The best zombie books for readers who are sick of zombies

The Books I Picked & Why

Monster Island: A Zombie Novel

By David Wellington

Book cover of Monster Island: A Zombie Novel

Why this book?

Monster Island is the first book in the first book in Wellington’s Zombie Island Trilogy, followed by Monster Nation and Monster Planet. I loved it because while it starts as a traditional zombie apocalypse novel, Wellington takes the story into some exciting new areas. I don’t want to give any spoilers, but one of the zombies becomes more than a mindless flesh-eater. Much more. Suffice to say, Wellington provides readers with a very fresh take on zombies. A lot of horror trilogies start with a strong first book and then go downhill from there, but the Monster Island saga proved to be a solid story from start to finish. 


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The Resurrected

By Megan Hart

Book cover of The Resurrected

Why this book?

Originally released in ten parts as a horror serial, The Resurrected is a real treat. For starters, the zombie virus has a unique origin. The planet is hit by a series of freak storms. In the aftermath, strange flowers bloom, spreading a virus that transmits across humanity. The shocking action that follows is told from a shifting array of characters with many of their stories intertwining. My favorite thing about this book is Hart’s visceral description. Her sensory details will transport the reader right into each moment. It’s a wicked read, and features the best zombie sex scene you’ll ever read!


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The Walking Dead Volume 1: Days Gone Bye

By Robert Kirkman

Book cover of The Walking Dead Volume 1: Days Gone Bye

Why this book?

I know, I know. Lots of people are over The Walking Dead. I have a love/hate relationship with the television show, as well. But I’ve read every chapter of the comic book series, and I have to tell you that zombie fiction doesn’t get much better. Kirkman’s epic spans 22 collection editions comprising 193 total comic books, and it’s pure dark magic from start to finish. He populates his tale with compelling characters and terrifying zombies. The tension is palpable and absolutely no one is safe. One of the hallmarks of this series is the shocking, unexpected deaths of key characters, which made all the more impactful because Kirkman makes us feel genuine emotions for them all. 


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Cell

By Stephen King

Book cover of Cell

Why this book?

Technically Cell may not be a pure zombie novel. Instead of traditional flesh-eating undead zombies, King’s zombies are people who have been transformed by their cell phones into savage berserkers. This occurs during an event known as the Pulse, in which everyone using their cell phone becomes a “crazie.” We get to experience the resulting downfall of society through the eyes of artist Clayton Riddell, and we follow him on his quest to reunite with his wife and son. Zombie apocalypse stories often start in the midst of the apocalypse. This one starts at the beginning of society’s collapse, and it’s a truly terrifying spectacle. 


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The Girl With All the Gifts

By M.R. Carey

Book cover of The Girl With All the Gifts

Why this book?

The Girl with All the Gifts has a lot of intelligence and plenty of heart. In this tale, civilization has succumbed to a fungus that transforms people into cannibalistic “hungries.” Unlike traditional zombie viruses, this one is passed by blood, saliva, and airborne spores. The story opens in a remote military research base established to capture and study child hungries who, unlike other hungries, retain some semblance of their normal selves. These children still eat human flesh and can still be driven into a frenzy by normal humans. The heart of this story centers around Helen Justineau, a psychologist and teacher at the base, and one of her students Melanie, an intelligent 10-year-old hungrie. Not only does this book take a unique approach to zombie lore, but it also spins an entirely compelling tale with real characters and genuine emotion. 


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