DeRaps Reads pointing me towards The Forest of Hands and Teeth, by Carrie Ryan and spinning out from there. It's a somewhat limited genre, unfortunately, and so after Rot and Ruin, The Forest of Hands and Teeth trilogy and Cherie Priests Clockwork Century books (Boneshaker and Dreadnought), I was out of ideas. So the hubby did his research and came up with Kim Paffenroths Dying to Live, and gave it to me for Valentines day.
A fairly typical zombie story line, Dying to Live follows Jonah Cain as he struggles to survive in a world where he's wildly outnumbered by the dead, he's lost all his friends and family, and there doesn't seem any point to survival. Much has been said about how this is the thinking mans zombie book, and it is Paffenroths main contribution to the genre (amusing side note- Kim Roth is a professor of religious studies).
Much more grizzly and intense then the YA zombie books I've read to-date as well as Cherie Priests books, Dying to Live really got into the grittier aspects of a world full of zombies. Think 28 Days Later and you'll have a general idea of what I mean. Any post-apocalyptic story is better when they aren't afraid to pull punches, as Suzanne Collins clearly showed, it makes it far more believable then a bunch of good looking people, dressed well, pulling matrix moves and facing off against hordes successfully as if they'd been doing it all their lives.
The philosophical debates and thoughts in the book were particularly interesting, and played really nicely against some of the more horrifying aspects. On some levels I suspect this worked mostly because the mains are somewhere around forty or over, any younger and the characters would lack the world experience to see things the same way.
Hybrid Milton was my especially favorite character, the tie up of his story made me really want a sequel, of which there seems to have been two (from what I can gather from Amazon, Kim Paffenroth only has a blog and not a convenient web page). I would happily drop into this world again, it was tough, no nonsense and an overall enjoyable post-apocalyptic tale, if a bit more gruesome then average (so be warned, faint of heart!).
Dying to Live, a novel of life among the undead, by Kim Paffenroth
Published by Gallery Books, September 2010 (paperback)
Check out Kim Paffenroth's blog
Buy Dying to Live on Amazon