River of Souls by T.L. Bodine is a zombie tale with a lot of heart. While there is some terror and heartbreak, this isn’t your usual zombie story. You won’t want to miss this one!
Content Warning: Alcoholism, Substance Abuse, Suicide
Full disclosure: I was given a free copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review. This did not affect my rating in any way.
Let’s dive in!
My Thoughts on River of Souls by T.L. Bodine
When the story begins, we meet Davin, a young man who is trying very hard to keep his family of three together. This family is made up of Davin, his younger sister, Zoe, and their alcoholic father. There’s only one issue… their father has passed away. But he didn’t stay dead.
Like many others, the father has come back as a zombie and he is being kept alive by a daily injection called Lazarus. This drug is supposed to keep the zombies alive and even-tempered so they can still be part of their families and their communities without the risk of them getting angry and eating people.
When Davin is faced with an opportunity to check his father into a facility for zombies, he can’t pass it up, even if his sister doesn’t love the idea. Unfortunately, on the way back, something happens that changes things for this family yet again…
I absolutely loved this story. I immediately felt for the characters. At each turn of events, I was so nervous and expected the worst. I’m so glad to say that I walked away from this one smiling! But don’t get me wrong, there are still plenty of not-smile-worthy things that occur! This author certainly doesn’t shy away from the darkness and brutality of both the human world and the zombie world.
And speaking of those turns of events, phew did a lot happen here! The author really covered a lot ground here and each new element draws readers closer to the characters. The plot was fast-paced, but not too fast. She balances the darkness of being a zombie and the beauty of still being able to love just beautifully.
This is definitely one that many readers will have trouble putting down.
My Favorite Passages from River of Souls
Getting between Zoe and something she’s passionate about is like trying to get food away from a hungry, angry bear.
Time is relative, and it’s never quite as relative as when you’re stuck somewhere you don’t want to be. The hours creep past agonizingly slowly, time stretching out between them like gum left on a hot sidewalk.
Dreams are supposed to be your brain’s way of making sense of things, processing, letting go, taking out the trash from your subconscious. I guess when you keep having the same dream over and over, that’s got to mean you have a lot of garbage to sort through.
The airbag, late to the party, explodes against my face. Shattered glass blows back in with it. There’s a terrible pain in my gut, an awful swelling explosion of agony.
And then there’s nothing at all.
I step back from the stove, lifting my forearm surreptitiously, sniffing at my skin. I can’t tell whether it smells like anything. I just know that I feel dead; I feel rotten, like an overripe pumpkin that’s started to crumple in on itself after being left outside.
Then again, I suppose these days we are one of those things that goes bump in the night. Maybe that means I don’t need to be so afraid, but tell that to my body. There’s something trembling inside, deep down, as if all the places left empty in my gut have been filled with frightened birds.
It’s not home, but it feels like it almost could be, and it’s the most comforting thing I’ve experienced since I woke up dead in a ditch off the interstate. I cling to this, because I know it can’t possibly last.
My Final Thoughts on River of Souls
I had so much fun with this read. It’s another story that I just didn’t want to end. I would happily follow these characters on more adventures as they navigate this world.
If you read and enjoyed Warm Bodies and enjoy grittier, darker body horror, you’re going to LOVE this one.
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Thanks for reading!
And thank you again to the author for sending this my way!