Maria’s Review of Daryl Banner’s The Beautiful Dead


This book first came to my attention when one of my favorite authors posted a link and said it looked good. I read the synopsis and thought, wow, that sounds really unique! And coming up on Halloween, I decided a zombie book was just the thing I needed!

I really, really enjoyed this book!! Daryl Banner has a terrific, dark, sarcastic sense of humor, that kept me laughing out loud, even when I was terrified and disgusted…even when I was shocked and saddened…the humor totally carried me through the book! And the writing is very strong! There are so many quotable lines in this book, but I am terrible about pausing to highlight, so I can’t actually quote many (I know, I know…my reviews would be so much better if I could remember to do this!! I am working on it!!), but there was one that really got me – really spoke to me where I have been living for the past year. The heroine is about to go face the villains, greatly outnumbered and seemingly at an insurmountable disadvantage, and she says “I am weak, afraid, and ready to die for good.” Love it.

I really liked Winter. She wakes up in this “undead” existence, with no clue who she is, where she came from, how she came to be, or even what she is, and she’s clearly not thrilled, but she’s not a whiner either. I totally understood her reactions, and her thoughts, and I felt her emotions with her! I also kept reminding myself that a man wrote this…I don’t read many books written by men, because I often don’t relate to them well, but Daryl’s female voice is right on! 🙂 The male characters were just a tad underdeveloped for me, but that’s really because I want some serious romance in any book, and while there is a little here, it is certainly not the focus of the story. So there you have one reason this gets 4 stars rather than 5 – it’s hard for a book (no I’d say it’s impossible) to break into 5 star territory for me without a STRONG romance component…this is totally a personal preference issue.

The only other issue I had was a nit-picky inner editor who wanted to get out a red pen occasionally. Daryl’s writing is strong, imagery is great, story is excellent, and characters are relate-able, but (as with many independently published books)the final product could have used one more go-over by an OCD beta-reader. I know these small issues don’t bother many readers, but they pull me out of the story and are a pet peeve, so I have to mention them.

I’m not really a super-fan of zombie books, but I’ve read a few, and this one was very unpredictable for me! Every time I thought I had a handle on what was going on there was a new twist that left me spinning right along with Winter (the heroine)and I really enjoyed that off-kilter feeling! The tone of the book changes a couple of times, which is hard to explain without spoilers, but I’ll try. In the first few chapters I was reading along happily thinking “oh, this is pretty tame, not too scary, I can handle this…” and then suddenly there is a shift and I was huddled under my blankets eyes squinted almost closed, nose wrinkled in disgust, jumping at every sound thinking “Why the HELL am I reading this??? It’s WAY to gross and scary!!!”…and then a while later I was excitedly reading as fast a possible, because I just HAD to know what happened next and thinking “YES, go, do that…WAIT, NOOOOOO…Omigosh get them…” – you get the point! LOL!! It never let me get too comfortable, and that was fun!

Overall, I was VERY pleasantly surprised by this smart, funny, unpredictable novel, and I am looking forward to reading Daryl’s other books!

Click the cover to buy from Amazon!!


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