Top 13 Best Zombie Books To Give You Goosebumps
Zombie stories have definitely gone better overtime. There are a few good classics, indeed. Then, there was a time when every zombie story felt more like a cheap comedy, only for a new wave of books to take these stories to another level. These days, you can easily switch between classics and modern books without feeling a drop in quality. All in all, here are some of the best zombie books to make your heart race.
The Chronicles of Marco the Zombie, by Martin John
We simply loved the concept behind this freshly released book. If you aren't the fan of The Walking Dead and psychological dark zombie stories, this book is definitely the choice of yours. The author utilized humor as the way to engage readers, and it works great. You don't even notice and the book already hooked you.
The story starts in the near future in a world where zombies are part of the everyday of the military. They are treated like slaves, without having any freedom or rights at all. But in the reality they have their own intentions and dreams. Our protagonist, Marco is part of this zombie group, but truth to be told he isn't the sharpest tool in the shed, which brings him into odd and somewhere funny situations.
When the Chinese Embassy in D.C. have been attacked by mercenaries, the undead army finally gets their “life” – or “death” – deciding mission. Marco needs to choose between saving the hostage or his kind. What is right in this situation, well Marco definitely finds it out.
One thing is sure, the author brought zombie comedies into a whole other level. If you are burned out with zombie apocalypses, Martin's gritty novel will definitely find it's place on your shelf.
World War Z, by Max Brooks
The story follows an idea that seems to threaten humanity more than ever – a full eradication of the humankind. The story is told like a documentary, meaning you feel like being part of the action. It goes through massive cities that used to host millions of people to inhospitable places where death is round the corner – facing creatures that are ready to trigger horror and fear in anyone.
The story takes the reader throughout the whole world. It begins somewhere in China, where the first patient was discovered. From that point on, you go through North America and even to the southern part of Africa. The zombie was described in clear and horrific details, providing an excellent scenario for those who are hungry for action and post-apocalyptic ideas.
The world is heavily damaged and while many governments overlook the thread, some countries take quarantine very seriously. From many points of view, this book feels like a realistic news report. Things seem to go in the right direction in the long run though, but no one can tell how this war will really end. One thing is for sure though – there is plenty of hope for the survivors.
Zone One, by Colson Whitehead
Zone One feels extremely realistic, but it also has a chilling nature that will make your heart beat faster. The novel has a post-apocalyptic profile and the action takes place after a serious pandemic has ruined the planet. The plague has affected people and split the population in two different groups – the ones who have not been infected yet and the living dead.
The plague seems to recede and the USA is busy rebuilding the country. The main mission is to resettle Manhattan, seen as a central point of the country. The so called Zone One is somewhere close to the Canal Street and the army has successfully managed to secure it. But then, the plague is not over and civilians are still in danger.
The novel alternates between two different times as it follows Mark's story – his past struggling to survive and his current situation. The reader gets to find out more about what led to the plague, not to mention about the struggle to rebuild the world. And then, when everything seems to improve, things start going wrong again – what is going to happen?
Feed, by Mira Grant
You might find this book written by Seanan McGuire too – Mira Grant is just a pen name. The action took place somewhere in 2014. By that time, the humankind has managed to find a way to cure cancer – great news. The common cold is no longer there, as it has been eradicated. However, one thing leads to another and the world is now facing another thread – something that nothing might be able to stop.
This new infection spreads faster than plague and it seems impossible to control. The virus takes over both minds and bodies and there is only one issue behind the infected – the need to feed all the time. There are 20 years since the so called Rising and two bloggers are up to discover the truth – this is when Georgia and Shaun's story begins.
The duo must try to find what happened with the plague. What led to this disaster? Based on their clues, it might have been a terrible conspiracy. They are ready to discover the truth and make it public, even if that means they would have to sacrifice themselves. Will they manage to survive after all? Will they find anything about the new virus?
The Forest Of Hands And Teeth, by Carrie Ryan
Mary has grown in a very strict environment and knows the rules of life very well. There are three groups out there and each of them has a specific role. The Sisterhood is the main one and always knows what is right and what is wrong. Then, you have the Guardians, whose only role is to serve and protect the ones in need. Finally, the Unconsecrated are less likely to relent – ever.
Besides, there is a fence behind her village – this is her border. The fence is what protects the village and its inhabitants against whatever lives in that forest. However, as she grows, Mary discovers that these rules can be bent and they’re not always right. She discovers things that challenge her beliefs and conception about life, as well as a bunch of secrets that can change everything.
Then, things go wrong and the fence is breached. Her whole world seems to tear apart. She needs to make a serious choice – will she choose the village? Will she consider her own future instead? Then, as new secrets are revealed, she finds out more about the surrounding forest. Could there be another life in the woods? Is there any truth behind the mystery associated with the forest?
The Girl With All The Gifts, by Mike Carey
The Girl With All The Gifts is one of the best zombie books if you like the tension associated with not knowing. It lets your imagination run wild and it allows your mind to stir fear and horror. The story follows Melanie. She stands out in the crowd because of her special gifts. In fact, she is so special that local doctor Caldwell calls her a little genius.
Melanie's life is far from normal. She waits in a cell morning by morning to be collected and taken to school. Sergeant Parks and two guards take her over day by day. He points a gun at her, while the guards tie her into a wheelchair. She knows they do not like her and she tries to make jokes about it, but no one seems to find her funny.
Melanie is quite normal in her eyes. She loves going to school and she enjoys learning about the surrounding world. But whenever she tells Miss Justineau about her future plans and goals when she will grow up, the teacher's eyes look sad. Where is the catch then? What is the story behind Melanie's problems?
Rot & Ruin, by Jonathan Maberry
Jonathan Maberry has managed to come up with a masterpiece. There are more books in this collection and this is the first one. Chances are once you go through it, you will devour the others a well. All in all, the story takes the reader to the USA, but things are far from normal. In fact, the world has a post-apocalyptic atmosphere due to a zombie invasion.
The story goes to Benny Imura. Local rules are quite strict. Teenagers are supported until they turn 15. Once they reach this age, they must get to work. Otherwise, their food rations are cut in half. Benny's future seems sealed already. His older brother Tom is already a zombie hunter and chances are Benny will become his apprentice, but he does not really fancy the idea.
Not only is his brother too boring for his style, but he also rejects the idea of hunting and killing zombies for money. However, the young teenager has no choice but to go for it. Things change to 180 degrees though. Instead of a boring and risky adventure, he ends up discovering his real vocation – the type of mindset that will change his perception on the world.
Warm Bodies, by Isaac Marion
Warm Bodies has become an instant hit when it came out – the first book in a comprehensive series. The story follows R. However, his life is far from exciting – in fact, he is having a no life crisis caused by the fact that he is a zombie. There are no memories in his brain, so he has no clue what the past was like. He also has no pulse, not to mention his identity. However, he is different from other zombies.
R has different hobbies. While most other zombies would rather hunt people, he likes to ride escalators for fun in abandoned airports. Sure, he will eat people and feed himself every now and then, but his main goal is to chill in his comfortable abandoned 747 plane, playing Frank Sinatra. He also likes to explore the world and collect souvenirs of a lost civilization.
Then, Julie kicks in and steps into his life. At first, R is a bit anxious about her, but she aims to change everything. Initially, she is a captive. Later on, she brings a bit of color in his life. He does not want to eat her – despite her delicious appearance. Instead, he tries to protect her. However, their bond is quite hopeless, as no one would agree with such a relationship. This is when things start going wrong.
Patient Zero, by Jonathan Maberry
Patient Zero is the first book in Jonathan Maberry's series and it draws a fine line between zombie horror, suspense and mystery. The story tells you something is wrong in a very obvious way. If you have to kill the same terrorist twice within one week, something is obviously wrong. It could be something about your skills or perhaps the reality you live in. But Joe Ledger knows there is nothing wrong about his work.
The Baltimore detective has been recruited by the government to handle problems that other agencies cannot. The so called DMS group has to handle safety and security related problems and brings in some of the most experienced people in the USA. The first challenge is a tedious task and no matter how hard they try, things seem to go in the wrong direction.
The mission involves dealing with a group of terrorists aiming to release a powerful chemical weapon. Once released, the weapon will destroy humanity by turning people into zombies. Things seem to go from bad to worse, as the terrorists have a secret that nobody knows about. Will Joe manage to save the world after all?
Day By Day Armageddon, by J. L. Bourne
Day By Day Armageddon brings in zombie related action and post-apocalyptic issues, but the book is written as a journal. It is a day by day journal written in a personal experience that will put you in the hero's boots straight away. The journal depicts a man's struggle to survive in a world that is about to collapse under a problematic new plague.
The new plague hits out of nowhere and affects more and more people. It spreads extremely fast and armies of undead people unfold and aim to take over. The dead are slowly becoming the new dominant species on the planet and no one seems to stop them. There are no doubts about it, but every person out there tries their best to survive the apocalypse.
The journal tells a dramatic story from a survivor's point of view. He must make decisions. He must go in one way or another in order to survive. He knows that a simple mistake could turn him into a walking dead and he does make some, as no one really knows anything about this new species. His story is thrilling, but also full of suspense.
Monster Island, by David Wellington
Monster Island is one of the best zombie books if you are into pandemic disasters and how they affect people – also the first part in a more comprehensive series. The action takes place about a month after an incredible disaster. The most advanced countries in the world are no longer up there, as they are now invaded and run by masses of zombies.
A few communities here and there manage to survive – usually, the heavy militarized countries, such as Somalia. New York City, on the other hand, is facing an apocalypse. But one of these zombies stands out. Gary Fleck has managed to retain the human intelligence and can still understand what is going on, yet he feels alone in a world of brainless zombies.
The action moves to the other side of the world, where a group of young girls turns into soldiers in order to survive. They are desperately looking for medicine and they are guided by Dekalb, a former weapons inspector. They think they are ready for everything, but things change when they reach the so called Monster Island.
This Is Not A Test, by Courtney Summers
This Is Not A Test is the first book in a series that will keep you hoping until the end. There are no doubts about it – the world is about to collapse. This is the end. While everyone tries to survive, people are slowly disappearing or changing. But six students think they can be stronger together, so they take cover in a little shelter. However, the walking dead outside knows they are in there and keep trying to break in.
The infection is fairly simple to spread – a single bite will turn them into zombies. Sloane Price does not care much – her world was dead anyway and she finds this opportunity the perfect time to quit on life. However, as she is waiting to die, she has to see the world through five other people who are actually trying to survive.
With time, priorities for life change a little. The group members realize that their survival does not necessarily depend on what is going on outside. Instead, everything comes from within and the violence associated with the group is what keeps things going. Will they find a way to survive or will they actually fall under the zombie attack?
Cell, by Stephen King
Released in 2006, Cell has also had a movie version about a decade later. The story depicts a falling world as a virus is transmitted through cellphones. In other words, those who use mobile phones are turned into mindless animals who kill uninfected people.
The hero notices something is wrong as people around him turn into zombies. Clayton Riddell is a struggling artist who has to travel to publish a novel. But as the world changes, he needs to do whatever it takes to find his kid back home.
He teams up with a couple of other people in the attempt to survive. As they travel, they learn more things about how zombies operate, but they also meet a few other survivors.
Bottom line, these are some of the best zombie books to trigger your imagination and fill your heart with suspense. Obviously, the list could go a bit further, but these are the must read books if you are a zombie apocalypse fan.