Hungry For Your Love

A Zombie Romance Anthology

I have been a fan of zombies since I was a toddler and George Romero was the Zombie Making God.  The recent rise in Zombie Romance stories caught me by surprise since I honestly never saw them as anything but amusing shamblers with a vicious appetite.  Some of these authors have changed my mind, given the Zombie Mythos a twist that doesn't make the romance so completely wrong, but others just reinforced my opinion.  Regardless I enjoyed this anthology quite a bit.  My individual opinions on each story are below.

Romance Ain't Dead (Jeremy Wagner)

I feel it necessary to point out that while this story disturbed me on most levels, it was a sweet story none the less.  Bruce, the narrator, loses his wife in a horrible boating accident, but thankfully his next door neighbor used to be a witch doctor and can bring Sherri back--at what price?  Like I said, its a little creepy, but its all about love and Bruce maintains an attitude of 'This is probably nuts and deviant, but I love her and that's all that matters' throughout the entire story.

Revanants Anonymous (Francesca Lia Block)

Like any of Block's writing, it’s not a straight forward thing.  This story is about Zombies, but it leaves you wondering if they were real zombies--died and came back in other words--or if they were products of a culture that strung you so high that you only ever feel depressing misery that you aren't as good as some other person.  You have these expectations and then give up because it doesn't seem like it’s worth the effort.  Block's stories are always thought-provoking and this one did not disappoint me at all.

I Heart Brains (Jaime Saare)

 

This was a quick, amusing and oddly romantic story.  Woman loses her loser husband and donates the body.  Guy dies and goes in search of a new body.  Fate, destiny, whatever you want to call it collides to give them both a second chance at a better life.

Everyone I Lost is Dead (Elizabeth Coldwell)

Getting the one that got away, keeping the one you have and ending up with everything you ever wanted, not a bad way to end a story or a romance.  It was a little different, certainly interesting and I admit even made me a little curious as to figure out how a 'mixed morality' relationship would work out anyhow.  I kind of hope there might be more in the future about Millie, Mark and Brody's strange little threesome.

Through Death to Love (S.M. Cross)

A short sweet tale that is slightly more realistic when talking about something as unrealistic as a human-zombie relationship.  I wanted to know more about the Zombie Wars and Zombie Peace mentioned, but I liked how Cross rationalized the main character's (she's not named as its from her third person limited narrative) reasons for accepting the zombie, Robert's, courtship.  In the simplest form her anxieties over their possibilities are no different then a human/human relationship, except for the brains part of course.

Eye of the Beholder (Stacey Graham)

Who says you can't find love even dead?  Graham gives a short recounting of how two luckless zombies learn the hard way that even losing an eye can be a good time.  It was an amusing and quick read and endearing somehow.

First Love Never Dies (Jan Kozlowski)

Sad.  This story was so sad I swear I felt my heart break at the end of it.  Its mostly a twisted little story and the end is kind of a poetic justice if you squint hard enough, but honestly it was such a heart breaking thing.  It did however have the classic flesh-eating zombies make an appearance, so that raised my perk level up.

My Partner the Zombie (R.G. Hart)

This was very much like the old noir detective novels that I grew up on.  Roles were reversed--what with the busty babe being the gumshoe and the femme fatale being decidedly not femme--but overall it was a neat story.  The zombie angle was a little dodgy, if it had been taken out and replaced with something else the story would have flowed the same I think and had the least amount of explanation for it of all the stories included.

Undying Love (Regina Riley)

New love, old love and a nasty old necromancer who deserves a special place down below make this story a little uneven at times.  Or rather, Joshua was rather confusing at times.  Flirting almost from the minute he starts talking to Deetra, he doesn't really stop even after we learned about his quest.  The story ended on a hopeful sort of note though, and I wouldn't mind reading about the future endeavours of Deetra and Joshua. 

Captive Hearts (Brian Keene)

I'm terrified of this story.  Also, I do not suggest reading it if you just ate.  Or painted your toenails.  Or like the 'three little piggies' song.  It’s likely to ruin your reading pleasure.  This was a short story, one of the shorter ones in the book, and wasn't strictly romantic.  Yes the woman involved was doing it all for her husband, sort of, but…just read the story and you'll see. 

Apoclaypse as Foreplay (Gina McQueen)

Fast paced, funny and easy to read.  I love this sort of anthology story.  Pretty much our main character is having fun relating antidotes about the neighbors she's shooting, her love life and everything in between.  If ever there is a Zombie Apocalypse, we should all be as well prepared!

Julia Brainchild (Lois Gresh)

This was a pretty neat twist on the fad of diets--are brains so rich in protein and lacking in fat? I'm not sure I want to find out first hand--and the whole courtship dance.  The ending was kind of off-putting, but up to that point it was interesting and fun.

Kicking the Habit (Steven Saus)

Its light and sweet, kind of a fluffy antidote to Brian Keene's story honestly.  It’s a little wistful, but has a hopeful ending.  Or as hopeful as two zombies in love and fighting to keep from eating human brains can be at least.

Zombified (Isabel Roman)

Roman gets mad props for cramming so many pop culture references into this story I almost couldn't keep up.  Everything from Freddy Kruger to Scooby-Doo gets it own little mention.  Zombies are only present in the last third of the story, but they make up for it in numbers at least!

White Knight, Black Horse (Mercy Loomis)

Much of this story required me to look up unfamiliar terms to understand fully the difference between a 'zombie' and what Joseph was exactly.  Its not mentioned, but voodoo is the name of the game in this tale.  This is not really a zombie tale, so much as a cultural understanding of what a Voodoo zombie is vs. your Hollywood zombies.  For instance if a Voodoo Zombie's ti bon age (soul) is taken by a bokor (sorcerer) then that person has to obey the commands no matter what and has no will, spark of who they were.  It was a fascinating read.

Inhuman Resources (Jeanine McAdam)

For all of us who have nagging parents, played one too many zombie killing games and dread one day having to settle down to a 'real' job, McAdam has written a wonderful solution.  I really enjoyed the parallel between the 'office drone' and a 'real zombie' that the characters discussed (at length) and found the short to be an entertaining read.

The Magician's Apprentice (Stacy Brown)

A kind of a quirky be careful what you wish for sort of romance that felt a little jumbled at times and rushed.  With so few pages I wouldn't expect elaborate back stories, but I would liked to know more about Antonio at least since Ray and Carla are given quite a bit of personality.

Some New Blood (Vanessa Vaugh)

This story surprised me in many ways.  At various points I wasn't certain if Vaugh was trying to make a metaphorical reference to people who's marriages and lives hit a dull, same old same old streak or if the couple really was a married, working, zombie couple.  The ending sort of caught me off guard as well, but it really only made sense given that, hey it’s about zombies.

Last Times at Ridgemont High (Kilt Kilpatrick)

Jeremy kind of cracks me up honestly.  He is a little bit dense, which is fine and all, but I found it really funny that he was busy inventorying the weapons they could use while the girl of his sex-filled dreams was coming on to him.  I don't blame him, but it just struck me as funny since in Zombie films the hero always makes the mistake of thinking 'We have time!' and then Zombie City.  It was refreshing to see someone who actually learned from all those movies.

First Date (Dana Fredsti)

Fredsti won me over as soon as the main character Angie named Dawn of the Dead as a true horror film--and denounced Hostel.  And Angie kept her head, she didn't waste time bemoaning the fact the world was a zombie heap, she didn't let herself get distracted by the moans of a weakling, understands the situation and gets the job done.  Definitely my kind of hero and yeah Angie wins for worst first date ever.

Later (Michael Marshall Smith)

This was a very sad, wistful love story.  It wasn't flashy or filled with flesh-munching zombies, just a man and the love of his life and how much that love meant to him.  It was a good way to end the anthology in my opinion.

Overall I greatly enjoyed this anthology and was delighted to find several authors to check out again sometime.


Book Blurb for Hungry For Your Love

21 stories from NY Times best-selling authors to horror, romance and even YA stars.


Night Owl Reviews Nov, 2009 4.50