Book Review: Welcome to Deadland by Zachary Tyler Linville

The infected have taken over, and there don't seem to be very many humans left. Asher and Wendy, students at the same university, have teamed up and are heading to a theme park, but Asher is still overcoming heartbreak, and Wendy is harboring a secret that's tearing her apart. Meanwhile, Rico, a teenager battling drug addiction, and Jayden, a child, are heading up to Orlando to look for the last bit of family they might have left.

Book Review: Welcome to Deadland by Zachary Tyler Linville | reading, books, book reviews, science fiction, post-apocalyptic, lgbt, young adult, zombies
Title: Welcome to Deadland
Book Number: Book 1 of TBA
Pages: 350
My Rating: 4 Stars
More Info: Goodreads, Amazon, Publisher


*I received a free ecopy of this book via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.*

I’ve continued to read the post-apocalyptic zombie genre, despite never being a big zombie apocalypse fan, because I’ve been determined to find some books that are really deeply character-focused rather than zombie-killing-focused, and this was definitely one of those books.

The absolute best thing about this book was how so very real the characters were. I honestly felt like I was reading about real people. Main characters, side characters—they all came across as three-dimensional. And even though I hadn’t been in the specific situations any of them were in, I still found myself relating because the emotions and relationships and actions and reactions were so realistic and subtle rather than forced or dramatically exaggerated. The characters weren’t all likeable, and they didn’t always do good things, but that was part of what made them so real.

There was also some focus on important topics, like drug use and LGBT struggles. There was a lot of relationship stuff, but it’s not a book I’d classify as romance, and even though these heavy topics were addressed, there were still light, funny, and sweet moments too.

The way this book was written was kind of unusual though. First of all, there were multiple POV characters, which is something I like, so no complaints there. But the whole book also jumped back and forth between the present, showing the characters surviving the zombie apocalypse, and the past, showing their lives leading up to the end of the world as they knew it, for both Asher and Rico’s POVs (Wendy’s was only in the present). And while I thoroughly enjoyed both the past and the present scenes, I’m not sure how I feel about having two storylines going on at the same time for each main character (though Asher and Rico did eventually end up in the same present storyline).

I also felt like the plot in the “after” meandered a bit, but that seems to be common with zombie books since the goal usually seems to just be “don’t die.” The plot still kept my attention, and it did at least have a pretty action-packed climax.

The only thing that actually disappointed me was the ending. I don’t mind cliffhangers that lead you into the next book after the events of the current book have all been wrapped up, but this one left questions hanging from this book’s events that I feel should have been addressed. And even though there was a climax and a wrap-up to the present in Wendy and Rico’s POVs, I felt that the past storylines and Asher’s POV in the present ended in abrupt spots. I decided not to knock off any stars since I still enjoyed the book, but you might want to wait for the next one to be out first if waiting for answers is going to bother you.

Overall though, despite the issues I had with this book, the things I liked (i.e. the realistic characters and situations) made up for everything else and made the book really gripping and enjoyable for me. This was a book I didn’t want to put down, and I look forward to the next!


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  1. Greg

    The thing I like about this cover is the old retro style travel element of it, like those travel posters or whatever you see sometimes. So it’s got that going for it. I’m not a huge zombie fan and don’t read that stuff usually, although The Walking Dead has made me mildly curious. I didn’t know Nerdist actually published books, that’s interesting. It does sound like this was very character- focused, which is nice. When it’s all zombies and bad s$%^ you need good characters to get you through.

    LOL about “don’t die.” Yeah that’s usually about it… glad this was good though.

    1. Kristen Burns

      It is a nice cover (of course I think so though, what with all the red lol), and you’re right, it does have that retro travel element. I think I’m becoming more and more a fan of the zombie genre, but not because of the situation it puts the characters in, not because of the zombies themselves.

      The publisher thing was confusing. I couldn’t quite figure out if it was Inkshares or Nerdist, so I just went with Nerdist since that’s what GR and Amazon said.

      Seriously I think only one zombie book I’ve ever read had an actual goal other than not dying lol. This was still enjoyable for me though! Thanks 🙂

  2. Lola

    If I would enjoy zombie books they probably would be the character focused ones I have read very few zombie books as the idea of them just doesn’t appeal to me and I am not as interested in reading about people killing zombies, but it’s good to know there are also other type of zombie books out there.

    It’s great this is the type of zombie book you like with how real and three dimensional the characters are. It sounds nice how it deals with some serious topics, but there are also lighter moments.

    I’ve only read a few past and present point of view books, but then it’s usually one character in both times or a different character in each time. I don’t mind cliffhangers too much, although I usually prefer books to have some sort of wrap-up as well. I hope you’ll enjoy the next book as much as this one!

    1. Kristen Burns

      I’m getting more and more into the zombie book genre because I’m now finding ones that are really character-focused, and I love the situation they put the characters in, the way the characters are pushed to their limits, etc. I don’t care about the actual zombie killing parts either lol.

      The characters were super realistic! Especially in the past scenes when they had normal lives.

      I think this was the first books I’d ever read that had the past and present timeline thing. And yeah, I don’t mind if the story gets wrapped up and then there’s a cliffhanger that just makes me interested in the next book, but there was one thing especially in this book that I feel should’ve been wrapped up. I don’t like those types because it feels like the author is trying to force people to read the next book. I was going to read it anyway, I want my complete story! Thanks 🙂

  3. Molly @ Molly's Book Nook

    You know, I was just thinking “I’ve heard of this book before” and I’m pretty sure it was probably on one of your Sunday Posts or something haha.

    I was intrigued then, now after reading your review, I’ll most likely be picking this one up! I like that you described it as realistic. Great review!

    1. Kristen Burns

      Hahaha yeah, it probably was on one of my Sunday posts. Or maybe you just saw it Netgalley.

      I did enjoy it! I was impressed with realistic the characters seemed, especially in the past sections, before the zombie apocalypse. Not that they were unrealistic after, but I guess it was just easier to relate and see how realistic it was in those normal types of situations. Thanks!

    1. Kristen Burns

      Yay 😀 But if you have an end of the world book list, you HAVE to check out my review for Slowly We Rot on Tuesday. Welcome to Deadland was great, but Slowly We Rot was great in a whole different way.