New zombie novel offers apocalyptic twists
KT Volante’s new zombie novel, When the World Flipped, will have readers breathlessly follow the adventures of Lacey and her fellow survivors as the world “changes” due to a strange virus that is transforming the living into the undead.
The novel begins when a flu virus has caused more patients than normal in the emergency room where Lacey works as a nurse. When patients start attacking doctors and nurses, Lacey is forced to seek shelter. She ends up in a supply closet with another nurse and a security guard. Together, they manage to fight their way out of the hospital, and a young doctor joins them along the way. Things get wilder and wilder as they are forced to defend themselves. As they reach the safety of Lacey’s car, they watch in agony as her co-workers are mugged and killed in the parking lot.
Afraid to go home or anywhere, the four of them stick together. Their first stop is a school where they try to rescue the children of Lacey’s fellow nurse. The visit does not go well. The infected are now everywhere, attacking and biting children in the schoolyard. Lacey ends up losing one of her friends, but rescuing some children.
Survival now becomes Lacey and her friends’ primary goal. Readers will fear for their safety and at the same time admire the decisions they make to ensure their survival. Lacey and her companions end up moving from one house to another until they find the perfect private property where they can feel safe. They can also get a little information about the situation before all telecommunications cease. A cable station explains:
“A virus, definitely not the flu, has swept the world in the last few days. It begins with regular flu-like symptoms: body aches, fever and chills. The fever rises until it burns the brain. Then the madness and the Violence takes control until the person dies. But he is not really dead, but is revived. He moves as if he were alive, but without mind or soul. This virus has revolutionized our world. Many people now call it “The Flip” “I pray that we live long enough to see him back off. This will be our last live broadcast.”
Over time, Lacey herself comes to refer to the infected as LD, short for “Living Dead,” a term adopted by her peers. While most readers will be familiar with zombies and can imagine them wandering aimlessly in search of their next human lunch, what makes Volante’s zombies interesting is that while the bitten turn into zombies, the virus Whatever it is, it also seems to affect the dead. Those who have not been bitten but die a natural death, and did not even die from the virus, are also beginning to become LD. This situation results in Lacey having to drive a stake through the body of a dear friend after her death to ensure that she does not become a LD.
To survive, Lacey and her friends are forced to regularly venture into various stores in search of food and supplies. During these outings, they constantly fight LDs, but they also meet other humans, in small groups, with whom they befriend and bring back to their compound. Even a group of nuns finally join them.
But not all humans want to be your friend. Some do not trust and others deserve not to be trusted. At one point, Lacey and a couple of her friends come into contact with other survivors who refuse to exchange supplies and then attempt to follow them home.
Adults also have the constant concern of caring for the children they have rescued. This situation is especially heartbreaking because children have lost their parents and have difficulty understanding death, much less the horror they are experiencing. Children’s safety is always a top priority and a constant fear.
Readers will definitely feel a bond with these people. Numerous strong and distinct characters are in the book, Lacey being the most prominent of them and the narrator. Lacey manages to stand her ground despite losing her own husband. She assumes leadership of the group and keeps everyone safe to the last page when a situation arises beyond her control.
Volante ends the book with a real suspense. A sequel, titled After the World Flipped, is planned for the near future. There are a lot of zombie novels out there, and I’ve read several of them, so I can say that this is definitely one that stands out. The pace never stops, and Volante creates realistic characters that you bond with and even shed a few tears when they die.