Published May 8, 2013
Genre: YA fiction
Phase One: Identify (Territory of the Dead # ) by Rose Wynters
From author Rose Wynters, comes a new zombie series set in Pleasant, Louisiana. Can this checkout girl learn how to survive in a world full of zombies?
Tabitha Alexander is an 18 year old that has just graduated from high school. Working as a checkout girl in the small town of Pleasant, her long-term goals for the future don’t go beyond enjoying the upcoming summer and enjoying her freedom.
Fate has something else in store for her, though.
One night, right before closing time, her world is turned completely inside out with the first screams and sounds of gunfire that tear through the dark night. Nothing will ever be the same again….. If they even survive.
This is a great book trailer that encapsulates the plot and the song is terrific!
This book caught my attention a while back when I posted a spotlight for the start of this new young adult series about an eighteen-year-old girl whose life is irrevocably changed by a zombie outbreak. The beautifully illustrated cover, storyline of a zombie apocalypse, and excerpt I read enticed me to give this series a try, and by the time I finished I knew this was a series I would continue.
Phase One: Identify is a novella of approximately 86 pages that introduces us to a strong-willed, kick-butt protagonist, Tabitha or Tabs, and the rest of her small group that bands together to figure out how they are going to survive when the world as they know it comes crashing down all around them.
The story is narrated from Tabitha’s point-of-view only, so her character is the most well-rounded compared to the others who have yet to be fully developed. I’m sure as the series develops, we will get to know the other characters better, and already I have begun to care about them and am eager to see what happens to them.
As an adult reading the book, it was clear to me that Wynters kept her targeted young adult audience in mind as she developed the plot. The writing style and casual voice are geared for juvenile readers. Furthermore, she does a good job of depicting the horrors of zombie attacks without the gory details that may be too frightening for younger readers.
The story starts off a bit slow but helps us get to know Tabitha and her outlook on life. She’s just graduated from high school, still lives at home with her parents, and has no definite future plans. Just like most young adults starting their lives, she yearns for adventure, and definitely wants more than the monotony of working as a cashier in a small town grocery story. Little does she know, change is literally right outside the door.
Unlike some books that begin in the aftermath of a zombie outbreak, Wynters immerses readers into the beginning of the apocalypse and, besides the action in the book, I was engaged in following the characters’ gradual changes in mindset as they begin to grasp that the laws, rules, values that once helped stabilize society no longer apply, and by refusing to adapt, they continue to put their lives at risk. Tabitha’s Dad, Dan, is a prime example of this. When the outbreak first occurs, he is a pillar of strength who keeps hope alive when the others are tempted to fall into an abyss of despair. However, as the plot unfolds, the young adults begin to see that his reluctance to act may get them killed. Dan still clings to the notion that the police and military will keep its citizens safe, and he is against the idea of Tabitha carrying a gun for protection.
Although the adults are in charge of making decisions at the start of the story, they begin to take a backseat as Tabitha and Jayden, the twenty-year-old next door neighbor, gather weapons and lead the fight to keep their group safe. They understand that violence is necessary because there is no reasoning with the hoards of blood thirsty creatures slowly surrounding them, ready to attack.
As with every good story, the danger escalates and the suspense builds as the group’s situation becomes bleaker. The second half of the story is action-packed, intense, and the appearance of the mysterious, bad-ass Kellen toward the end gives Tabitha hope for their survival.
Although Tabitha has been crushing on Jayden for years, she is mesmerized by Kellen from the time she first lays eyes on him. And she’s not the only one. I’m already anticipating the romance possibilities and conflicts that are sure to ensue as the dynamics of the characters’ relationships with each other evolve.
Overall, I found the reading experience enjoyable, but there were some aspects that I found troublesome. When the outbreak begins, Tabitha seems much too calm in telling readers what is happening. I don’t feel the range of emotions or shock that I would expect anyone to have in witnessing humans attacking and killing one another. For me, the first part of the book lacked the vivid description I wanted as the drama unfolded.
Throughout the entire story I am amazed at how calm, rational, and logical Tabitha is no matter how dire the situation or how much pressure she’s under. She doesn’t show the fear, confusion, and panic like the others around her, but perhaps her unusual attitude is what will make her a strong heroine as the series continues.
There were a few grammatical flaws, mostly with use of to versus too that over time did begin to bother me, but not enough to interfere with my enjoyment of the story. I knew this was a novella when I started the book, but I was frustrated that just as the story gained momentum and I began to get invested in the plot, I was met with an epilogue. What disappointed me the most is that the book ended sooner than I would have liked. I’m not a fan of novellas and rarely read them, so I wish that the start of the series had been a full length novel. Others, especially younger readers may not mind this; it’s just my personal preference. So, I guess I will just have to patiently wait for the next installment. Please don’t keep me waiting too long, Ms. Wynters!
I received a copy of this book from the author in exchange for a fair and honest review.
It would have been worth the complaint and subsequent chewing out I would have received, if the events of the night just wouldn’t have happened. I would later look back on this night and pray that things had ended differently. You can’t change events that are completely out of your control, though.
Even so, anything would have been preferable to that one moment when you find your reality has just been blown to pieces and would never be the same again. That’s assuming you live to survive it.
She was halfway to Jim, her teased hairdo bouncing, when it happened. A loud, panicked scream tore through the night, originating somewhere from the parking lot in front of the store. Even through the thick glass, we could hear it loudly. It sounded like someone was being murdered. I immediately stopped scanning, turning in an attempt to see what was happening.
A body slammed against the glass, face and palms pressed to the surface. It was a horrid sight. His pupils were red and crazed, his face extremely pale and dirty. Dark red blood was smeared across his cheeks and chin. The man stood still for a moment, just watching us with his crazy eyes. Something reanimated him. He slid his palms down the clear, clean glass, leaving a trail of bloody streaks.
I couldn’t tear my eyes away from the blood. As odd as it sounds, I felt irritated. I’d just cleaned that glass when I first came in on my shift today. Knowing Jim, he’d make me clean them again before I could go home. After he chewed me out, of course.
I shook my head in aggravation, lost in my thoughts. Dimly, I heard one of the customers ask, “What in the hell is that?” It pulled me back to the present.
Nobody moved, to stunned to do anything but watch. Even Jim stared at him, his jaw slack from shock. The man started pounding on the glass with enough force to cause them to shake. It was obvious he was looking for a way in. I shook my head at his idiocy, and wondered why he didn’t just use the door.
The sound of repeated gunfire broke the silence. It sounded like a war zone outside of the walls of the store, and panic immediately set in. The customers abandoned their purchases and shopping carts, running straight toward the automatic doors.
“Don’t go out there,” I yelled out, suddenly afraid for the man outside to figure out the way in. For whatever reason, so far he hadn’t. To my way of thinking, if someone isn’t in their right mind enough to figure out how to get into a store, they didn’t have any business being there in the first place.
The customers ignored me, the first one getting close enough to activate the automatic door feature. With horrified shock, I watched him step through and into the outside world, but he didn’t get any further. The crazed man grabbed him roughly and immediately bit his face.
Nobody stopped to help him, to desperate to save themselves. As the other customers raced away, I watched a man slowly ate to death. There was simply no other way to describe it. Screaming, he tried to fight, but it was no use. Red-eyes was strong enough to lock him into place as he quickly tore chunk after chunk of flesh out of his struggling body.
With a gasp, I put both hands over my mouth and attempted to not vomit. My stunned mind simply couldn’t comprehend what it was seeing. I felt like I was trapped in a nightmare, one that I couldn’t wake up from. After another minute or two of screaming, the customer grew silent, his body limp.
I knew he was dead, but it didn’t stop the cannibalistic actions of the wild man that had hold of him. With loud smacks, he chewed every exposed section of flesh until finally he had his fill. At least, of him.
His red eyes swung in my direction. Without a second glance, he released the dead man’s body. It hit the ground with a loud thump, but I couldn’t bring myself to look at him. He was already dead, but even if he wasn’t, there wasn’t a thing in this world I could do for him. My death was waiting in those red eyes, if I didn’t figure out how to save myself in the next several seconds.
I’m just your average, everyday female that loves to write about passionate love affairs and the the ups and downs of falling in love with extremely hot, alpha, supernatural men that push all the boundaries when it comes to sex.
I’ve always loved romance, starting with books from my childhood like Cinderella or Snow White and Rose Red. As the years passed, I developed an interest in the paranormal and supernatural. My love of romance continued to grow stronger, prompting me to write books about what women really want. There really is magic in the pages, and what red-blooded woman doesn’t want a gorgeous man willing to do everything it takes to claim her?
I enjoy the shows True Blood and The Walking Dead. For some odd reason, I am extremely fascinated by zombies and the idea of living in an apocalyptic world, although I’m definitely grateful that we don’t! I’m not sure how long I’d survive without electricity, Internet, and all the other modern day stuff we take for granted. Still though, I love to write about them, and I hope it reflects in my series, Territory of the Dead!
I enjoy almost all things exotic from exotic food to exotic travels. When not working on my sexy alpha characters and real-world heroines, I like to travel, camp, and just enjoy life as much as I possibly can! I will try just about anything once, and twice if I like it. I enjoy meeting new people and getting to know my readers.
Rose has put together a playlist to complement the book for you to enjoy.
OmniLit / Barnes & Noble / Smashwords
Goodreads Link: http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/17903004-phase-one?ac=1
Link to Follow Tour: http://tastybooktours.blogspot.com/2013/07/now-booking-tasty-blurb-tour-for-phase.html