by Rachel Aukes
Deadland’s Harvest is the second installment of the Deadland saga. This zombie novel also parallels the work of Dante Alighieri, covering the seven deadly sins that are relayed in Purgatorio. Like the first book, this story follows the story of Cash on a journey through a zombie-ridden hell, along with her guide, Clutch.
I have to say, I enjoyed the sequel more than part one, and I enjoyed part one a lot. What I really enjoyed about book two is that the story focuses on the survivors against the undead instead of following a more traditional heroes vs. villains story. While there are certainly bad people in Deadland’s Harvest, the story isn’t hinged upon a single struggle. Instead, the story focuses on a sequence of various events and encounters that occur and push the characters to their limits, and force them to commit or face one of the seven deadly sins. All the events and struggles of the characters seem to be pushed along by the growing horde of undead.
While the author does a fine job of approaching the seven deadly sins, you can enjoy just reading this book and disregarding any and all relation to Purgatorio. There is a lot of creative original storytelling to be found here. Without the literary references, Deadland’s Harvest would still stand as a fine apocalyptic story. The main characters are well-rounded and relatable. They continue to grow and evolve as people throughout the series. The secondary character development could have been stronger for some characters. In one instance, a secondary character died but the character is mostly developed post-mortem, so the moment kind of fell a bit flat for me. Later in the story, another secondary character that was well-developed died, and that moment was intense and emotional.
Still, I’d call this series a must-read for any fan of zombie fiction. It’s a well-polished story, with a great plot, and strong character development. If you haven’t yet, get started with the first book in this series, 100 Days in Deadland. Really looking forward to finishing this trilogy with the last installment, Deadland Rising.