It's a little hard to categorize this novel. Apocalyptic--check. Post apocalyptic--check. Zombie--yup. Or are they Vampires? Certainly the monsters in this novel are different than your garden variety zombie/vampire/werewolf lit!
Jeanie, a complex young woman, and her best bud Ben, have just arrived in Paris for a New Year's blowout bash. When they wake up, hung over and feeling crummy on New Year's Day, they find the world has gone to Hell. Now they must survive Paris if they have a hope of returning to the U.S. and their families.
We never discover the certain source of the worlds end in this novel. Comet strikes, nuclear missiles, aliens, it's all just speculation. And the source of the monsters, again, completely unknown. The monsters even change and evolve throughout the book, and all this uncertainty builds suspense.
My thoughts on The Undying were equally uncertain. At one point, I almost stopped reading, but I couldn't develop a clear reason why I didn't want to finish the book. It wasn't slow or lagging, the protagonist was a great character, and her conflicts were often unique and quite interesting. Honestly, the only thing I could come up with....Ugly American that I am, was the frequent use of the French language. I know....I KNOW! The book is set in France, what the hell else would they speak??? Totally unreasonable of me. Totally. And that was weird. I wasn't bothered in the least when Japanese was spoken frequently in Shogun. The use of Spanish in novels isn't worrisome either. I usually like trying to figure out what they're all saying. So I really don't know what the hell my problem was with French. Maybe it was that many of the French characters were so quick to dismiss Jeanie derisively as "et Americain". I did wonder if these French characters were pandering to our American stereotype of the French. Heck, maybe I'm the epitome of an American stereotype to the French. Then I wondered if stereotypes exist for a reason....hmmm....circular thinking makes my brain hurt...
The book ends in a kind of "non ending " fashion, not completely satisfying, but leading me to wonder if the author has plans for sequels. And many sequels could come from this. I would be interested to know what was happening in the United States during all this, especially to Jeanie's mother, and Ben's family. The book refers to events in Brazil, which would make a good book as well. And of course, I'd love to see how/if/when the world rebuilds from this disaster. Or what the genesis of the disaster is for that matter!
I'm glad I stuck with the book, it was a solid and satisfying read. And I really do hope that this is the beginning of a series. I do love a good series, and I think The Undying is begging for a sequel. If you're a fan of post-apocalyptic novels, with strong female leads, this one should go on your "To Be Read" pile!
(Review copy provided by Simon & Shuster, via Net Galley. Opinions provided by yours truly!)