Edited by Monique Snyman
Publisher: Crystal Lake Publishing
Release date: 4th Sept 2015
Page Count: Unspecified
Reviewer: Theresa Derwin
Are zombies dead in the water? Or is there more we can do to resurrect them? Joe Mynhardt certainly seems to think they can be revived. The “BRAAAAIIIINS”-child of Mynhardt, Children of the Grave is a brand new zombie collection with a notable difference. Each story in the collection is about protagonist Blaze, written by six different prolific authors, with six different endings. So, how will it end?
The opening scenario is where you meet Blaze, the newest addition to Purgatory. At the end of the opening section though, just like the old ‘choose your own adventure’ books from the 70s, the reader decides where the journey will take Blaze and which author to follow. This, as the introduction puts it, truly is an “interactive shared-world zombie anthology”
When Blaze wakes up to find himself dead, it’s a bit of a surprise; so is the sulphuric wasteland he finds himself in. In the strange new world, he meets Bones and Scrubs, two men who explain that he died in the real world, waking up with lost memories to find himself in a sort of twisted Hunger Games. It’s kill or be killed, but the more bodies he kills, the more the hunger abates and the better chance he has of leaving Purgatory to go – well, could be Heaven, could be Hell. He doesn’t know. But at least his two new companions might have the answers he’s looking for.
At the end of stage one it’s time to make your choice, and damn it’s a difficult one. Who do you choose? Aurelius Rico Lopez III, Tonia Brown, Alex Laybourne, Joe Mynhardt, Armand Rosamilia or Joe McKinney.
I chose ‘Only the Dead Go Free’ by Joe McKinney, as I absolutely love his ongoing Dead World Series. This man knows zombies.
It starts with Blaze making the first of his choices, struggling with his lost memories as he heads towards the Common and the Gatherers (dark souls, more fearsome than the zombies who shamble through the arid land).
Boy, what a journey! There isn’t much I can say for fear of giving spoilers, but this particular ride was fast-paced, pulsing with adrenaline and in turns shocking. The end was superlative. It’s my intention every month or so to choose a different ending and enjoy Blaze’s story anew but a varied resolution. This book is pure genius and I hope Mynhardt decides to do another choose your adventure book within a different genre. Great stuff.