If you are after a signed copy (like all the cool kids), head over to the author’s Etsy page. You can also find copies through Amazon and through Matt J Pike’s website.