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Summary

Rhiannon Frater's As the World Dies trilogy is an Internet sensation. The first two books, The First Days and Fighting to Survive, have won the Dead Letter Award for Best Novel from Mail Order Zombie. The First Days was named one of the Best Zombie Books of the Decade by the Harrisburg Book Examiner. And AmericanHorrorBlog calls Rhiannon Frater "a writer to watch".

The morning that the world ends, Katie is getting ready for court and housewife Jenni is taking care of her family. Less than two hours later, they are fleeing for their lives from a zombie horde. Thrown together by circumstance, Jenni and Katie become a powerful zombie-killing partnership, mowing down zombies as they rescue Jenni's stepson, Jason, from an infected campground. They find sanctuary in a tiny, roughly fortified Texas town. There Jenni and Katie find they are both attracted to Travis, leader of the survivors; and the refugees must slaughter people they know, who have returned in zombie form.

Fast-paced and exciting, filled with characters who grab your heart, The First Days: As the World Dies is the beginning of a frightening trilogy.

©2008, 2011 Rhiannon Frater (P)2011 Audible, Inc.

Critic reviews

"One of the few zombie novels fueled by the power of feminine protagonists in an apocalyptic world gone wrong." ( Harrisburg Book Examiner)

What listeners say about The First Days

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars

Entertaining

I cant believe somebody reviewed this book who doesnt like zombie stories and bought it by accident - how useless is that? I found this book very well read and easy to listen too. It isnt scary but I never thought it was meant to be. It is a story about people and how they react to an unreal situation and it interested and entertained me enough to buy the second book before I completely finished the first (so I could get right on to the next part of the story).

6 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars

Not so terribly bad...

Ok, this is not a bad book but more your mediocre attempt at zombie literature. She writes well enough but unfortunately it is full of clichés, it is very very predictable and of course, the good guys all stay alive. It is entertaining enough but if you're a serious reder of zombie horror, avoid this at all costs. If you like teen supernatural readings like Twilight and such, go for it!

3 people found this helpful

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Not my cup of tea

What disappointed you about The First Days?

Pretty much everything. I don't know why this is so popular, because this book to me had very few good qualities. Some of the problems, in my opinion:

1) The time scale does not match the character development, and within a couple days the main characters have developed a very close relationship, rescued someone, killed loads of zombies, witnessed several humans-turning-zombie-events, met other survivors and ended up in a colony that somehow has had the time to build a sort of fort. The plot is on speed while the actual time scale is in no rush at all.

2) Emotions. There are far too many of them. Or rather, the author has this need to describe them far too often. Don't get me wrong, if there's something that there is a lot of in a situation like this, it has got to be emotions. And zombies. However... Every little bit of emotion, whether its fear/sadness in some zombie-situation or jealousy/anger/love/lust in social situations, we hear about it. In detail. This kills all the mystery, leaving the characters fairly uninteresting, and their personalities feel constructed. End result: I didn't connect with any of them.

3) And quite frankly, this is a total zombie soap opera. I drew a little map of who wants who, and who doesn't want who at a particular time, but then changes their mind again later, and who tells who their secrets, and who feels this then, but that now, and it goes on and on. Not at all my sorta thing, far too tedious and unnecessary.

4) Although it does have it's moments now and then, most attempts at humour falls flat. For example, there's a scene where three grown men, two of which are the central "dream guys" (characters tend to be either perfect or completely flawed, with an exception in Jenni, who's a complete lunatic - but very pretty, so its okay), are going out to get supplies. Only, they can't get it all, because tampons are embarrassing. No, seriously, they have to bring Katie along, because they are too embarrassed to go out there - in a zombie infested world where you risk your life just by being alive - and pick up a feminine hygiene product. ARE YOU KIDDING ME?! This would have been funny if they were joking about it, or if they were genuinly embarrassed, but able to pick it up anyway. But no. These three knuckleheads need to risk one extra life and bring the woman with them. This was so unrealistic to me that I actually got angry. I don't know a single man that's that useless, and Rhiannon Frater puts three of them in this book. How on earth does she justify this?

Would you ever listen to anything by Rhiannon Frater again?

If this is anything to go by, then no.

Have you listened to any of Cassandra Campbell’s other performances? How does this one compare?

No, I haven't, but the narrator was the best part about this book, so I certainly won't mind listening to anything else read by her.

What reaction did this book spark in you? Anger, sadness, disappointment?

Mostly disappointment and confusion at how this gets good ratings.

Any additional comments?

(Too) fast-paced action with too many unrealistic scenes and too much noise (emotions and drama) to be anywhere near as good as it could have been.

2 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Excellent listen

really enjoyed this. narrated brilliantly.....kept me on the edge of my seat and had to immediately download second book in series.

1 person found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Barbara Cartland does Thelma and Louise vs Zombies

Clearly written by a woman for women. Oestrogen fuelled yarn exploring femenine concerns that the zombie apocalyopse may present...

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars

Mixed feelings

First a warning: as a new father I found the opening scenes so distressing I almost stopped.

Overall I was interested in the characters development and enjoyed the zombie apocalypse elements of the story. Occasionally I felt like I had accidentally strayed into a mills and boon which I personally found stylistically jarring.

1 person found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Thelma and Louise Do The Apocalypse

🧡 Just to clarify, I loved Thelma and Louise. And this is just as fun. You’ve got the two very different women who form a strong bond and the obstacles (zombies, love rivalries, zombies) that get in their way.

💚 The tone is slightly more sugary than I usually like and it’s heavy on the romance, but overall this is primarily a zombie adventure with an optimistic bent.

💜 It ends on a cliffhanger for the next book, so prepare to be hooked.
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SOUNDBITE

🎧 The production is simple and well done. The soothing, silky narration is courtesy of audiobooks vet, Cassandra Campbell, whose Southern lilt is basically poetry. One narrator, who knows her stuff, meaning that I could picture every character. There was only one accent which was slightly off, but I’ll allow it.
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SHALL I COMPARE THEE TO...

If you like this, try The Cascadia Series by: Sarah Lyons Fleming. The End of Everything by Christopher Artinian also has some similarities. Oh, and Thelma and Louise. Natch.

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best book I've read

loved it couldn't not listen to it every night looking forward to more books like this

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Nice enough listen.

Decent characters and nice narration. didn't do it in one go, I had to leave it and come back to it as it didn't hold my intrest all the way. I got through it and I’m sure you'll enjoy it.

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One of the best stories ever.

This truly is one of the best stories and what read so well .just loved it

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    2 out of 5 stars
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  • Garth
  • 08-02-12

Not for my demographic

Any additional comments?

I love a good Zombie story / end of the world. This is OK but I think it's really geared towards young women not a guy in his 30's... I like story's that talk about tactics, food supply problems, society falling apart... This one breezes over most of the things I like and tends to focus on the emotions of the two young women and how the strong hard working guys look....

75 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
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  • crazybatcow
  • 24-04-13

I'd pick another series...

The names of the first two characters starts the story off confusingly - Katie and Jenny - and it went downhill from there. And I'm not convinced the author kept the characters straight either: it felt like sometimes Jenny was the hysterical useless twit, and at others it was Katie. Unless both women were supposed to be hysterical twits?? perhaps...

Jenny is an abused wife, but this felt like a feminism 101 version of spousal abuse. Jenny recollects how she was planning to leave her hubby, then a few pages later, she goes on about what a terrible wife and mother she was, and how much she needed a "strong" person (aka Katie) to follow. It's like the author read a book about how abused women behaved, and tried to incorporate this into the book. Including a moment where Jenny was going to "pay back" Katie by offering her sex. It didn't feel real - especially since I'm pretty sure women don't turn lesbian in a matter of a few hours.

And Katie says when offered the opportunity to join an armed group: "I think we're better off on our own"??? are you nuts? Yeah, sure... a couple of people against the world - it's even irrelevant that they are both women... nobody wants to face a zombie apocalypse with just one other person at their back. (Of course, the next day, they're all gung-ho to join a group...the reader is not told what stimulated this sudden change of mind.)

Then when they finally find a place where they think they'll settle down to stay (the author - I mean Katie - tells us directly that they want to stay here)... all of a sudden Katie (a lesbian) realizes that she has felt a connection and "feeling that they have a future together" with a man she met 30 seconds ago. Err... I'm not clear if this is meant to show that lesbians turn straight when necessary, or...

It is one of the more poorly plotted (two women take a road trip through the zombie horde, then they take another one), stereotyped (lesbian and abused wife), and repetitive (enter building, fight zombie, run to truck, run over zombie, rinse and repeat) zombie books I've read. I decline to read any more in this series.

Try Mark Tufo's zombie books if you want this type of story with better plotting and characters who act more like normal people would. Or Grant's Deadline series if you like more conspiratorial zombies. Or the Day by Day Armageddon series for a journal style one, or the Undead Situation for a one-off zombie book... they're all better written.

57 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Sandy
  • 17-11-11

Tiny Fingers

"Tiny fingers. So small. So very, very small. The fingers pressed under the front door of her home were so very small. She could not stop staring at those baby fingers straining frantically to reach her as she stood shivering on the porch".
This is the opening to "The First Days" and Ms. Frater had me hooked with them. Personally, I think it's probably the best opening lines I have ever read, and the book lived up to my expectations. It's a fantastic read with an excellent narrator. If you are a zombie fan, or even if you aren't, this is still one of the better books I've heard. I've already downloaded the second book in the series and started listening to it

20 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
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  • Markku
  • 23-12-11

waste of time

what started out as a great apocalyptic zombie novel turned into a harlequin romance novel...these women are more concerned about the cute guys than they are surviving and mourning their families

16 people found this helpful

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    1 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars
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  • Brooke
  • 27-07-12

Don't bother wasting a credit

This book wasn’t for you, but who do you think might enjoy it more?

I think this book would be enjoyed by pre-teens or teenage girls as the authors writing has a "juvenile" tone. Definitely not worth listening to unless you enjoy banal conversations about hooking up with "hot" construction workers while zombies moan in the background. The author tries to show the emotional struggle of one of the main characters between staying faithful to her now dead wife or hooking up with the hot guy she's just met a couple of weeks ago and it falls flat. The other female character constantly goes between clutching at her female friend for comfort, to jealous cow and then to zombie killing b*tch in an unrealistic manor.

Has The First Days turned you off from other books in this genre?

I enjoy post-apocalypse novels of all types (nuclear, zombie, disease etc) so no this book didn't turn me off the genre as a whole but I certainly will read a few more reviews before buying again. If you're looking for some good post-apocalypse novels try "Cell" (kind zombie-esque), "The Road", "Swan Song", "The Stand", "The Hunger Games Trilogy", "The Long Walk", or "The Children of Men".

You didn’t love this book... but did it have any redeeming qualities?

The only redeeming quality is the general premise of the story and that's about it.

8 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Mike Naka
  • 14-07-13

great 1st half, ok 2nd half

Any additional comments?


wow! what a creepy beginning! jenni, dressed only in her bath robe, is half catatonic, standing on her front porch watching little fingers reaching for her under the door. the fingers desperately trying to find purchase of her flesh is her youngest child, who has come back to life after being half eaten by his own father. around jenni, the whole neighborhood is in chaos. jenni is so traumatized by what has just happened that she can't move.

katie, a prosecutor, is on her way to work in her convertible bmw when she's confronted by a mob of the undead running up the street. a kindly old man saves her, and his dying words are, go! go! go!" in her flight from town, katie ends up in jenni's neighborhood and watches in horror as a stunned jenni just stands there as her husband and eldest son break through the bay window to feast on jenni's flesh.

katie, now driving the old man's truck, rescues jenni before her family can eat her, and they flee the neighborhood. the first half of the story revolves around jenni and katie fleeing the city and heading into the country. i liked this part b/c it was tension-filled, seeing if they could stay ahead of the infection that's spiraling out of control.

after jenni and katie rescue jenni's stepson, jason, a hoard of zombies forces them to change their planned route back to their safe house. fleeing the zombie swarm, they find sanctuary in a small town that started fortifying itself as soon as the first zombies attacked.

there's a lot of tension that ebbs and flows and culminates in their final push to safety behind the town's hastily erected walls. the story then takes a breather as jenni, katie, and jason are introduced to the town and people there.

the story slows down and then becomes something a kin to a love story. jenni and katie are both attracted to the same man, travis, who is the de facto leader of the town.

i won't divulge to many details, but i'm not sure if i believe the transformation of jenni's character. then again, i'm not familiar with the psychology of abused women. mix in a zombie apocylapse, and she's more of a teen girl with a serious crush and a penchant for putting her life on the line than a mother and a survivor.

while jenni's displaying adhd, katie's pining away for her wife, lydia, which kind of makes the love triangle interesting since katie's branded a lesbian by the whole town.

there is zombie action in the second half of the story, and it is made more interesting by the fact that some zombies seem to be smart. but the second half of the story is dominated by interpersonal and intrapersonal conflict.

character flaws aside, i enjoyed the story. i know most zombie stories have one dimensional characters so perhaps, i'm a little more critical in my review of the main characters in this story b/c i became attached to them in the very beginning.

even though i liked this story, i don't have a burning desire to download the second book. there are a couple of other books that i've got my eyes on. so if i do run out of zombie stories to listen to, i may come back to the series.

7 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars
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  • Anand
  • 20-02-12

*The * Worst * Narration: EVER

Some novels are narrated by people who are gifted natural story tellers.

Like the ones for James herriot. Others are the worst kind: like the wheezing one for Stalingrad by Antony Beevor. The Books on Tape version of the same book was brilliantly narrated by another person.

Am going to ask Audible to refund he credit and take back this audio book.

7 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Susan Wright
  • 31-12-11

I love This Series Bring it on Zompocalypse

What did you love best about The First Days?

The characters were well developed and there was hardly any down time or calmness.
I think guns and zombies go together perfectly, so it's all good!!

7 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
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  • Greg
  • 15-12-11

Could've been better

What would have made The First Days better?

I just felt the book was just filler in between two covers. The main character I just couldn't get into, I enjoyed the abused housewife character that should of been more explored and centralized. This book just lacked something to me.

What do you think your next listen will be?

something better, maybe a repeat of

What does Cassandra Campbell bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

good voice acting ?

What reaction did this book spark in you? Anger, sadness, disappointment?

Disappointment in time I will never get back

Any additional comments?

I would look into the morning star strain, day by day armageddon, or even One Second After by William R. Forstchen.

7 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Audio Audits
  • 14-11-11

Amazing

What a fantastic story, it held my attention from the beginning. Such complex characters, and totally believable. I'm downloading the next installment right now! What are you waiting for?

7 people found this helpful