The best zombie books (audio)

The best zombie books (audio)

The zombie mania exploded into a rich genre that refuses to die, just like zombies. With unique concepts and old ideas breathing life again to readers, the array of sub-genres is wide enough to feed even the most skeptic of Zombie aficionados. Here are our favorite zombie apocalypse books with unique spins to traditional zombie stories and a better understanding of why our beloved characters do what they have to do. Enjoy!

Patient Zero by Jonathan Maberry 

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Length: 12 hours 34 mins

Patient Zero is one of those book reviewers and readers shy away from devouring after a mediocre adaptation, which isn’t fair on the author and book. Granted there are a few uninspiring dialogues, Patient Zero holds its own and is good for what it is. Jonathan Maberry injects life into the book with a strong cast of characters, intense cliffhangers, and well-written zombie-killing action.

Joe Ledger, a hardened Baltimore detective, leads a secret response team (DMS) to stop terrorists from infecting people with a terrible bio-weapon that, essentially, turns them into zombies. Joe kills a guy during a raid, and to his shock, he reanimates as a zombie the next day, and now Joe is expected to kill him a second time. The world’s fate hangs in the balance. It’s a fast-paced military-style zombie book that any zombie fan will enjoy.

The Rising by Brian Keene 

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Length: 11 hours 16 mins

Brian King’s The Rising is one of the best-selling books of the zombie genre of all time, highly regarded by the masses. It was credited alongside Robert Kirkman’s The Walking Dead comic and Danny Boyle’s 28 Days Later film for influencing pop culture’s current zombie interest and zombie survival fiction.

This zombie story treks the emotional and physical journey of the most well-developed character in the book, Jim Thurmond, fighting his way through a zombie apocalypse, searching for his lost son. No one is spared the horror of the world collapsing, and there’s a nice mix of undead and living motivation. He’s joined by a few other surviving friends on the rescue mission to fight the living, the living dead, and a far greater evil awaits them.

It’s one of the hardest-hitting and most graphic zombie novels that brilliantly portrays the tale of man’s perseverance against astronomical odds. Curiously, Keene injects some form of motivation and purpose behind the rising dead. They can plan their main course from well done to medium-rare, and the return of the deceased is eagerly awaited. The characters are fascinating and well worth your reading. Can we talk about the mind-bending cliffhanger? This novel is the first in a zombie book series and one of the best zombie stories written. City of the Dead fans will enjoy this book.

World War Z: An Oral History of the Zombie War by Max Brooks

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Length: 6 hours 00 mins

As is with most apocalyptic situations, the most challenging part to deal with is that there are no wrong decisions or right decisions if your ultimate goal is to survive. The most meticulously planned strategies can still fail. You make the decisions you can and then hope for a bit of luck. Whatever decision you make, you must think about the long game and the short game. The short game, the immediate concerns, involve food, water, and shelter. And they both come into play when trying to figure out how to avoid becoming zombie chow.

This zombie book takes the investigative approach where Max Brooks collects all the acid-etched first-hand survivor experiences worldwide to show how cultures reacted differently to the apocalypse. World War Z is the only documentation of the pandemic, and it’s told in vivid haunting voices of witnesses to the outbreak. Some emerged victoriously, some didn’t, and for some, the zombie apocalypse still haunts them. The men and women may have seemingly defeated the zombies, but at what cost? It conveys the depth of tragedy, fear, and the unwavering resilience of the human spirit.

Here zombies are not necessarily the story; they form part of the story. Max Brooks goes beyond the concept of zombies and focuses more on how people survived the collapse of civilization, giving the human dimension such a massive scope. If the movie adaptation spoilt the story for you is as solid as it gets. It’s one of the best post-apocalyptic thoughtful horror books around.

Warm Bodies by Isaac Marion 

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Length: 8 hours 00 mins

The story follows the zombie man, R, who meets a human woman, Julie. He has no identity, no memories, and no pulse, but he has dreams. She’s the opposite of everything he knows – warm, blast of color, and very much alive. One thing’s for sure, R is a little different from his fellow undead. He impulsively saves Julie instead of eating her, kickstarting a tense, sweet, and strange relationship. With Julie promising to help, he is determined to defy logic and yearns to breathe again like ordinary people. But not without a fight.

R narrates this wistful love story revealing sad, intense, and disturbing feelings as he comes to terms with the magnitude of actions. Isaac Marion astonishingly writes R’s plight in a way that you sometimes suspend a fair amount of disbelief, laugh at his humor, and understand his severe conflictions and desire for dignity and tenderness. The gentle sentiment is refreshing for any reader used to the aggressive nature and visceral feedings of human flesh.

Some of the best zombie books have featured them in prominent roles, and Warm bodies is definitely a brilliant addition to the canon of non-typical intelligent zombie novels. What makes such books phenomenal and moving is the fundamental questions they raise about humans and humanity’s nature, and the presence of zombies appears incidental. Check out its sequel, The Burning World. 

Girl With All The Gifts by M.R. Carey 

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Length: 13 hours 04 mins

The Girl With All The Gifts, atranslation of the name Pandora, references Greek myth. At the center of the story is Melanie, a 10-year-old special girl, obsessed with the heroic tales of fighting monsters and overthrowing titans who ruled the world. She’s special in the sense that she’s a zombie with a genius-level intellect that helps her think, reason and even love in the middle of a zombie apocalypse. Later freed from a windowless bunker, she now has to face other ruthless human survivors who either want her alive, dead, or dissected. 

Comic books veteran Mike R Carey, writing under a pseudonym here, has mastered the art of crafting unsettling stories that call the concepts of evil and monsters into question. He even calls zombies hungries. Flexing his talent on full display, Crey keeps the reader guessing combining intense cliffhangers with flashes of horrifying unsettling imagery of the world’s future. He takes the narrative in new directions through his post-apocalyptic setting while still displaying how the world would react in the first days after a zombie outbreak.

My Life as a White Trash Zombie by Diana Rowland 

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Length: 9 hours 05 mins

The series follows zombie Angel Crawford’sjourney as she transforms into a zombie. Angel is a high school drop-out high on pills and after who wakes up in a hospital with distorted memories and the unfortunate opportunity to find out what it’s like to be a zombie. She doesn’t remember what happened; they say she overdosed. To add to the weirdness, she then receives an anonymous letter offering her a job at the Parish morgue, which she mustn’t turn down. Her new job at the morgue comes with a new addiction – an intense craving for human brains. Angel will have to grow up fast if she wants to keep this job. Because if she doesn’t stay in one piece, she’s dead meat.

Diana Rowland keeps an enthralling flow and pace to the story. The humor moments are timely and refreshing. Angel also shows a lot of growth throughout the book, which is a testament to how well Diana could develop a compelling character.

The Forest of Hands and Teeth by Carrie Ryan

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Length: 9 hours 31 mins

A unique tale that weaves romance into a zombie, and not like the traditional zombie fodder. Mary stays in a village surrounded by a fence and a forest known as the Forest of Hands and Teeth because right outside the gates is the living dead. Her village is trying to rebuild and keep off the zombies outside, backed by the village’s leaders, The Sisterhood. She’s uncovering truths hidden by The Sisterhood and, The Guardians who serve to protect. Drowning in her own chaos, she must choose between the village and her lover. Are there people on the other side of the fence?

Ryan elegantly crafts this page-turning story with many beautiful moments that drive the characters to think and reflect on life, love, and relationships. She puts an exciting spin on the zombie apocalypse, taking an intriguing stance on the way of life and the impact of zombies in the story. It’s lacking in zombie action and survival aspects but still… gripping. One of the best zombie books that anyone loves an interesting zombie story with elements of love and religion is guaranteed to enjoy reading.

Feedback by Mira Grant

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Length: 16 hours 36 mins

Feed is Mira Grant’s first book in the Newsflesh Trilogy series of Sci-Fi/horror novels. The zombie apocalypse took place more than twenty years ago. Not everyone died, mainly due to years of watching horror movies that told us how to behave when the dead start roaming. We fought back, and we won, or did we? The dead still roam, your loved ones even try to eat you if you’re not careful, and the deadly virus is still incurable. But at least we lived, right? Twenty years later, bloggers Georgia and Shaun Mason are on the brink of the story of lives – uncovering the dark conspiracy behind the infected. Would you risk your life in pursuit of information? The truth has to get out, even if it kills them.

It has occasional zombie action, but it speaks more to the rise of internet journalism, the right to information and free speech, espionage, and the far-reaching ramifications of a wide-spreading disease.

The Reapers Are the Angels by Alden Bell 

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Length: 7 hours 25 mins

The book revolves around a 15-year-old girl, Temple, who’s on the run from a killer. Haunted by her demons, she keeps to herself and sets on a personal journey towards salvation in a barren wasteland. She can’t remember life before the zombie stuff happened, except that an older man cared for her and the befallen younger brother. Will she fight off the zombies, or will she deal with the killer on her trail deadset on finishing her off?

Surrounded by imminent danger, death, and hope to set free, Temple’s character carries the story to a level only she could realize. Alden Bell does a perfect job creating such a self-sufficient, well capable, caring personality that zombie fans can’t help but empathize with to the very end. It’s gruesome, beautiful, lush, and one of the best zombie books to attempt to fuse genre with literature even in the wake of a zombie apocalypse.

Breathers: A Zombie’s Lament by S.G. Browne

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Length: 9 hours 16 mins

Breathers is a debut novel from S.G. Browne that perfectly blends horror with a fair amount of romance and black comedy. Will the book give rise to a romantic zombie comedy sub-genre? We’ll have to wait and see. For now, feast on Breathers. 

Meet Andy Warner, a newly minted zombie, still lamenting the loss of his family, friends, and society and with a bit of trouble adjusting to his new existence. All that changes at an Undead Anonymous meeting when Andy meets fellow zombies who help make his transition much more manageable. Complete with learning the joys of eating human flesh. It gets messy.

Tell us, what are the most recent books you’ve read that you’d consider the best zombie?