Dead: Fortunes & Failures is the third installment in the Dead series by TW Brown. He did a great job of recapping prior events through flashback memories of the characters reminiscing about their survival experiences, but I strongly recommend revisiting the first two novels if you have the time.
In Dead: Ugly Beginning, the first book in this series, a guy named Steve reflects back on the beginning of a zombie outbreak. The POV switched between various individuals and groups, but the shifts were easy to follow, despite the large cast, which included Juan Hoya, who’d been living in his car for eight months before the outbreak reached him, a group of geeks: Mike, Kevin, and Cary – online friends who created a survival plan that fell apart pretty quickly, and Ian, who was trapped initially trapped in his prison cell, and eventually parted ways with the other inmates. The book had ended with a huge cliffhanger.
In the second book, Dead: Revelations, there were fewer main characters to keep track of, due to the zombie hordes, and a nut-job militia group led by a man named Shaw. A pattern emerged between the multiple survivor groups; connections from their former lives, as well as Shaw’s group becoming the main threat for the area. The survivors also discovered more about the nature of the zombie virus, such as immunity to bites.
I thought Dead: Fortunes & Failures would be released close enough to Revelations that I would remember all the storylines, but I still had trouble recalling who was doing exactly what at the end of the second book. Many of the groups that were split up unexpectedly reunite in the third book, but not without some losses and drastic changes in their survival methods.
While Garrett is still torturing his “toy,” and the Jennifer-zombie is still wandering around, the other groups face some major changes in Fortunes & Failures. Steve’s group has to figure out who is murdering members of their group, and they suspect it’s one of their own. Juan’s group is attempting to fortify their island, but clash with another group that seeks refuge there. The “Geek” group joins forces with Peter’s group of escapees from The Basket, and Shaw decides to hunt them down himself. There are several pregnancies that complicate the living situation in some of the groups, and everyone is questioning how the apocalypse has changed them. Many are worried they are headed down an unredeemable path.
I was hoping that if enough characters were killed one way or another, it would get easier to follow the changes in the POV, but Brown introduces a few new survivors. I would say that it keeps the number of main characters at about the same count as Revelations. If Brown adds anymore people, I sincerely hope he includes a character guide because it’s getting that complicated!
Regardless of the number of ongoing storylines in Fortunes & Failures, this is definitely the best of the three Dead books, which leads me to believe that the next installment will be even better.