The White Trash Zombie series is one of my favorites in audio. Rowland’s writing and McLemore’s narration are a perfect match. In this sixth installment, Angel Crawford pits herself against the ambitious and narcissistic scientist, Kristi Charish, to stop the spread of a zombie epidemic and find a cure. And along the way, she makes herself some new pets—zombie gators!
Title: White Trash Zombie Unchained
Author: Diana Rowland
Series: White Trash Zombie, Book 06
Publish Date: September 4, 2017, Audible Studios
Genre: Urban fantasy
Narrator: Allison McLemore
Cover: Tony Mauro
Publisher’s Description: Angel Crawford has finally pulled herself together (literally!) after her disastrous dismemberment on Mardi Gras. She’s putting the pieces of her life back in order and is ready to tackle whatever the future holds.
Too bad the future is a nasty bitch. There’s a new kind of zombie in town: mindless shamblers, infectious and ravenous.
With the threat of a full-blown shambler pandemic looming, and a loved one stricken, Angel and the “real” zombies scramble to find a cure. Yet when Angel uncovers the true reason the plague is spreading so quickly, she adds “no-holds-barred revenge” to her to-do list.
Angel is busting her ass dealing with shambling hordes, zombie gators, government jerks, and way too many mosquitos, but this white trash chick ain’t giving up.
Good thing, since the fate of the world is resting on her undead shoulders.
Possible spoilers beyond this point.
Invested Ivana says…
OMG, I love this series! Listening to it makes me giddy. I feel a series reread coming on. 🙂
Angel Crawford has come a long way from the pill-popping loser she was at the beginning of book 1. She’s drug-free, has a good relationship with her dad, excels at her job, is going back to school for a degree, has made some true friends, and is instrumental in protecting the zombies in her community.
So when it appears she accidentally creates a new batch of mindless, shambling zombies, she feels pretty bad about it. The whole town seems to be turning into shamblers—including Nick, her co-worker, friend, and perhaps more. In order to save Nick and everyone else, Angel has to figure out what the evil Dr. Charish is up to and help her own scientists find a cure.
I love that Rowland has Angel still battling with her self-esteem. Behind the zombie science and outrageous situations, Angel’s story is really one of reclaiming herself, working hard to drag herself up from poverty and substance abuse to have a full and productive life and role in her community. When a person’s life starts in poverty and tragedy, there’s a mentality that never really goes away, regardless of how far they may have come. Rowland doesn’t let it dominate the story or beat the readers over the head with it, but it’s there in Angel’s thoughts about herself and her limits. It’s great to see her work through it productively in this book, and it makes her a role-model, of sorts.
Unchained gets top marks from me. This installment seems to be a turning point in the series, and I’m very excited to see what happens next (particularly with the zombie gators!). I can’t recommend this series enough, especially if you enjoy audiobooks. The narration is such a treat.
Our reviews in this series…
- White Trash Zombie Gone Wild, Book 05
Check out the Adventures of Owl and Kincade Strange series by the real, and not evil, Kristi Charish. If you haven’t read it yet, the Sookie Stackhouse series is about another Southern gal put in outrageous situations.
Will Angel go back to her life of drug addiction or stay on the straight and narrow? I’ve been waiting for what feels like a long time to find out!
Publisher’s Description: Angel Crawford has buried her loser past and is cruising along in undead high gear—that is, until a murder-by-decapitation sends her on a hazardous detour. As Angel hunts for the killer, she uncovers a scheme that would expose zombies to the public and destroy the life she’s built, and she’s determined not to rest until she finds out who’s behind it.
Soon she’s neck-deep in lies, redneck intrigue, zombie hunters, and rot-sniffing cadaver dogs. It’s up to her to unravel the truth and snuff out the conspiracy before the existence of zombies makes headline news and she’s outed as a monster.
But Angel hasn’t quite escaped the pill-popping ghosts of her past—not with an illicit zombie pharmaceutical at her fingertips. Good thing she’s absolutely sure she can handle the drug’s unpredictable side effects and still take down the bad guys…or maybe she’s only one bad choice away from being dead meat—for real this time.
Angel knows a thing or two about kicking ass, but now the ass she needs to kick might be her own.
THERE WILL BE SPOILERS. BE WARNED.
For fifteen months, I have been incredibly anxious about the fate of Angel Crawford. When we last saw Angel, she was in her car shooting up with a zombie combat mod–a drug to enhance performance in combat–she had left over from the rescue mission in New York.
Angel has worked so hard to get free of drugs and get a life she feels is worth living. She has a good job, supportive friends, is going to school, is getting along great with her dad… and yeah, zombie, but it’s manageable. I was SOOOOOOO worried that she’d start slipping back into a drug habit and lose all she’s been working toward.
And she does screw up pretty badly. In an attempt to keep herself supplied with the drug, she puts Phillip, her zombie-baby with a damaged parasite, at great risk, along with her relationship with the Clan, the lab, the morgue, and her dad. Though I’m not typically a nervous reader (that’s Nell’s job), I will tell you that though she screws up, Angel gets it right in the end and I am so relieved!
In addition to dealing with her backslide into addiction, Angel also has to deal with being hunted, of course. The evil Dr. Kristi Charish is once again trying to get Angel captured or killed for her own nefarious purposes. And all of this is happening during a huge Zombie-fest celebrating the launch of the movie that was being filmed in Angel’s hometown two books ago–High School Zombie Apocalypse!!!. I really like that Rowland brought the movie back around into the story; it’s a nice bit of continuity.
I have to say, Allison McLemore does an amazing job narrating this series. I love her voices for Angel, her dad, Nick, and all the others. She does a great job of making each character a unique voice so I can keep them straight in my head. I really need to find out what else she narrates.
If you’re a frequenter of this site, the name Kristi Charish might ring a bell with you. The *real* Dr. Kristi Charish is not evil at all (well, maybe just a little). She is, in fact, the author of Owl & the Japanese Circus and Owl and the City of Angels—books Nell and I just reviewed a while ago. Kristi consulted with Diana on some of the sciencey-zombie stuff in series (see, just a *little* evil), and so made her way into the White Trash Zombie novels as a character.
Speaking of things related to White Trash Zombie books (at least in my head), I have to take just a minute to mention the TV show iZombie. Have you watched it? It’s a great, great show, and I recommend it just as highly as I recommend the White Trash Zombie series. It is also about a white-haired female zombie who works in a morgue to get brains; but the story is significantly different. I will admit, I was SUPER indignant on Diana’s behalf when advertisements for this show first appeared… until I did my homework. iZOMBIE is actually a comic book started in 2010 (prior to Angel’s first book), and then adapted for the small screen in 2014. However, the protagonist in the original comic was a grave digger, not a morgue tech, so I still have to wonder who influenced whom.
If you like this book…
…you might try the rest of the series, of course. And iZombie. I haven’t read many other zombie protagonist stories, but I know there are some out there, like the Amanda Feral series by Mark Henry, the Hessian Mann series by Stephen Petrucha, the Dan Shamble series by Kevin J. Anderson, or Braineater Jones by Stephen Kozeniewski. Vahn will be reviewing Braineater Jones next week, so stay tuned!
Publisher’s Description: Demon summoner Kara Gillian is on the wrong side of the law, and there’s evidence to prove it. Too bad the courts don’t accept “fighting demonic forces” as justification for murder and mayhem.
Yet Kara has problems that go way beyond her legal woes. When the enemy demonic lords spur their human accomplices into high gear, master summoner Katashi aggressively pursues their goal to establish a permanent gate between Earth and the demon realm. To hell with the consequences for humanity.
The line between ally and enemy blurs as Kara gathers the remnants of her posse to prevent a devastating demonic incursion, but a shattered trust may cost them the war and put Kara behind bars. With treachery rife, and her loved ones in danger, Kara must call upon the essence of who she truly is in order to rally back from a crushing loss.
And if she can’t, the world is going straight to hell.
Nervous Nellie’s nervousness necessitates knowledge of the novel (in other words, SPOILERS!).
”You are going to straight up sh*t a cat sideways.” OR “Rednecks vs. Demons”
Nervous Nellie says…
Main characters: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ Kara Gillian is still recovering from the horrendous devastation that happened in the last book when the Mraztur tried to create a permanent gate between worlds. She is attempting to avoid being implicated in Faroche’s murder and keep the people she loves safe. She is also trying to re-establish the bond between herself and Mzatal. Mzatal is trying to keep the plexus in the demon world from blowing apart because if the demon world collapses so does the human world.
Other characters: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ Pellini is quite a focal character in this story. It’s amazing what we learn. The Qzatal are all involved in more manipulation and furthering their own agendas-uh, duh, that’s what they do – they are demons. Szerain has broken free of Ryan and appears to have left Zach to fade away into nothingness after all Zach had done for Szerain. Idris figures out his relation with Kara – which I am sure will come into play further along in the next book. Rhyzkahl (the ass) has lost his ptarl (Zach) and is now nearly powerless. He is still his devious self, but his stalkerish obsession with Kara is still in the forefront of this mind and the story. If he could just manipulate her just right… his plans would materialize.
World: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ The contemporary world and the demon world are very well defined. The places are described with detail and sometimes the pictures are so vivid in my head, it’s just like a movie. The terminology is a little daunting, but if you’ve read all of the Kara Gillian books, you are more likely to understand — plus if you are stuck, the author provides a nice little index that can help you research this world. Kara’s arcane power, the potency of the nexus, the stabilization of the plexus that keeps both worlds from being destroyed, are all linked together. Everything has a meaning and all is wrapped up in mystery and secrets.
Story: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ Another betrayal — this one didn’t hurt me as much as the one a few books back. Maybe because I’ve reconciled myself to the fact that no one is who they seem to be and no matter how hard I try, I cannot predict the endings to these stories. There are a few questions answered as more information is released and more information is held back to taunt us. There is a hugely emotional scene between Mzatal and Kara (yes, I admit I cried for them and the sacrifices that they have to make) that I bookmarked because the writing was so very good. The only thing that is keeping me holding on to this series is the fact that the scene in question is so heart wrenchingly hard to bare that Kara and Mzatal HAVE to be rewarded in the end. They just HAVE to be! Zach and Jill’s child is born and she will be a force that the author tends to leave open ended as to whether or not she is good or evil (Yes! Yes! I remember they are demons! *echoing words from Ivana’s warning*). Szerain appears to be manipulating Zach, though I’m not sure if it’s voluntary or not. They could have a plan they hatched out within the last 15 years to do what? I don’t know… foil the evil demons… wait… they are demons. Crap. Well, then, Zach could be coerced by Szerain into doing what he does so his family is left in peace? Do demons even know what peace is? Mzatal and Szerain could be working together to get the Qzatal to abandon their plans. There are endless scenarios and we could play this game all day long. There is more reference to the twelfth demon lord. Is it Zach’s child? Is it Kara? Again, game. All day long. The only hint that we may have is, “The twelfth is a radical game changer…”
Overall: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ This was a one-sitting book. I started it and could not stop even though I kept telling myself ‘only one more chapter’. Those of you who, like me, need to know about the ending will appreciate that there isn’t EXACTLY a cliffhanger, but the story does end so it may be picked up in the next book. There are so many schemes on top of plots, with intricate maneuvering running underneath. This series is a series that is really worth reading. It’ll have you pondering it well after you have finished with the last page and it’ll have you coming back for more because whether you like it or not, you’ll just HAVE TO know!
If you like this book…
No promotional consideration was granted for this review.