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Mary Hallberg’s State of Emergency gets characterization down right. It feels a lot like a meme I once read about playing D&D (the one with what we think it’ll be like and a pic of heroes from Lord of the Rings compared to what it’s really like: the cast from Monty Python and the Holy Grail.) State of Emergency is a far cry from Walking Dead, and that’s a good thing. There are way too many clones out there and this is a breath of fresh air in the zombie genre.

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While Dallas fighting off zombies with a pizza cutter might sound like we’re headed in straight-up Shaun of the Dead territory, it’s not quite an overt comedy, but it has its moments. Maybe I’d call it a blend of Walking Dead and Scott Burtness’s Monsters in the Midwest series.

The book is peppered with fun references if you’re a fan of the genre. Then again, maybe it’s just me, but there seem to be seamless little Easter eggs hidden though the book as nods to other great zombie and undead stories, (like how Dallas calls Ashleigh, Ash and Dallas’s name seems to draw from Zombieland’s nomenclature.)

It is a fun read and not nearly as heavy as I am Legends or the like—and though it has a teenage protagonist it didn’t feel as angsty and whiny as most YA stories have trended in recent years… I appreciated that.

If you’re up for a Halloween read this fall, consider picking up a copy. I got mine for free in exchange for an honest review. You can get it by clicking here.

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