Book Review: Once Upon A Zombie
“Caitlin Fletcher went numb with fear when her next breath didn’t come.”
With this powerful opening, author Billy Phillips invites readers on an amazing journey wonderfully using description to create heart pounding suspense that leaves you anxiously anticipating every twist and turn.
Flawless writing sets the tone for the central protagonist’s internal and external struggles. She is Caitlin Fletcher, a teenage girl who moved with her father and younger sister from the United States to England. Her mother had disappeared 4 years earlier. As if being the new girl in high school with its inherent drama and social baptism by fire isn’t tortuous enough, add to the mix being the new girl in a new country who also suffers from crippling fear.
Caitlin dreads attending her new school’s Halloween masquerade ball. Memories of an embarrassing past experience flood her mind so the thought of dancing in front of her classmates holds no appeal. Yet, the prospect of dancing with Jack, the handsome and kindhearted boy with whom she is smitten, leaves Caitlin torn. To dance or not to dance is her compelling question.
Another compelling question is whether Caitlin should explore a cemetery where strange occurrences have been reported. The reports of these strange occurrences whet aspiring writer Caitlin’s appetite. The teen envisions writing a story for unexplainablenews.com, a paranormal website. In addition, Jack wants to go to the cemetery. So, Caitlin fights her fear and goes. But instead of meeting up with Jack there, Fate intervenes with other plans. A riveting sequence of events occur where Caitlin comes face to face with Zombie Rapunzel, Zombie Cinderella, Zombie Snow White and Zombie Sleeping Beauty.
Foreshadowing compliments the story but doesn’t overwhelm it. Fear serves as the silent voyeur in this tale, another antagonist that shadows Caitlin attempting to undermine her resolve.
Phillips takes the familiar fairytale characters from our childhood and weaves them so well into the story that their presence feels very natural, not forced. In addition, he gives these Zombie fairy tale royals humor and determination despite their precarious predicament. Zombie Rapunzel, Zombie Cinderella, Zombie Snow White and Zombie Sleeping Beauty retain much of their inner and outer beauty even though they have been afflicted by a zombie curse.
The royal Zombies support and encourage Caitlin as she proceeds along this life threatening journey. However, The Bloody-Eyed Zombies, scary antagonists who have surrendered to their dark desires, threaten our protagonists.
Caitlin’s younger sister Natalie is a walking encyclopedia, a confident genius whose extroverted personality stands in stark contrast. But readers will take note of instances where Caitlin, fighting her fears, discovers the hero that lives inside her.
Phillips words are skillfully selected to adorn this fascinating tale.
There are many surprises that will leave the reader awestruck. All age groups will fall in love with this book and become absolutely inspired by the positive messages it conveys.