AKLNDFLKND HOLY FUCKING GOD YOU GUYS, THIS WAS AMAZING. NO SERIOUSLY, I'M NOT EVEN BEING IRONIC RIGHT NOW THIS IS LEGIT EXCITE ENTHUSIASTIC CAPS TYPING. Seriously, I had begun to despair of ever finding a decent fucking Urban Fantasy book that didn't make me want to brick someone's face in, and thanks completely to Shiori's prodding, I got to read one. I GOT TO READ ONE. IT'S BEEN SO LONG. OH GOD I HAD FORGOTTEN WHAT LOVE WAS LIKE...My Life as a White Trash Zombie
puts the genre to shame. It puts 99.9% of this genre's protagonists to shame. It takes most other books' DRAMATIC APOCALYPTIC WORLD-END LOVE TRIANGLE stakes and just slaps into oblivion with REALITY (+zombies), and it is glorious
But if we don't get some structure up in this review, I will continue to rave like an inarticulate fangirl, so I'm going to do that horrifyingly twee "REASONS YOU SHOULD READ THIS BOOK" thing, and inarticulately fangirl in an ordered list. Ahem.
5 Reasons You Should Read My Life as a White Trash Zombie
1. Angel Crawford is Better Than
You Everything Else
Yeah, that's right, everything else
. Seriously, you try going through half the crap Angel has to deal with and see if you come out with a quarter of her spine.
There is a substance and tenacity to Angel that I almost never see in urban fantasy anymore. She doesn't have her shit together out of the box; in fact, her shit is all over the place, and the whole point of the book is that it's going to be a difficult task to get it in order, but that's the best part
. Angel's life is a challenge that she is damn well up to. She doesn't want anyone to rescue her or pity her or make things easy on her; her whole arc is about coming to realize her own worth, earning her place, her pride, and living her life on her own terms.
It's almost pathetically exciting to me that Angel has actual flaws
that are not being "clumsy" or a bad cook or "too loyal", and that Rowland isn't afraid to get all up in your face with them. Yeah, she's popping pills and hanging out with a drug dealer and generally fucking up AND SHE'S STILL THE HEROINE, SUCK IT! Angel has no self-esteem, no ambition, very little self-control, and she's made a lot of bad decisions, but she's not shamed or vilified or made to seem lesser for any of that. She overcomes
it. I think the defining difference between WTZ
and SO MANY OTHER BOOKS HERE LET ME JUST POINT TO LIKE THE ENTIRE GENRE is that the narrative actually acknowledges Angel's flaws, has Angel acknowledge her flaws, and then allows her to grow from them, whereas many other books just steadfastly refuse to acknowledge that they exist. I don't even know if I can accurately describe how satisfying that is.
The whopping cherry on top of this magical sundae is that, in allowing Angel to be responsible for herself, not once does the book sacrifice her intelligence, independence, or agency for the sake of the plot, or worse, romance. So there's no brain-bleeding TSTL action, no spunky agency
, and sweet mother of cabbage, no waiting around to get saved
Which brings me to my second point:
2. The Universe Does Not Revolve Around Penis
You know, about a quarter of the way into the story, I legit paused and thought, "There is something weird about this book. What is missing here?" And then I realized: there was a distinct lack of romantic penis presence. Angel was concentrating on her job and figuring out her zombie-ism, rather than spending every spare moment agonizing over whether or not some dude loved her.
HO. LY. SHIT.
Oh god, it's like the first breath of fresh air after crawling out of a sewer filled with the stank of insta!love and romantic angst and love triangles and men inextricably tied to plot resolution and destiny, and oh god, the air is so sweet up here, I never knew! This...this isn't a romance novel! It's just straight-up urban fantasy, where the heroine is the focus, and not just a vehicle to the hot, sexy mens!
I mean, yes, she does still have a boyfriend, and yes, there is also a love interest, but they are not at the center of the galaxy. They're out there on the edges, with like Uranus and Neptune*, hell, even Pluto! Angel encounters them occasionally, but even when she does, the interactions don't exist purely for the sake of sex or romance or angst; they're not just another predictable step stone on the road to forever and ever, amen. They're about Angel, and her relationships with the men in her life change as she develops and grows.
Which is FUCKING AWESOME.
*There is a slight caveat to this, but we'll get to that later.
You know what I loved about this book? Its scale. This isn't a wide-sprawling epic; Angel doesn't have to save the world, she isn't the Prophesied Messiah of Zombiekind. She wasn't plucked from her upper-middle-class life to become a Zombie Princess, nor was she trained from birth to be the Best Goddamn Zombie at What She Zombies. She is just a woman, who makes a few bad decisions one night in a bar, and happens to get turned into a zombie. A white trash zombie whose death inspires her to do some serious life-assessment...
Read full review at You're Killing.Us