The Harvesting

Thanks to AToMR Tours, we're pleased to present a review for a brand new New Adult horror/zombie/fantasy novel, The Harvesting, by Melanie Karsak! Keep scrolling to check out our review and then enter to win a copy for yourself! Also, make sure you check out the other stops on the tour for more reviews and guest posts.

By Melanie Karsak
Published on September 18th 2012
Published by CreateSpace
Source: AToMR Tours

Purchase the book here: Amazon | Smashwords 
It's all fun and games until someone ends up undead.

Though Layla reluctantly returns home to rural Hamletville after a desperate call from her psychic grandmother, she could never have anticipated the horror of what Grandma Petrovich has foreseen. The residents of Hamletville will need Layla's help if they are to survive the zombie apocalypse that's upon them. But that is not the only problem. With mankind silenced, it soon becomes apparent that we were never alone. As the beings living on the fringe seek to reclaim power, Layla must find a way to protect the ones she loves or all humanity may be lost.

Looking for the perfect person to have by your side during the zombie takeover?  You're definitely going to want Layla!  She's a medievalist who appears to specialize in weaponry, she knows her way around swords and guns and hand-to-hand combat.  Unlike a lot of other heroines who have inexplicable strengths and talents when it comes to zombies, Layla's whole life has been the study of weaponry.  She's a bit of a reluctant leader, but she's a badass nonetheless, and doesn't ever let herself get too sappy or blinded by her guy problems.  There's a romance side-plot but it never really takes over for the main action, and the choices Layla makes are strong and realistic.

The Harvesting isn't quite your typical zombie story.  The first half focuses on Layla and the residents of Hamletville, as they band together to try to survive.  There's a good mix of zombie killing and interpersonal drama as you get to know about Layla and her past, and get to know the other residents of the town.  The second half takes the zombie story and plunks it down into a much broader paranormal setting as Layla and her friends go out of the frying pan and into the fire, so to speak.  The focus shifts away from zombies and more onto some other supernatural beasties (vague so as not to spoil), with a good dose of folklore, forest spirits, and more.

I wasn't sure at first how I felt about this not being strictly a zombie story, but the more I think about it, the more okay I am with the idea as presented in the book that humanity is never alone, and that the zombies eating through most of the human population gives more room for these spirits, other creatures, etc., to breathe and walk in the world.

If you go into this expecting it to be 100% nonstop zombies, you may be disappointed.  There are a lot of human stories here, not just about survival and head shots, and the mixture of Russian and other folklore with zombies and paranormal/fantasy creatures makes for a somewhat different read.  But the action never lets up -- even the quiet at-home scenes still serve to advance the plot and are still plenty tense.

My only quibble is with the last chapter, which really seems more like a preview of the second book in the series than a final chapter.  Layla's story hits a high point and you wonder what's going to happen next, and then all of a sudden the book shifts to focus on completely new characters.  It was really jarring and I was wondering if I missed something.  I kept looking for some sort of symbolism in these new characters, like perhaps they represented alternate universe characters of Layla and friends, but if there was a parallel, I totally missed it.

Because of sexual situations and a lot of violence/gore, I would recommend this book to mature readers.  The Harvesting is a pretty interesting, unique take on zombies and the series is off to a great start. a Rafflecopter giveaway

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