(I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a review).
(This review may contain spoilers).
I thought this book was a really interesting idea. While I’ve seen a lot of zombies in popular culture, I thought that the Estranged were a unique take on the zombie theme. And it was especially interesting that it took the form of an addiction… but I didn’t really see much evidence of Kalei’s reluctance about physical contact.
I did feel that the start of the book was really strong. I found Kalei really easy to relate to and empathise with… and her memories of what had happened to her family made her attempted crusade against the Estranged believable.
I would have liked to see a bit more of Kalei’s relationships with the other characters before she was infected. There were only a couple of short snippets of her life before and those made it harder for me to connect emotionally with some of the minor characters.
I liked a lot of the Estranged characters Kalei met, in particular Terin and Shenaia. Both of them were really intriguing characters and there was a lot of mystery surrounding them. I wasn’t actually sure any of them could be classed as ‘good’ characters, but I felt that the struggle they experienced with the darkness was detailed especially well.
I did feel that there was a lot that was glossed over. For instance, a lot of Kalei’s interactions with people weren’t mentioned until right before the character showed up at an important moment. And for all that Kalei was a police officer… I felt that she didn’t really put things together very well. Or make connections I felt she should have done.
I really liked the idea of the darkness in the nails and how they formed different patterns depending on the personality of the Estranged. I also really liked the descriptions of how the darkness worked… and how it was something the Estranged had to battle against.
Although I was left with more questions by the end of the book (and would have liked to know more of the history of the Estranged), I am curious enough to want to read the next book in the series, since this did end on something of a cliffhanger.