Quiver


by Jason Fischer

Reviewed by Scott T. Barnes


I greatly enjoy zombie movies, everything from Night of the Living Dead through Resident Evil and everything in between. So I was surprised to realize, when picking up Jason Fischer's Quiver, that this is the first zombie book that I have ever read.

The book brought something to light that I have never before noticed from all the gore-drenched films I'd watched growing up--zombies do not make very good villains. I'm not implying that I didn't enjoy Quiver. My realization came because Quiver correctly focuses on the human reactions to a zombie apocalypse rather than on the zombies themselves. Zombies are in fact a force to push people to the breaking point, equivalent to a sinking Titanic, a horde of orcs, or an infernoing tower.

The book follows Tamsyn Webb, a teenage girl from rural England whose life is brutally upended when the country is torn apart by a zombie apocaplyse. Along with a handful of other survivors, she guards the small town of Gravesend against random zombies, ever hoping to welcome survivors into their sanctuary. But some zombies appear to retain a certain intelligence, a certain memory, or at the very least a killer instinct. And the town's relative safety won't last for long.

A message comes from America, "We have a cure." But how to get there? And can the message be trusted?

Okay, I don't think I'm giving much away by saying that the town soon gets overrun and Tamsyn travels about, searching for survivors, safety, and a solution to the zombie scourge, along the way engaging in some brutally fun action. After all, zombies are already dead, so we're actually relieved when Tamsyn digs a claw-hammer into their skills and tears outward. She meets diverse survivors trying to cope in their own ways, from banditry to isolationism. Each feels completely justified in his or her methodology., no matter how inhumane. With some justification.

Tamsyn's age and archery skills will draw inevitable comparisons with Katniss Everdeen. While I loved The Hunger Games (see my analysis on my G+ account), I have to say I would rather spend an afternoon with Tamsyn than Katniss. Tamsyn is far more optimistic. She is competent, funny, determined-but-vulnerable, and very believable. The kind of girl I would have given up my entire comic book collection for, for a single date.

I love the book's title. It comes from a quiver of arrows, of course, but implies so much more. I can just picture naked living-dead flesh quivering as the zombies shamble forward, and the quiver that goes up Tamsyn's spine as she nocks her arrow...

Overall, if you like zombie movies you'll enjoy Quiver.