by Olivia Vieweg
Lerner Publishing Group
You Like Them
Graphic Universe ™
Comics & Graphic Novels | Teens & YA
Pub Date 1 Sep 2020 | Archive Date 10 Sep 2020
Vivi and Eva are two travelers in a countryside filled with the undead. After a train breaks down, stranding them between safe zones, the young women partner up to stay alive. Vivi is struggling with grief—and guilt—over the loss of her sister. Eva is hiding the start of a horrifying transformation. Together they’ll face heat, zombie hordes, and their own inner demons, searching for signs of life in a land of the dead. This graphic novel addition to an enduring genre is thoughtful and emotion-driven, but also full of zombie scares and action.
Hey look it is a zombie horde! Post-Societal collapse scenarios are a staple of YA fiction. Therefore it is not easy to tread new ground and it is equally easy to fall into cliche. Ever After does not manage to avoid these cliches; however, there is enough heart to make you care about the characters and what happens to them.
First to the criticisms. Zombie stories are played out. The zombie lore in Ever After is somewhat muddled. I wasn’t sure what the rules to the virus were which left me confused at points. The review copy provided had lettering that bit lower res that the art but I think this is due to the fact it is a translation.
Now the positives. While Veiweg’s art style is one that I never really warmed up to, she does a beautiful job of creating both intimate character moments and shocking visuals. There is an injury near the ends of the book that made me wince at the awfulness of it. This is what you want in a Zombie story, gore, and, a sense of building tension as the plight gets worse and worse.
Despite being over 200 pages, the story moved at a fair clip. I read it in one sitting, which perhaps was a disservice to the book.
Like any good road trip movie, our protagonist’s relationship develops over time with both ups and downs. The characters are believable, and their relationship with each is one that I wanted to succeed.
Reading this also made me question if I would have enjoyed it more if I weren’t in lockdown? Can you separate a book from the circumstances in which you are reading it? I don’t know. However, the incongruity of the Vieweg’s cartoonish illustration with the subject matter is not something I think I overcame. That and my personal burnout on zombie stories meant I did not enjoy this much. For a younger audience (anyone under 30 years old) I think. There are thrilling moments, genuine scares, and, moments of real emotion in this book. Worth a read if you like your zombie stories with a heart.