Monsters generally know their place: vampires get to be sexy while zombies just decompose. But Maggie La Croix’s Zombified conjures up an entirely different kind of undead raised by good old-fashioned Voodoo. These gorgeous walking corpses don’t eat brain, they don’t stagger, and their bodies are spared the indignities of putrefaction.
Take Henri Jolicoeur. More than one hundred years after his death he is still a bewitching Adonis. But zombification does have its downsides. Henri has a master, a powerful Voodoo priest whose spells keep Henri, his teenage zombie sister, and five other poor souls in perpetual servitude.
That is, until a hurricane devastates their New Orleans home and the zombies are evacuated to the Texas border town of El Paso. The curse is broken. They are free and intend to stay that way. But how can they pass for human when they don’t eat or sleep and they’re reeling from black magic withdrawal? If that isn’t enough, they have a traitor in their midst, their master is hot on their trail, and a mysterious stranger in black is watching.
Enter Josie Cortez, a cowboy boots-wearing reporter at the local newspaper who desperately needs a good story to save her moribund career and get her editor off her back. One look at Henri and his weird little family and she knows she’s struck journalism gold. But strange things keep happening around Henri, things that remind Josie of her own tragic family history with black magic, a history that cost her her beloved mother and led Josie straight to the bottom of a bottle. Josie would rather forget all about that. Forgetting Henri, however, is easier said than done, even if falling for a man without a heartbeat could get her more than a broken heart. It could get her zombified.
I have to admit that I struggled with this book. I don’t know what it was, but I found myself putting it down a lot.
I don’t think it was Josie as I found her very relateable due to the issues she has and the way she tries to hide from them in a bottle (or three) of liquor and with one night stands. It’s a coping mechanism many people use and she comes across as a very real person in that sense.
I also don’t think its Henri and his ‘family’, who are relocated to Texas after their home in New Orleans is destroyed by Hurricane Katrina. No one realises that they’re a bit ‘different’ – I mean, these zombies are pretty dang good looking. I admit to being a little confused during some of the interaction between this family at times, but I was soon drawn into their search for freedom from their master, Balthazar.
The concept of the story is great, afterall, we all expect zombies to look and act a certain way, but these are very different. It may not work for some (in the same way sparkly vampires don’t), but I think they will gather some great attention from readers.
LaCroix’s writing style is fairly easy to get on with, even if in places I found she fell into the trap of overdescribing things which often came across as a little awkward. Thankfully, this didn’t distract from my enjoyment of the story, I just found it didn’t hold my attention for long periods of time the way many books do.