This novel offers a lot for a great post-apocalyptic read that ties into the literary works of Dante Alighieri. While other writers have adapted literary works to include zombies humorously, Rachel Aukes instead spins an original tale that brings the reader along through the circles of hell, and captures the essence of the literary themes in her own telling.
100 Days in Deadland shouldn’t scare off readers of thrilling zombie works though. There is plenty of action to go around, a lot of gore and the story stands up as an entertaining read whether you care about the literary references or not. They are very tastefully implanted in the story, and it comes across as a natural part of the plot.
The pace of the novel is very well done. There are hardly any points in the story where the tale seems to lag for very long. Things are always happening that drive the characters to action. While Cash is a strong narrator, Clutch is what really drives this story. The hardened ex-military trucker serves as Cash’s guide through hell.
The only awkward moments are some of the early attempts at humor in the dialogue, which don’t quite hit the mark. They aren’t really funny enough to be entertaining, and don’t quite ring true. The scene in which Clutch escapes from Doyle was a bit cliche, the villain leaving the good guy in an easily escapable situation. And, it didn’t seem necessary or worthwhile to bring Doyle’s wife into it. But these moments are easily forgivable as the work stands up for the quality of the writing and storytelling nonetheless.
There is a second installment coming soon, and it will be exciting to see where this story goes now.