Book Review: Ashley Parker Returns in Plague Nation

Book Review: Ashley Parker Returns in Plague NationPlague Nation is an even better read than Plague Town

I received review copies of both Plague Town (see my review here) and Plague Nation by Dana Fredsti. If I had to choose between the two books, Plague Nation would easily be my favorite. It has a lot of great drama, good character development and a more intriguing story than its predecessor.

Plague Nation begins where Plague Town left off: The Redwood Grove zombie problem might have been dealt with, but the zombie virus is spreading through the United States. Main protagonist Ashley, along with the zombie-fighting team (those who have survived the virus), must make their way to San Francisco to go to a super-secret government lab where Dr. Albert can work on a cure. But will they make it? And what will San Francisco be like when they arrive? All of these questions and more will be answered.

One of my main gripes about Plague Town was the main character, Ashley Parker. In that book, she seemed very Mary Sue, at times, and completely untouchable. However, Fredsti seems to have found more development for Ashley in Plague Nation. In this book, she feels like a much more fully-realized character that the reader will find sympathy for. In fact, Fredsti’s writing, in general, feels much more confident and adept in the second book of the series and it seems she’s finally finding her storytelling style.

In fact, all of the characters of Plague Nation feel more developed, but be careful not to get close. Fredsti pulls a George R.R. Martin throughout the novel. Don’t expect some of your favorites to live until the end of the book. But these deaths are memorable and make an impact on both the novel’s other characters and their growth. The deaths blindside you for a moment, but the action of the story continues over that. I liked that, because in times of war, a soldier never has time to mourn the fallen before having to keep moving on in order to survive.

The pop culture references also continue into this book. Fredsti is obviously a major geek. Of course, I was hooked at the mention of a TARDIS, but there are also references to Star Wars, Star Trek, Batman, Spiderman, etc. 

Plague Nation ends on a cliffhanger, so I expect we’ll be reading more about Ashley and her adventures in Zombieland (that’s referenced a few times in the new book, too). I, personally, look forward to seeing what happens next.

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