‘The Undertakers – Rise of the Corpses’ is not your average horror novel. It’s dark and haunting like most horror stories, but what really makes it stand out is how it mixes in drama, mystery, action and a bit of romance and science fiction. With its terrifying twists and monstrous antagonists it never loses focus of how serious the story is. This makes it a brilliant and satisfying book for any fan of horror and the zombie apocalypse genre.
The story is as thought provoking as Night of the Living Dead and as entertaining as the likes of Zombieland and Shaun of the Dead. While it lacks the humour of those films or the genuine horror of a Stephen King novel what makes it scary is how seriously the characters take the creatures known as Corpses which aren’t conventional zombies, but rather aliens which possess dead bodies. These guys are intelligent, fast, and very strong which makes them more formidable than your regular zombie and also dangerous opponents for The Undertakers. The most interesting part about The Undertakers is they are the only ones who can see through the Corpses ability to make themselves look human which makes them the only ones who can fight the Corpses. That is what I think is called a well thought out story along the lines of the Saga of Darren Shan. In my opinion though this books tale of Corpses and leaving a normal life behind easily beats the Saga of Darren Shan’s story about vampires, war and time travel.
The characters are all well developed and form a sort of connection with the reader because of how likeable and unlikable they can be. The main protagonist, Will Ritter is by far the best character. Making tough decisions, new friends, and risking his life many times he is a truly excellent narrator and leader when his friends find themselves in dangerous situations. Some of the other Undertakers who are introduced over the course of the story become flat out cool by the end of the book. Tom, the chief of The Undertakers actually competes with Will in terms of how great a character he is. Some of Will’s friends such as Dave and Helene bring real emotional depth when they are in the same scene as Will. The big villain of the book known as Kenny Booth becomes more and more nasty as the story progresses and by the end when he finally meets his demise the reader will have come to really dislike the guy for all the things he’s done to antagonize The Undertakers.
The action is all pretty incredible and well spread out so that it doesn’t damage the plot or get bogged down by the amount of talking that goes on before hand. It is interesting to note that all these scenes stay quite tense and at times become very violent without having blood and guts going all over the place in a similar manner to some old horror films such as John Carpenter’s Halloween which had very little blood in it. The defining moment of action comes at the end during the climax where Tom faces Booth in an awesome final showdown which comes after a rather elaborate rescue by Will who goes through hell to save Helene from the Corpses.
All in all ‘The Undertakers – Rise of the Corpses’ is a fantastic book and is also both interesting and fun to read. Brilliantly written by Ty Drago, with great characters, an edgy story and many grim twists, this is a highly recommendable novel and one of the best I’ve read in a long time.
Ty Drago’s ‘The Undertakers – Rise of the Corpses’, was published by Sourcebooks Inc., April 2011.