(The Harvesting, #1)
Publication date: January 8th 2014
Genres: Horror, Young Adult, Zombies
It’s all fun and games until someone ends up undead.
Layla Petrovich has spent her whole life running away from her hometown of Hamletville. Raised by the town’s medium, and dubbed the “weird” girl for her fascination with swords, the last thing Layla wants is to go home.
But when she receives a desperate call to return just as a mysterious outbreak sweeps the country, Layla’s instincts urge her to go. Good thing, because the dead are rising.Layla, however, isn’t entirely on her own. With her psychic powers growing, surely everything will turn out okay, right?
Not so fast. Just when Layla believes she might survive the apocalypse, a sinister and ancient force rises from the shadows to finish mankind for good.Because the truth is, we were never alone in this world.
Begin The Harvesting Series with The Harvesting, Book 1.
I’ve already reviewed this book. I hope you don’t mind if I share it again:)
I enjoyed the beginning. I got to know a little about what made Layla tick, and the descriptions about her sword play and discipline were important later on.
The story takes place at the beginning of the apocalypse, which I really liked.
You get to be a part of the confusion, panic, and disbelief. I know it would take a lot to convince me the zombie apocalypse had begun. Maybe one appearing on my front lawn would do it!
Layla gets an urgent phone call from her grandmother telling her she must come home.
When she arrives, the farmhouse has been turned into a gated compound, her grandmother is acting odd, and every available space is packed with supplies.
Her grandmothers cryptic explanations about why she’s doing this leave her confused, but Layla indulges her and helps to get the things on her list.
Before her grandmother can go into detail, people start getting sick. You know the story, don’t panic, this will pass.
Well, it doesn’t and people start dropping like flies. But, then they rise and begin feeding on anyone unlucky enough to be in their path.
All hell breaks loose and even though Layla may be safe in the compound her grandmother built for them, she’ll have to venture out of the gate.
What Layla doesn’t know is, there are other things out there, things that are taking advantage of this world in chaos. They no longer feel they have to hide, and now there is not just zombies stalking the remaining survivors.
The Harvesting is fantastic!
I loved Layla and the author really helped me to connect with her. I liked her toughness, and no-nonsense attitude. You don’t have time to be flighty when the world is ending.
The zombies are zombies. Causing all kinds of mayhem and showing up at the most inopportune times, keeping the action and scares going throughout the book.
Then there are the others. The other things coming out of the woodwork.
I must say, the author really got me. I didn’t expect this story to take the turn it did, but this isn’t your typical zombie story. There’s a psychic element to it and the supernatural bleeds into the story as you read further.
You move from one thing to the next easily, and the author makes it believable, as long as you remember this is fiction.
About the ending. It leaves you hanging, yes. But in a good way, with just enough of a lead to make you have to read the next book.
I can’t wait!
28 Days Later meets 30 Days of Night, with a pinch of True Blood!
I recommend this book to all of you brave fans of horror and the apocalypse and the creatures that come with it.
Enjoy this Excerpt
“If you ever need to slice someone’s head off, this is the blade you want,” I said as I lifted a curved sword off the table in front of me. “We’ve been practicing épée and foil so far, but tonight I want to introduce you to the sabre.” The practice sabre’s curved blade reflected the orange streetlight shining in through the window. A grant from the Smithsonian where I worked allowed me to teach my two passions: ancient weapons and their arts. “The sabre is a slashing weapon,” I continued and then lunged, showing the wide-eyed and excited students a few moves. “And in general, it’s my favorite,” I admitted with a grin.
The students laughed.
“Is that why you have it tattooed on your arm?” Tyler, one of my best fencers, asked.
My hand went unconsciously toward the tattoo. The ink was a sword interlaced with other once-meaningful symbols. “That’s not just any sabre,” I said, mildly embarrassed. “Here, let me show you. I brought something special tonight.” Setting the training sabre down, I lifted a rolled bundle. I laid it down on the table and unrolled it to reveal weapons in various elaborate scabbards.
“Some are épée, foils—you can tell by the hilt—a broadsword, a claymore, a katana, a scimitar, throwing daggers,” I said, pointing, “but this, this is a Russian shashka.” I pulled the shashka from the bundle. “It’s like a traditional sabre, but has no guard. She’s light, single-edged, wielded with one hand, and good for stabbing or slashing. Not awkward in close quarters like a Scottish claymore, but it will kill you just as dead,” I said with a smile. I unsheathed the weapon and gave it an under-and over-hand spin around my head, shoulders, and back.
The students grinned from ear to ear.
I put it back in its scabbard and handed the shashka to them. “Pass it around, but keep in mind it is sharp enough to cut a blade of hair in half.” I then turned my attention to Tyler. “Now, since you’re so interested, let’s see how you do with the sabre.” I tossed one of the training swords to him.
Tyler, already in his gear, jumped up and lowered his fencing mask. “But you’re not in gear,” he said.
I shrugged. “Hit me, if you can.”
We stood at the ready, made the ceremonial bow, and began. Tyler was not overly aggressive, which is partially why he was so successful. He waited for me, moving slowly. He was smart, quick, and often tried to over-tire his opponent.
I waited, dropped my sword a bit, and let him make the lunge. He took the bait.
The swords clanged together, and we clashed back and forth across the strip. He lunged and slashed while I dodged and blocked. He was fast. I was faster. When he lunged again, I ducked. With an upward movement, I went in.
“A hit,” Kasey called.
“Man, that’s what you get for taking on a former state champ—and the teacher,” Trey told Tyler with a laugh.
Tyler pulled off the mask and smiled at me.
Just then, my cell rang. I would usually ignore it, but something told me to answer.
“Everyone pair up and start working with the training sabers,” I said and pointed to the sword rack. I went to my bag and grabbed my cell.
Before I could say hello, she spoke.
“Layla, Grandma needs you to come home,” my grandmother’s voice, thick with Russian accent, came across through static. I was silent for a moment. My grandmother lived 500 miles away, and she never used her telephone. With the exception of her T.V., she hated technology. She’d cried and begged me to take away the microwave I’d purchased for her one Mother’s Day.
“Grandma? What’s wrong?”
“Come home now. Be here tomorrow,” she said. She hung up.
I lowered my cell and stared at it. Confused and worried, I dialed her back. The phone rang, but she did not answer. I had obligations: practice, bills to pay, groceries to buy, tons of work to do, and a date for god-sakes. But my grandmother was the only one I had left in the world.
“Sorry, guys. Emergency,” I called to my students.
Disappointed, they groaned.
“Sorry. Let’s pack it up for the night.” My hands shaking, I slid the shashka back into the bundle and rolled up the weapons. What had happened? Maybe Grandma was sick. Maybe she had some problem. Or maybe she had seen something.
Author Melanie Karsak
Melanie Karsak is the author of The Airship Racing Chronicles, The Harvesting Series, and The Celtic Blood Series. A steampunk connoisseur, zombie whisperer, and heir to the iron throne, the author currently lives in Florida with her husband and two children. She is an Instructor of English at Eastern Florida State College.