Hurwitz takes the classic zombie story and turns it on it’s head. What starts out as seemingly pretty standard zombie fair ends up turning into something more akin to Falling Skies by the final chapters. And that’s not a bad thing. Every genre needs a little bit of new blood now and again and that’s exactly what The Rains offers.
Granted, you don’t know that right away.
The Rains starts out like a lot of zombie stories. You’ve got a pair of brothers named Chance and Patrick Rain who are obviously the titular Rains. They are living a pretty normal life working on their aunt and uncle’s farm in their small farming community. There’s not much going on in Creek’s Battle but they don’t really seem to mind.
But then everything goes to shit.
The adults start turning into eyeless, rampaging monsters hellbent on capturing everyone in town under the age of eighteen. After rescuing Patricks’ girlfriend, the brothers try to rally the survivors together in an attempt to survive. But it’s not that easy – and it’s only going to get more complicated as time passes and the survivors get older.
For some reason, anyone under eighteen is immune to whatever parasite or virus is changing the adults but that doesn’t mean they are safe. The very second someone turns eighteen they become whatever the adults now are – and there doesn’t seem to be any way to stop it. And the kids that are captured? The adults are keeping them alive – for the most part – but for some pretty nefarious reasons.
It becomes pretty clear from very early on that the zombies in The Rains are something very different and part of the fun in reading this book is learning what’s really going on. These aren’t the classic zombies you may know and love and they may not necessarily be zombies but something else entirely. Even though there are some slower moments in this book, you find yourself compelled to keep reading just to find the answers to what’s going on.
Now, I want to point out a few things you may want to know before you decide whether or not to read this book. I say it’s entirely worth it but everyone has their own tastes. And certain things about this book may not appeal to every reader.
First, you’re not going to get all the answers you seek and you need to be okay with that. This book ends on one hell of a cliffhanger and that cliffhanger comes after the whole book basically gets upended. Everything you think you know about what’s going on is challenged and the end of the book essentially sets you up for the next one in the series. If you’re the kind of person that’s bothered by that, you may want to wait until there’s at least one more book out before you check out The Rains.
Second, the book is written as if Chance, our main character, is writing a journal. The book is also written as if it has been left for someone (aka the reader) to find. That last bit is kind of a gimmick but I don’t mind it. You, however, might. And I know that epistolary writing isn’t for everyone. So keep that in mind.
Lastly, the book is pretty gory.
For a young adult novel in which there are elementary school-aged characters there are a lot of kids of all ages being captured and effectively tortured. The descriptions of what happens to them and what happens to the adults who have been zombified are at times pretty graphic.
While I appreciate the fact that Hurwitz isn’t coddling teenage readers and censoring his storytelling simply because of their age, it may not be for everyone. I mean, even I got a little wigged out at some of the descriptions as to what was happening to people.
If none of those issues bother you then give it a read! It’s dark, creepy, and entertaining. It may not be for everyone but the people who do read it should enjoy it and you’ll definitely feel the need to read the next book whenever it comes out. Plus The Rains is a great read as we edge ever closer to Halloween!