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The Gathering Dead - Stephen Knight I bought this the other day and man, I finished it in one sitting! This was a really good zombie book for me. It may be as good as 187 - Almost Hell by Eric Lowther. I enjoyed it so much that the ending blew me away, which is not something that happens very often. I felt sad, but happy at the same time. It wasn't exactly the best ending, but it's the kind of ending that leaves you with a fuzzy feeling, an ending that makes you think and really feel for the characters. I swear that by the of the book, I felt myself feeling a bit tear-eyed.

Story - 4.5 / 5
You're introduced to Major Cordell McDaniels, who in the midst of the world ending and succumbing to the walking dead, finds himself given one of the most important missions of his life and of mankind: escorting Wolf Safire, a research scientist who holds the key to creating a vaccine and even a cure, out of the hells of New York city. But it isn't a walk in the park, as they get trapped in a sky scraper and the only way to get out of there is to seek help from air and water transportation. The question is - will they be able to hold out before the swarm of zombies get to them first?

I like the concept. Reading about the zombie apocalypse from the military point of view is very refreshing, and not something you see very often in this kind of genre. Escorting an important man was a good idea, too, and it was very fun and thrilling to read as they faced obstacles one after another. No doubt that I had moments where my heart was about to burst from excitement or suspense.

One thing I like about my zombies is that they have to be traditional. I've read some books where some authors decided to "experiment" and made them "smart", "strategic", and even "comedians who can sprout poetry" /coughMarkClodicough/ and I don't really like that. But I found Stephen Knight's zombies acceptable, even though they aren't completely traditional. In fact, I thought his zombies made things spicier. At least they don't crack jokes with each other!

Characters - 5/5
I found the characters well-though and nicely developed. Major McDaniels is a man who knows his job and makes sure he completes it, period. But unlike others who's totally nazi about it, he still has a soft side for civilians, which can be noticed from a flashback later in the book of a particular incident in Afghanistan. His other alpha male counterpart is First Sergeant Gartrell, who, like Major McDaniels, knows the implications and importance of the mission they have at hand and makes sure that it gets done pronto. You see that they have some tensions at the very start, but this will be explained later on and justified.

I found myself attached to the characters very quickly. The kind and honest Earl, his little kid Zoe, even the sarcastic Wolf Safire. I loved them all, and when of course some had to go (this is to be expected in any book of this genre), I felt as if a friend of mine departed as well. That is the impact the characters of this book got to me. So the ending totally blew me away! Positively? In a way. Negatively? Kinda, but it's a positively negative kind. Ha ha!

Writing - 5/5
The book is extremely well-written. The action scenes are nice, the settings are well-described without feeling like it's becoming a drag. The transitions are well-thought out, too. And anyway, how could the characters get to me if the writing was bad? The impact left on me already speaks for itself! J'aime ce livre!

Overall: 5/5

I love this book very much! I automatically became a fan of Mr. Stephen Knight. When I found out there was going to be a sequel in the form of a novella, I was ecstatic and bought it. Now if you'll excuse me, I'll be on my kindle reading Left With the Dead! :)