I never heard of Jessica Meigs before The Becoming was released by Permuted Press…I just started hearing people talking about a zombie story that was written entirely on Blackberry. I can’t believe this is Meigs’ first novel!
As for the story itself, a handful of survivors form a loose-knit group as a virus spreads out from Atlanta. First people go crazy in the style of the infected from 28 Days Later, and develop characteristics like the infected in I Am Legend, but they reanimate after death like traditional zombies. Basically, Meigs creates a terrific mix of infected qualities, and terrorizes her readers with a hopeless situation…and her characters find themselves in one clusterfuck after another too. The survivors have to keep on the go, trying to stay ahead of the worst of the outbreak, or die. Cities are falling within hours; attempts at containment and quarantine are a fart in the wind.
The POV switches between the main characters, which include a US soldier, a cop, a former IDF soldier, a paramedic, and a couple others. Meigs kept the cast small, and it helped the story flow quickly, especially with the rotating narration that was easy to follow. The cop, Ethan, and his neighbor Cade, formerly of the IDF, are longtime friends that meet the soldier Brandt, who barely made it out of Atlanta. They flee Memphis, saving Theo the paramedic, and his brother Gray, after the original three have been on their own for over a month. The brothers provide some critical information about the infected, which convinces the group to haul ass to Biloxi.
At one point, Ethan decides to head back to Memphis to find out what happened to his wife, Anna, a nurse at the local hospital, which caught fire during the outbreak. As Ethan is making his way through his old neighborhood, he meets 14 yr old Nikola. While the two try to survive long enough to get to the hospital to see if anyone or anything is left, the other four survivors pick up a radio plea for help from a woman named Remy, trapped in an RV and surrounded by infected…oh, yeah…Remy has a jacked-up ankle to boot.
Meigs created one of the most bleak apocalypse situations I have ever read, and I hope that I never find myself in a situation like that. I actually had nightmares about this zombie world that she created. I couldn’t stop reading until I found out if Ethan and Cade ever saw each other again after parting ways.
The Becoming is the first of a trilogy, and I can’t wait to read more about the Michaluk Virus!