by Annie Walls
With the help of her new companions, the path Kansas follows leads to more knowledge of the ever adapting famished. The team finds help in unlikely places, meeting more survivors, and discovers the possibility of a new beginning. When the team experiences a devastating loss, Kansas struggles to keep her humanity from fading and distorting like that of the surviving society around her. It begins with knowing who to trust and who to leave behind. First, she must trust herself – she won't make the same mistakes twice. As the answers to her questions are revealed, Kansas begins to understand the knowledge comes with a heavy price and great responsibility of controlling the dead. In a trilogy plot thick with twists and turns, this adult dark fantasy is as emotional as it is horrifyingly gripping.
Last year Annie Walls blew me away with her post-apocalyptic zombie tale Taking on the Dead. The first in the Famished Trilogy it earned a top spot on my Adult Top-Ten Reads for 2013. As you can imagine, I was drooling in anticipation of Controlling the Dead. My friends, it was well worth the wait. Walls has created a fascinating world with characters that have become family. We see story advancement and character development as Walls holds are emotions captive. Mini review: engaging, action-packed and heart-wrenching.
This review is spoiler free for those who have read Taking on the Dead. The tale jumps straight back into the story, and it took me a while to acclimate myself. It really needed a recap and I actually went back and read the last few chapters of book one and my own review after reading the first few pages of Controlling the Dead. I do not recommend reading this series out of order.
The tale picks up with Kansas pretty damaged after the events that transpired in book one. She is withdrawn; constantly moving, and planning. The rest of our merry team is worried about her. The team is working to uncover answers, and still planning to save more lives from the compounds. The tale that unfolds was action-packed, with character and plot development. Walls pulled me in and held me till the end.
Kansas “Kan” is a complicated, kick-ass character who has endured more crap in her lifetime then any soul should have to bear. She is driven, unmerciful at times and so compassionate at others that your heart bleeds for her. Mac and Rudy are her love interests, and I feared this little triangle would continue. Mac and Rudy are best friends, and it’s clear they respect and admire each other making things more complicated. Despite how messed up she is, it is clear where her heart lies. Thankfully she lets them know and we could all move forward. Rudy is complex, caring and damaged himself. Max is sweet, and dangerous and dependable. One of the things I adored about the romance is that Walls allowed it to build slowly from friendship, trust and respect. We felt the sexual tension, and experienced the dance as we saw their feelings emerge from their actions and little nuances. The cast of secondary characters are a motley crew, and Walls took the time to develop them. She gave them each a unique voice and made them an integral part of the tale. The results paid off, as I found myself attached to all of them. I suffered, shared in their joy and fears and had my heart ripped open and left to bleed when we suffered lost. She gave us characters to loathe and also introduced us to some new characters. Mago a voodoo man and his gifted daughter intrigued me.
Controlling the Dead offers a solid, action packed middle book that kept me on edge, and left me drooling for the final book of this trilogy. We had intense scenes, zombie mayhem, and even an interesting twist regarding Kan and the walking dead. There is conflict; secrets are revealed, and some questions are finally answered. She weaves in more aspects of the world, increasing the suspense. The closer we got to answers, the more questions arise. *Gah, it was nail-biting* The story twists and turns with moments of elation and devastation. Walls doesn’t hold back, and no one is safe as she rips us apart with climatic scenes and unexpected twists. She balances the dark and the light, the bloody gore and the laughter keeping the reader completely enthralled. This book is more than a zombie apocalyptic world, the characters breathe life into it making it an epic tale of survival. The ending gives us hope and leaves us screaming for more.
Fans of the character driven, post-apocalyptic worlds need to read the Famished Trilogy. Those who loved Taking on the Dead, need to grab their copy of Controlling the Dead stat, you will not be disappointed. The final book Living with the Dead does not have an expected release date at the time of this review. *Annie Walls don’t make me wait. That is all.*
Four and half cups of coffee out of five
Eek I haven’t read Taking on the Dead, and I can see I’m going to have to remedy that asap! I’m so glad to hear you liked this one and that I have two amazing books to look forward to. Lovely review!
Lauren, I read Taking on the Dead for a tour last year and it blew my ever loving mind!! You will love this series.
oh gosh, no lie. In the past few days I think I bought like 4 zombie books. I think the walking dead has been feeding this obsession for me. Love hearing that this one is action packed! love faster paced books. Never heard of this one till now thought
the first book Taking on the Dead, blew my mind and made my top ten last year.
You know I love my zombie thrillers. 🙂 This sounds like a fantastic trilogy!
It is Pamela, the characters are wonderful.
Sounds like I seriously need to go back and read Taking on the Dead! I haven’t actually read any zombie books yet (I know, what planet have I been living on?) but from what I browsed of your review (didn’t want to spoil it) I think this needs to be the first one I pick up! Thanks for sharing!
the first book Taking on the Dead was outstanding and made my top 10. You will love Kansas 🙂
Wow, this isn’t a series I would have picked up before, but I’m definitely considering doing so now!
Candace the characters especially Kansas make this trilogy rock.
I felt the same way you did when Annie gave me the ARC for Taking on the Dead.It was killer and Rudy and Kansas are awesome. I ranked Kansas in my top five kick ass chicks! I recently reviewed CTD and it’s even more mind blowing. Since I wrote my review I was free to read others and it looks she nailed it. We all say similar things and my emotions were ripped this and that way with this one.
So agree on the ranking for Kansas 🙂
Duuuude, I was so ready to read this in October, I even kept checking for it after every book I finished. Now I have to wait until I’m finished with review books again. -sigh- But I’m so glad you liked it!! I can’t wait to get to it.
Duuuude I totally din’t have time to read this….I am booked solid but man I couldn’t wait!
I haven’t even heard of this series before, but now you definitely have my attention. I hope the third book lives up to your expectations! Great review, Kimba. 🙂
the first book Taking on the Dead was one of my top ten adult reads last year.
This series sounds so great! I have the first book and hope to get to it soon. So glad you enjoyed this sequel — and hopefully you won’t have too long of a wait for the next book! Awesome review 🙂
ooo Michele enjoy! I love Kansas 🙂
Kimba, great review. Okay I’m ready to try my first Zombie novel yikes!! 🙂
book one Taking on the Dead made my top ten reads for 2012. The characters are just amazing.
Melissa (Books and Things)
SWEET! I was wondering if the next one would sound as good as the first. Oh so pushing that first one up the wishlist and adding this one.
Btw, you aren’t the only one who has to go back and reread their own review. Sometimes it helps jog the memories. 🙂
It was, it is..go grab it!
Wow 4.5 for a zombie book, I haven’t heard of this series before but it sounds like you really enjoyed it! Great review as always.
Taking on the Dead earned five coffee cups and made my top ten for 2012 Adult reads. Amazing series, not flawless but the characters and world will just suck you in.
I just picked up the first book in the series, and I need to get caught up. It sounds realllllly good. Awesome review.
Ooo happy dance. I cannot wait to see what you think of Kansas and the gang:)
Kan being strong and determined sounds like a character that I would like.
Kan is remarkable, one of the strongest female characters I have had the pleasure to read about.
Yay!! I’m glad you loved it, Kim! Thank you. =)
you are welcome *hands you a giant Monster Mean Bean* now go write Living with the Dead. hehehe
thanks Jennifer I hope you get to met Kansas 🙂
A Voracious Reader
Darn it! I added book 1 last year, but haven’t had time to shoehorn it in. By the time I can make room, Book 3 will be out. Wait…how is that a bad thing? I’ll be able to read them back-to-back-to-back. 🙂
Taking on the Dead was a tour read for me last year and it ended up making my top ten list for 2012. Amazing 🙂
“It really needed a recap and I actually went back and read the last few chapters of book one and my own review after reading the first few pages of Controlling the Dead.”
That’s exactly why I usually put off reading sequels for a while Kim, I fear being confused (even though the longer I wait, the less I remember which only makes the confusion worse – a vicious cycle 😉 Glad that even with the need for a recap you still loved this book, and I’m so glad that the love triangle is resolved and she lets everyone know her feelings. Fantastic review!
Thankfully reading those last few chapters of book one brought all the minor details back.
I always love hearing about a good solid sequel to a series that you were already loving Kim because let’s face it, that doesn’t’ always happen these days with books and series.
I am not a huge zombie fan but I think I need to try this one.
thanks Ali, this series has its hooks in me 🙂
While this does sound super-awesome, I think I’m going to have to wait for the third one. I’ve gotten terrible about actually finishing trilogies so I’m trying my hand at binge-reading. So far, it’s going well. And this one, with its not-sucky middle, sounds like one I’m going to have to binge!
I cannot binge series read, I get burned out, skim and race to the end..I have never tried a trilogy. I cannot tell you how many trilogies and series I start and don’t finish. I look at it this way..if I am not dying to read it on release day, I just let it go.
Awesome review! I cannot wait for THREE!LOL I hope Annie hurries up! MINIONS! FTW!
hehehe..yes she better be writing right now and not basking in all of these glowing reviews! LOL
There is that feeling when you wait for the sequel for so long and then it turns out it was worth every single second of the wait. I really love the sound of this one and I’m so glad you enjoyed. Too bad for that love triangle 🙁 Great review, Kim 🙂
Tanja, there was a little triangle in book one, but in this book it is cleared up completely. 🙂
Melanie (YA Midnight Reads)
I love MC’s that have gone through a whole lot of poop but still are so caring towards other’s around them. Such a shame that there is a love triangle. 😐
Brilliant review, hun! <33
Melanie there was a little triangle in book one, but that is all cleared up in this installment. I love strong caring MC’s too.
Fantastic review Kimberly!! You’ve captured all my thoughts on this sequel too! It was an amazing ride and I am so keen for the final installment!! Whoo hoo!
I am anxious too Naomi and thanks 🙂