Survivor Song by Paul Tremblay

Survivor Song

by Paul Tremblay

  • Genre: Thriller
  • Publisher: William Morrow
  • Length: 320 pages
  • Available: July 7, 2020

About the Author: Paul Tremblay has won the Bram Stoker, British Fantasy, and Massachusetts Book awards and is the author of Growing Things, The Cabin at the End of the World, Disappearance at Devil’s Rock, A Head Full of Ghosts, and the crime novels The Little Sleep and No Sleep Till Wonderland. His essays and short fiction have appeared in the Los Angeles Times, Entertainment Weekly online, and numerous year’s-best anthologies. He has a master’s degree in mathematics and lives outside Boston with his family.

Summary: A virulent, rabies-like virus is spreading across New England, turning both animals and humans into mindless, roving killers. Natalie, at nine months pregnant, is in a race against time after her and her husband are violently attacked by a neighbor, leaving him dead and her infected. As the pandemic begins to surge, Natalie and her college friend Dr. Ramola “Rams” Sherman must navigate the changing world, desperately searching for a doctor who can perform a cesarean section before Natalie falls victim to the disease, putting her child at risk. The path ahead of them will not be easy, but with the help of a few “randos” along the way, they will do whatever it takes to survive.

There is no doubt that this compelling ode to the not-zombie genre is set to release at an opportune time, conveniently poking at the heaping pile of anxieties that are now being shared by people all across the world. With many of it’s less speculative themes—from lines at the grocery store all the way to Reddit rabble-rousers—landing eerily close to home, the average reader may find themselves left with an enduring sense of terror that has little or nothing to do with the number of bloodthirsty infected out roaming the streets. While that alone is captivating, what makes Paul Tremblay’s Survivor Song stand out as more than just the right book at the right time is its near perfect balance of metahumor and suspenseful, nail-biting horror. This fast-paced narrative accomplishes, in only a couple, in-story hours, what few others can do with the entirety of an apocalyptic (or post-apocalyptic) timeline at their disposal. 

With a pair of believable, cheer-worthy protagonists backing this watertight formula, the reader gets not only a terrifying thrillride, but a whole lot of heart to back it up, creating stakes that go far beyond the usual fight for survival formula that’s been seen time and time again. From Natalie’s journal recordings for her unborn child, to Ramola’s steadfast bravery and dedication to her friend, Survivor Song offers a depth of character that is all too often lacking in modern horror. Add to this a team of familiar, teenage vanquishers stampeding there way through the fourth wall and the trifecta of suspense, drama, and humor is complete, producing a page-turning read that has the ability to find a home on just about anybody’s bookshelf—not that you would expect any less from a Paul Tremblay novel.

Verdict:

Whether you consider yourself a zombie aficionado or, like many others, are tired of seeing the same old song and dance played out time and time again, Paul Tremblay’s Survivor Song is for you. With convincing characters, fast-paced action, heartbreaking horror, and enough self-awareness to keep even the most fussy of the meta-generation ironically engaged, there is little doubt that this is one ride you’ll want to stand in line for.

Joe Buckler

Blind Corner Reviews

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