The best zombie books that take things in new directions

Rachel Aukes Author Of 100 Days in Deadland
By Rachel Aukes

The Books I Picked & Why

The Retreat: Pandemic

By Craig DiLouie, Stephen Knight, Joe McKinney

Book cover of The Retreat: Pandemic

Why this book?

This book is the first part of a limited series by some of the biggest names in the genre. They’ve teamed up to bring you zombies that are absolutely insane. There were multiple times in the book where my jaw dropped in unexpected shock or I jumped in my chair at these zombies. I just have to say, if these zombies take over Earth, we are screwed. These zombies will maim, eat, and do many, many other horrible things to us and have a blast doing it. If you’re in the mood for a high-octane zombie book that stars the most disturbing zombies out there, read this book. 

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Slow Burn: Zero Day

By Bobby Adair, Alex Saskalidis

Book cover of Slow Burn: Zero Day

Why this book?

This is my favorite zombie series of all time. Adair is an incredible writer, and his Slow Burn series gives us plenty of Romero-style zombies that we love, but it also gives us more. In this series, some of the infected don’t turn into regular zombies. Zed is one of these. I don’t want to give any spoilers but trust me on this. If you like a good zombie tale, read Slow Burn, and I guarantee you’ll continue on to book 2 and every other book in this series about zombies with a twist.  

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My Life as a White Trash Zombie

By Diana Rowland

Book cover of My Life as a White Trash Zombie

Why this book?

The title says it all. Yeah, the hero in this urban fantasy is a white trash zombie. With so many reasons not to like her, I still found myself rooting for this snarky, tough, undead antihero as she keeps on going (and taking bites here and there). As a fresh take on zombies, this is one of the first and best-known series that humanize zombies (while still having some undead fun along the way). 

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Warm Bodies

By Isaac Marion

Book cover of Warm Bodies

Why this book?

This is probably the first book that comes to mind when people think of nontraditional zombies. It’s so popular that it was even turned into a movie. In this book, the protagonist is a zombie who eats the brains of a girl’s boyfriend, taking in his memories. Something in them sparks something inside him, and he begins to regain his humanity bit by bit. This is a love story at heart, so of course, it takes love for him to fully recover. I love a good happily ever after every now and then—especially in a zombie story.

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Terminal Alliance

By Jim C. Hines

Book cover of Terminal Alliance

Why this book?

Okay, this is not a “pure” zombie novel, but zombies are an integral part of the backstory and characters. In this fun, futuristic science fiction tale, aliens discover an Earth populated by zombies. They “fix” them because the zombie virus made humans really hard to kill, which means they make great soldiers and overall worker bees in an intergalactic war. The main character is one of these humans, except she’s assigned a janitorial job on a spaceship. This is seriously one of my favorite sci-fi series, guaranteed to make you laugh out loud while sympathizing with the humans who’ve been somewhat cured of their zombiism.

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