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 would like to thank the publisher, Simon & Schuster, and NetGalley for the copy in exchange for an honest review.
Zombie vampires in Paris. Sounds interesting. Only, it took me three tries to get into the story and finally able to finish it and even then I was struggling. The story just can’t seem to grab my attention the way I hoped it would and I had to abandon it a couple of times. The undying tells Jeanie’s story after coming to Paris to finally deal with the grief of losing her father. Along with her is her good friend, her rock, Ben. While partying with some local friends during New Year’s Eve, Paris was suddenly blanketed by darkness and even electronic devices are not working. Without any idea of what’s happening, they wait it out until morning and found out that Paris is in chaos. Raining fireballs, earthquake, rising temperature, and people panicking and turning against each other. On their way to find a safe place, preferably the US embassy, they met a trapped fellow American who gives a plausible explanation on what is happening and even give them warning of things to come. It sounds like an apocalypse. He asked the group to make sure his family is safe. His wife is in labor and he wants her to know what is going on. Jeanie promised to help but upon going to the hospital, she ended up having the newborn in her care. With the world seeming to end and without a guarantee that they can escape Paris unscatched, it is up to Jeanie to try and keep the baby safe. But it wouldn’t be easy. Especially when there’s more than fireballs and heatwave that they should be worried about. Something monstrous and nightmarish. Because the dead doesn’t stay dead. They come to life again to become these pale vampiric creatures, the moribund or the undying, who preyed on humans.
While I find the plot and the setting quite interesting, I find it hard to fully like the way things played out in the story. It opened to a scene a few months into the aftermath of the apocalypse. Which is fine by me, if only it didn’t spoil the fate of the other characters. By then, I already know who will die and who wouldn’t, so it’s safe to say that I find it of no use to feel invested to the characters that you know will not make it anyway. And though I am still a little intrigued by the story, it took away the surprise for sure. Add to that, the characters are uninteresting and I find it hard to connect to any of them. Not even Jeanie. To me, she seems bland. I would have preferred it if there’s a bit more background about her than the death of her father which has been haunting her even at the apocalypse. And though, I like that it also helps her survival instinct to kick in, I feel like some flashbacks are out of place. Zou Zou, Jeanie’s French friend and whom she considered as family, is someone I find I can root for but is sadly stereotyped as what people presumed how French are. I also don’t get why the French are so hostile to the Americans in this book. There’s this one instance that they were almost refused to enter a safe place because they are Americans. Being surrounded by French who doesn’t speak English and some who does, I can say that I have an idea, no matter how slight, of how they acted. And reading some of the dialogues, it seemed stilted and unnatural. Also, the part where Jeanie miraculously expressed milk within one day of taking the baby is just unrealistic.
If there’s something I like, it is how the undying was presented. These zombie vampires are totally scary. They have this horrifying ability to access one’s mind and instill fear. And while the surprise is gone, there is still some fair amount of suspense. It is the first book of a series but I don’t think I’ll be picking up the next book. The writing is decent though, and in the end, it still turned out to be an okay read for me.