Odium Origins: A Dead Saga Novella. Part One
by Claire C. Riley
Publication date: December 27th 2013
Genre: Horror, Zombies
Source: eArc sent by author in
exchange for an honest review
When hell claws its way up from the dark depths of the earth, and the dead begin to walk again, for several people the zombie apocalypse doesn’t just mean the end of the world as they know it, it is also the beginning of a brave new life for them. For some it offers freedom, for others a deeper torment and unforgiving life than they ever thought possible.
The coward, the street rat, the hero, and the lovers, everyone has their place. What really decides their fate in this new existence, nature, or nurture? Who they become when the world goes to hell is the true decider on their own humanity, and will ultimately decide their fates.
Forever changed, they have to learn to adapt to this dangerous and dark new world before they become one of the living dead themselves.
Odium Origins is an accompaniment to the novel Odium. It contains several short stories featuring some of the characters that you loved to hate from the novel Odium.
This novella may also be read as a standalone book.
If you choose to read it as part of the Odium experience, you can read it before or after reading Odium.
If you haven’t read Odium yet, you definitely should as soon as possible. Feel free to read my review here if you need further convincing. 😉 Odium rocked my face off and this awesome companion novella did as well. This is a compilation of backstories for the characters that graced the pages of Odium. It gives us a glimpse into the lives of the characters and where they were when the zombie apocalypse began. I really enjoyed reading the history of these people. It further rooted my feelings for some of the characters, but for others it completely changed my mind.
Odium Origins is just as brilliant as it’s counterpart. While it does reveal the backstories of the characters from Odium, it’s not just a history lesson. As I learned about how each person was dragged into the wretched new world full of undead creatures, the words filled me with fear and anxiety just as much, if not more than they did in Odium. One of my favorite things about the zombie apocalypse is finding out how it all starts and about how each person reacts and deals with such a horrific situation. Odium Origins quenched my thirst for that knowledge.
One of the stories is about Crunch and about how she meets Mikey. What I loved most about this tale is that it not only shows us where she was when the dead began to stink up the planet, but it also took me on a brief tour of her tormented existence prior to the outbreak, which explains why Crunch is the way she is; cold and calculating. I didn’t despise her as much after reading her story. In fact, I actually understand her position better. Oh, and we also learn how Crunch and Mikey meet Duncan, the coward.
While reading Odium back in October, I felt a bit sorry for Duncan. I couldn’t quite wrap my head around the reason Nina judged him so harshly, but now I think I loathe him even more than she did. He really is a coward, and a self-serving coward at that. He didn’t just turn his back on the people in his care, he planned to do things that would make any sane person run in the opposite direction. Unfortunately, he was able to pull the wool over Britta’s eyes. Well, karma’s a bitch, my friend, and I can’t say I’m disappointed by her persistence to pay you a visit.
Poor J.D. I can’t imagine being in his situation during the outbreak. In my mind I was clawing at the glass to get to Amy and Ben. My biggest fear when I think of a zombie apocalypse is that I won’t be able to protect my family, especially my children. This particular tale hit me square in the gut and made it very difficult to breathe. The intensity nearly killed me!
Another story I really loved in this novella is the tale of Steve and Jane. This is an example of how this novella further cemented my feelings for certain characters. It was so awesome to get to know Jane since we were unable to meet her in the book. They are such an awesome couple! Reading their tale about getting out of their zombie infested town and heading to the hills for safety made my heart break for Steve all over again.
The bottom line: I freaking love this novella and I’m so grateful to Claire for providing me with an ARC. I don’t generally re-read books, but reading this novella makes me want to dive head first into the world of Odium once more. This series is a zombie lovers dream!
The Street Rat
“You got it?” Mikey shouts over to me.
I nod a yes, and stab the zombie in the head again, just to be sure. Always best to be sure. I learned the hard way on that one. If I was ever squeamish about this shit, that ship has long since sailed. If anything, I find it a little fascinating these days—the way the blood has blackened and congealed, yet the brain is still idling. I guess that’s the wannabe doctor in me. Not for the first time in the last six months, I think of my parents—well, I think of my pops, more precisely. My mom can go rot for all I care. Even though he left me for dead, I hope he’s alive somewhere. I guess in a way I hope Mom is alive too; if she isn’t, then Pops will probably have given up and be rotting away somewhere. That or he’ll be one of these things.
“Crunch, it’s fucking dead—again,” he adds. “What are you staring at?”
I look up at Mikey. “Just wondering what makes them, I don’t know, tick?”
“Who cares?” He shrugs.
“I do, I guess.” I shrug too and stand up. “I mean, is it a disease or what?”
“What does it matter?”
“It matters because…” My words trail off when I see his bored expression. Dude has no time for any of the technical stuff. Like a true macho man, he sees it, he kills it, he moves on. No discussion, no thought process. Like a fucking caveman.
“Look, we’re alive, they’re dead. We need to kill them before they kill us. It’s simple. Don’t overthink it.” He looks serious for a change. “I can’t figure you out. One minute you’re tough and the next you’re soft. I can’t figure out who’s protecting who.”
I pause, letting his words sink in. Normally I’d come back with some smart-ass remark, but my heart isn’t in it today. “Let’s get going.” I walk away with a huff.
“I’m sorry if that offends you,” he calls after me.
I turn back around and see another zombie coming out from behind some trees. “Move out of the way,” I shout—unnecessarily, since the zombie isn’t close enough to actually hurt him. Mikey steps out of my way regardless and I charge at the zombie, remembering all the times Pops had gotten me to train and use these weapons. I’m not just a street rat, I’m a motherfucking warrior child. I jump up into the air and bring down both my kukris on either side of the zombie’s neck, landing with a soft thud in a crouching position. The head falls from the zombie’s shoulders and rolls over to Mikey’s feet, the eyes still blinking up at him.
“Does that answer your question?” I snap and walk away again.
“Fuck me!” he mumbles.
~About the Author~
Claire C Riley, is a mother first, a wife second, but a writer at heart.
Claire likes to break boundaries with her writing, incorporating an old school style of horror and romance. Sexy and dark. (Think Bram Stokers Dracula, but for the 21st century!)
Claire is a mother to three amazing little girls who hold her heart. She hopes to make them proud, and show them that if you work hard and believe in yourself… then, as Cinderella once said… dreams really do come true.
She is an avid book collector and has a great zombie apocalypse plan in place thanks to a questionnaire she asked her readers to fill in for on her blog!
She actively encourages reader participation on her blog and author Facebook page, with questionnaires, quizzes, and fan art. So get in touch!
Claire’s Website | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads
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