I made a huge mistake. That mistake was reading Doll Parts, the sequel to Drop Dead Gorgeous, before reading this one. It wasn’t that I didn’t enjoy Doll Parts, but the whole way through it really did feel like I was missing something. Luckily, I read Drop Dead Gorgeous and all those missing pieces finally fell into place.
Drop Dead Gorgeous tells the stories of various people, after the whole world around them seems to have died. The characters range from school-kids to messed up twenty-something’s to a washed up, older DJ. It also tracks a former IRA member as she joins a soldier, leading a group of people to safety.
Each group of survivors have their own issues and kinks to work out. Some have pretty dark pasts, and it seems that this event could help them rebuild a new life. Others have to learn how to cope with each other, especially Mairead and Roy, who find a young girl in a school building and who then act as her parents. A truce is made between them, but it’s a truce that cannot last, as Roy tries to ensure the safety of the community and Mairead witnesses the true extent he will go to for this.
This is not a zombie apocalypse novel. Instead of showing us these characters facing off against a horde of the undead, we see a much more bleak view. We see what they’re like when there are no enemies, no one to fight, just a daily struggle to live and find a reason to keep going. And we see the way humans turn against each other, even without any sort of outside threat to force them to do so.
There are zombies, of a sort. But they don’t creep in until the end, and they’re presented in a much more unique way than the shambling corpses we’ve come to know. Instead, these creatures seem to possess some sort of reasoning, clinging onto memories and acting accordingly. It’s a much more interesting look, and a haunting one, as they stalk their prey and go for those who have done them harm, rather than simply attacking any living, breathing thing in sight.
Drop Dead Gorgeous shows humanity at its worst, and yet still offers small glimmers of hope as characters fall in love and in some cases, really do look out for each other. Even the characters that make the worst decisions do it in what they believe to be the best interests of the others around them, even when totally misguided in that. It’s a brilliant book, a must for any fans of horror.