Apocalyptic zombie fiction from a very promising author? Yes please. Roads Less Traveled: The Plan may be yet another genre novel told in the first person (this is really bugging me of late), but it’s one that has a superb balance of plot, character, fun and carnage.
Getting underway the day after a zombie apocalypse has kicked off, the story follows main characters Kasey and Ben as they assemble a group of friends and acquaintances in order to put ‘The Plan’ into action, basically a scheme to not get their brains eaten by hordes of the undead.
Thus begins a journey of hundreds of miles that sees the group torn apart by both circumstances and their own conflicts. The novel is the first of three, and I’d say that the series is going to pick up a lot of fans.
The style of the book is interesting, told in a style that is somewhere between YA and general horror fiction. This isn’t a bad thing at all, as it means the prose is well paced, to-the-point and fun to read. Dulaney is not kind to her characters though, which is refreshing, meaning that there aren’t as many great escapes as you would expect from the genre in prose or on film. People suffer.
A great strength of Dulaney’s writing is the interplay and conflict between the characters, giving them a mix of Joss Whedon-style banter and Walking Dead-style struggles to stay sane and alive around each other.
Don’t for a second think this is zombie-lite, though, as there is enough brain-chewing, zombie-blasting, flesh-tearing mayhem in this first book to make even Romero proud. My only concern is whether or not Dulaney will be able to maintain the tension and excitement over the course of three books. On the strength of Roads Less Traveled: The Plan, I would say that concern I unfounded. Like zombies and believable characters in your fiction? Buy this.