Deadlands by Lily Herne (Penguin Books SA)
17-year old Lele and her brother are stuck and living with her parents in the city enclave.

It's one of the few safe places following both the war and the appearance of the Zombie menace that has been ravaging the Deadlands (the area designated as unsafe and outside of the enclave) ever since.

Beneath the so-called veneer of safety, Lele can't help but notice that there's something sinister about the Guardians who keep a strict lockdown on the people who live within the enclave. 

Stuck in a school run by the Ressurrectionists, a fanatical cult who worship the Guardians, Lele doesn't seem to have a way of escaping…

… At least not until, by some fluke (or is it luck?), she ends up being one of five aspiring teens that end up being selected by the Guardians in a staged human Lottery (which takes place every year).  No one knows why the Guardians want these teenagers so badly or what they do with them, but Lele is certainly about to find out.

Mother-daughter duo, writing under the author name of Lily Herne, have written a phenomenal new offering for lovers of Zombie fiction; adding a uniquely South African twist that is sure to make this book a hit with everyone.  Set in post-apocalyptic Cape Town, this book is also remarkably easy to relate to.

One of the most surprising aspects of the novel, is that in spite of it having a zombie focus, it ended up being a rather light-hearted read with plenty of amusing moments in between. What really makes this novel unique though, is the clever and no-holds barred, satirical barbs about South Africa's past and current political infrastructure scattered throughout the book.

With references to Julius Malema (Lele's forced to go to a school called Malema high) and the ANC (She joins the ANZ (Anti-Zombians) movement -in what could be considered an ode to the ANC before it became what it is today), it becomes obvious that there are two opposing sectors that will no doubt be heading for battle.

On the one hand, you have the Guardians and the Ressurrectionists who believe that they are doing the best for the people and giving the people what they "need" - just as long as people don't rebel and question them (Sounds like the ANC today doesn't it?) .

On the other hand, you have the ANZ movement - a resistance movement that are fighting for the people's rights and are forced to use violence as a method of trying to get their message across. In a way, there is an underlying sense that almost feels as if you have the same faction fighting against itself and all it used to stand for. Again, this relates back to just why I think adults will probably also enjoy reading this.

The writing of the novel, for the most part, flowed quite seamlessly.

I thought the characters were incredibly strong, and Lele in particular, has a can-do, and don't-need-a-boy-to-take-care-of-my-problems kind of attitude that is incredibly refreshing to behold in the Young Adult genre spectrum.   

The secondary characters and the introduction of the Mall Rats (I can't reveal more without spoiling for you), gave this novel an added kick in what really transformed itself into not just a zombie novel, but an action-packed zombie novel filled with a lot of adventurous moments. There's also a potential love-triangle, which, although wasn't a major focus, gives us an idea that we might just get to read more about it in a possible sequel.

I certainly hope so - there are quite a lot of questions that I'd still love to see answered.

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Have you managed to read Deadlands yet? What did you think of it?


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