The Undying by Ethan Reid: Book Review

cover from NetGalley
Title: The Undying
Author: Ethan Reid
Publication details: October 7, 2014 by Simon & Schuster/ Simon451
Copy: e-ARC from NetGalley


In this riveting apocalyptic thriller for fans of The Passage and The Walking Dead, a mysterious event plunges Paris into darkness and a young American must lead her friends to safety—and escape the ravenous “undying” who now roam the crumbling city.

Jeanie and Ben arrive in Paris just in time for a festive New Year’s Eve celebration with local friends. They eat and drink and carry on until suddenly, at midnight, all the lights go out. Everywhere they look, buildings and streets are dark, as though the legendary Parisian revelry has somehow short circuited the entire city.

By the next morning, all hell has broken loose. Fireballs rain down from the sky, the temperatures are rising, and people run screaming through the streets. Whatever has happened in Paris—rumors are of a comet striking the earth—Jeanie and Ben have no way of knowing how far it has spread, or how much worse it will get. As they attempt to flee the burning Latin Quarter—a harrowing journey that takes them across the city, descending deep into the catacombs, and eventually to a makeshift barracks at the Louvre Museum—Jeanie knows the worst is yet to come. So far, only she has witnessed pale, vampiric survivors who seem to exert a powerful hold on her whenever she catches them in her sights.

These cunning, ravenous beings will come to be known as les moribund—the undying—and their numbers increase by the hour. When fate places a newborn boy in her care, Jeanie will stop at nothing to keep the infant safe and get out of Paris—even if it means facing off against the moribund and leaving Ben—and any hope of rescue—behind.

I have one word to summarize my review for The Undying: Wow!

My dream city, Paris, plus apocalypse and les moribund, now that's something new. (At least for me! Haha!)

If you've read romance, contemporary, or historical fiction novels set in Paris, and through reading, you've toured the city, why not make another tour? But this time with a good supply of adrenaline?

The Undying is fast-paced and action-packed, with the events in the apocalypse happening in one day. If I remember correctly, there were six parts in the apocalypse. Imagine experiencing them in less than 24 hours. For a novel with only ~270 pages, it can be overwhelming but I liked it nonetheless. I was one with the characters, experiencing their confusion and panic.

I just wished there were concrete explanations and reasons as to why and how the horrible events happened. The book gave conjectures but I don't remember reading the real reason. And I think The Undying is a stand-alone novel, so no explanation for me? Haha!

Anyway, the action was also levelled by flashbacks on Jeanie's and Ben's lives. Those scenes made me understand and connect with the characters better. They also served as breaks so as to prevent my adrenaline rush to go berserk. Haha!

The Undying also has an open ending but I'm quite okay with that. Only very slightly okay. A sequel would be really, really nice though. You know just to explain and conclude things? It'd be nice to know what happened to others. Haha!

Yes, the characters! They're written really well. I felt their emotions like I was with them during the apocalypse. I liked how Jeanie won against her guilt and depression, how she fought and became brave not only for herself but also for the ones she cared about. And dear Ben, I totally felt what Jeanie went through. *sigh*

I liked the style of writing. It was easy to read and easy to picture the scenarios. I liked that some dialogues were in French, giving me a more 'I'm in Paris' vibe. I also liked the different POVs and the shifting of scenes between the apocalypse and the life before it started. They gave me perspectives on different characters; and I was able to understand them better.

Overall, I really enjoyed reading this book. I definitely recommend The Undying to those who like/love reading about apocalypse, zombies and Paris! :)

Born in Spokane, Washington, Ethan Reid is a former television news producer with a BA in writing from the University of Washington and an MFA in professional writing from the University of Southern California. He lives in Seattle, Washington, with his wife and son.