Book Review: The Reapers are the Angels, by Alden Bell

I told sj I was going to read this for Zombruary five years ago…

…and guess what never happened? One, I never got around to reading The Reapers are the Angels. Two, we never read the sequel together. Oops. Heh.

But I read TRatA this year, and I loved it, just like sj said I would. She never steers me wrong.

Zombies have infested a fallen America. A young girl named Temple is on the run. Haunted by her past and pursued by a killer, Temple is surrounded by death and danger, hoping to be set free.

For twenty-five years, civilization has survived in meager enclaves, guarded against a plague of the dead. Temple wanders this blighted landscape, keeping to herself – and keeping her demons inside. She can’t remember a time before the zombies, but she does remember an old man who took her in and the younger brother she cared for until the tragedy that set her on a personal journey toward redemption. Moving back and forth between the insulated remnants of society and the brutal frontier beyond, Temple must decide where ultimately to make a home and find the salvation she seeks.


TRatA has the best opening scene I’ve read in a while, and probably the best zombie introduction. When we meet 15-year-old Temple, she’s living in a lighthouse on an island off the coast of Florida. We don’t really get the idea that there has been an apocalypse and that Temple is living there in an attempt to hide or be safe, and it sounds like the ideal life. So relaxing. So beautiful. And then Temple finds a body washed up on shore…and it looks dead…and then it moves. The whole opening scene is great.

I don’t know that I’ve read a zombie book that’s taken place 25 years after the initial infection and meltdown (sj will let me know if I’m wrong). Temple is only 15, so this zombie-infected world is the only one she’s ever known, and she’s had to grow up super fast. She is more introspective, experienced, tough, and resourceful than many adults I know. Her favorite weapon is a gurkha knife. But that made me feel bad for her, too. She’s never had a carefree childhood. She’s never really been able to just chill and be a kid. And her self-analysis is heartbreaking. She doesn’t believe there is anything good in her…she believes she is thoroughly evil and that she has no chance for redemption.

But you guys, Temple calls zombies “meatskins.” MEATSKINS. That might be the best nickname for them I’ve come across, and it’s so accurate.

Oh! And there is another brand of “monster” in this book that I’m not going to give any spoilers about, but they are something else. I thought I knew where the story was going, and then…

Seriously off the rails…in the best, most disturbing way. But you’ll have to read the book to find out what I’m talking about.

And then there’s the man who wants to kill Temple as a matter of revenge, and though he’s meant to be the bad guy, it’s hard to hate him completely. He’s…complicated.

The Reapers are the Angels is another one I highly recommend if you are into zombie fiction. Good story, interesting characters, and it just might hit you right in the feels.

5 thoughts on “Book Review: The Reapers are the Angels, by Alden Bell

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