Solid Zombie Fiction: The Last Letter, by WB Welch and Tory Hunter
It’s been a long time since I’ve read a zombie book.
Likely, the last zombie book I read was World War Z, a phenomenal work of literature (movie is lame) that may have killed the genre for me.
The truth is, zombie fiction is something I used to dig (I played Resident Evil quite a bit as a kid), yet now . . . it doesn’t interest me.
However, I read WB Welch’s Blood Drops and knew she had a talent for writing. Tory Hunter’s an unknown when it comes to her writing style, but it’s not like we avoid debut authors on the Two Doctors Review! Actually, it’s somewhat our thing.
The Last Letter is perfect for readers new to the zombie genre and an ideal reintroduction for fans who believe it peaked with World War Z. It’s funny, because I’m literally taking my copy of World War Z to Half Price Books this weekend. In a few days, I’ll get my paperback of The Last Letter, replacing it as my zombie book on my shelf.
WB Welch and Tory Hunter provide a well-researched snippet into what a world might look like after a zombie apocalypse. The zombies themselves aren’t the stars; its the characters, and the life they’re trying to live, sending letters back and forth to one another along their street. The book’s length is perfect; one of the greatest critiques of The Walking Dead is how freaking long it is. The show never stops! But if you want your quick zombie fix, The Last Letter provides.
As a side note, I’m really intrigued to know which author wrote for each character. I imagine they had a lot of fun writing back and forth; I’d be interested to know if they even outlined the story, or wrote their letters in response to what the other writer sent back! If so, sounds like a writing experiment I’d love to try.
Anyway, on to the scores.
Writing: 9/10. It’s seamless. You know you’re reading letters from the start, and they always feel like letters, but both authors effectively interweave narrative and plot into the letters.
Character: 10/10. The two letter-writers are wonderful, each with their own personalities. And the other characters surrounding them on the street are great, too! I especially loved Herb. Oh Herb. As a whole, it reminded me of the board game, Dead of Winter.
Setting: 7/10. There’s nothing special about the setting of The Last Letter, but it’s a solid zombie setting. And it feels fleshed out. I enjoyed the details regarding the debilitating conditions in some of the houses. Made it feel like time was passing.
Plot: 6/10. The weakest part of the book, the motivations of some of the other characters were never entirely clear to me, nor the initial relationships along the street. They’re solid, and the story doesn’t hinge on the plot (it’s more about the experience of living in the zombie apocalypse), but I also felt like I could see the ending coming after the halfway point.
Overall: 8/10. A solid four star rating, The Last Letter reminded me why I loved the zombie genre in high school. For readers looking for a return to classic zombie fiction, or a story written in an alternative format similar to World War Z, The Last Letter is for you!