Years ago the world fell to the zombie menace, but the small town of Snareville managed to band together with a few other small Illinois towns to keep the hordes at bay. These brave men and women have come to a normalcy with their lives but a new threat may shatter everything they’ve created.
The man who previously pissed this zombie off by giving away way too many anti-zombie ideas is back again with yet more ideas. Why don’t you just come put the freaking bullet in my head Youngquist? The first book was already a great look at how to survive a zombie apocalypse and this addition just takes it that much further. As I stated the last time, it’s not like we have any intention of overrunning the world anytime soon, but eventually we’d like to and this series is just prepping humanity for that eventuality. It’s bad enough that by the time we do decide to get off our lazy undead asses and decide how best to subdue humanity we’ll most likely have to deal with lasers, and lightsabers, and probably terminators, scratch that, most definitely terminators, but Youngquist is showing humanity how to deal with us with simple, current technology. Maybe when the undead rise up we’ll be able to team up with the terminators, hmm, ideas are forming.
A year or so after the events of Snareville we find Danny Death and his raiders headed down to Savanna from their hometown to meet a man about mating some of their mares. It looks as though the town of Snareville is not only surviving but thriving years after the world as everyone knew it ended. Not just Snareville, but all the surrounding areas are beginning to rebuild little by little with small pockets restoring their towns, some coming together into an alliance while others choose to stick to being outside trading partners. While life is far from perfect with the hungry undead and the scavenging humans a constant hazard, the fact that a cure exists for those bitten has at least allowed for some small comfort. This same cure could be used to destroy entire swaths of zombies, but without a way to distribute it effectively it’s been impossible to use against the great hordes roaming the countryside. Enter Dave Wallace, the man Danny’s party was coming to meet and a former Lieutenant in the Chemical Weapons Division of the Army National Guard. He knows of some equipment they could use in the nearby town of Galesburg that would let them weaponize the cure into a gas that could be used against the zombies and wipe them out in greater numbers. There’s one problem though, Galesburg contains a very special zombie, King Frederick, a man whom became a member of the living dead but retained his mind, as fractured as might have become, and now controls the hordes surrounding him. A mad zombie King, roving bands of scavengers, and a desperate search for survivors, the people of Snareville thought they’d seen it all but the coming times will test them like never before.
Once again, David Youngquist has come out of the gates swinging with his sequel to Snareville, continuing to expand upon the sprawling world he created with his first installment in the series while reshaping and reimaging it into how world a few years into a zombie apocalypse would function. I can’t help but love how much thought was put into his world, not just imagination but actual thought about how such a world would function. You’re not going to get a much more realistic look at a world overrun by zombies than Snareville 2: Circles.
One of my favorite things from the first book was Youngquist’s attention to detail. He took the idea of what a town would need to do to survive and ran with it in a way I’d never seen done before. He looked into all the usual suspects, weapons, supplies, defenses, but went into detailed explanations about how it could be accomplished as our characters go about taking care of their small town. Then as the initial outbreak calmed down and the town was allowed some breathing room, he looked into some of the smaller details. How would a hospital run in such a situation? How would the children continue to get an education? How would a society restructure itself while still attempting civility? Even going so far as to add small expansions and eventually a military base that added electricity. That level of detail that made me such a fan of the original book is only expanded upon here. In the first book there was only Snareville and a few other smaller towns but with the sequel the world they know has grown and increased, turning into an alliance where towns trade and try to help each other out while sticking to a charter agreed upon by all members. An ever evolving society is created where things have taken on a more medieval system, something that our ancestors would have been rather comfortable with, minus the modern tech. He really doesn’t pull any punches on how that society would behave either. There are some things that people aren’t going to like, but that would more than likely be a fact of life in such a world as this one. There are just so many considerations Youngquist has looked into that no angle of a post-apocalyptic society seems untouched. What’s interesting is that you could take the zombies out of it and replace it with any plague and it would still work.
Of course he could have created the most accurate post-apocalyptic piece of literature ever written and it wouldn’t have mattered a bit if the book was full of stale characters. Thankfully that’s not the case. His characters are full of life and will suck you into the story as they struggle to survive everything thrown at them. Several favorites from the first book make their appearance once again and we are introduced to more than a few newcomers. While some will make just brief appearances before exiting the stage many of the major players will become characters you really care about, characters that you will root for as if they were real people. And not all them are going to make it. I’m not going to give a single hint as to who lives and who dies but I will say that I like the feeling that no one is safe.
The story itself is also truly engrossing. It pulls you in and keeps you firmly rooted in place until you’re done. The one complaint I have is that there isn’t a third book yet. There is a lot that goes on, don’t expect too many slow moments, but there is never so much going on that you aren’t able to keep track of the action. In fact, the story occasionally switches locations in the midst of that action, leaving you desperately wondering what’s coming next, but it always switches you back before you’ve lost track of their plight. It keeps things interesting while taking care not to lose your interest.
Snareville 2: Circles is a great sequel to its predecessor. It not only picks up at just the right moment but greatly expands upon their world. I can’t wait till the next addition.
The Undead Review
Written By: David Youngquist
Published By: Crossroad Press
Word Count: 333