Sunday, 6 April 2014

Double Review: Deadlands & Death of a Saint by Lily Herne

Author Bio:
Lily Herne is the pseudonym of mother/daughter duo Sarah and Savannah Lotz. A fan of fake identities, Sarah also writes an urban horror series with author Louis Greenberg under the name SL Grey as well as various crime novels, internationally anthologised short stories and screenplays under her own name. Savannah, a die-hard fantasy fanatic, is currently in her second year studying screenwriting at the University of East Anglia.

Find Lily:

Deadlands Website  |  Twitter  |  Facebook

Deadlands (Mall Rats #1)
Released: 18 April 2013
Genre: Post Apocalyptic, Dystopian
Publisher: Much~In~Little (Constable & Robinson)
At the Other End:
In Deadlands, life is a lottery.

Ten years have passed since Cape Town was destroyed in the war with the living dead. Now, human survivors are protected from the zombies that lurch around the suburban Deadlands by shrouded figures known as 'Guardians'. But the price for protection is steep: each year, the Guardians hold a human lottery in which five teenagers are chosen for a secret purpose.

Seventeen-year-old Lele hates everything about her life in the city: her new school, the brainwashed zombie-lovers, the way everyone seems creepily obsessed with teenagers . . . She wants out. Then she is picked as a Chosen One: but she's not prepared to face whatever shady future the Guardians have in store for her. So she runs for her life - straight into the Deadlands, and into the ranks of the Mall Rats - a renegade gang of misfit teens who have gone underground - and are preparing to take a stand.

Sum Up:
This book is completely kick-ass! Jam packed with action and suspense, Deadlands will keep you coming back for more.

Behind the 320 Pages
Honestly, this is the perfect way to describe this book (and hoping, the series):

I imagine this happening as soon as some zombie fighting action starts! Haha and now that you’ve seen it (and imagined it being said the same as in White Chicks), you will think of this when reading this book.

OK, back to the actual book now. Honestly, this book was completely hypnotising. I couldn’t stop reading this book, and was mind-numbingly turning the pages, getting my fix of YA-action addiction. The whole book was jam packed, and there was always something going on in the story. The end of the book is literally, just shock after shock after shock. There are so many secrets that are revealed in the final leg of the book that you honestly don’t know what could be left! Of course, from the very end, you can tell what the rest of the series is going to be about, but not in a bad way.

I loved LeLe. She was an amazing heroine, one that is definitely kick-ass (yes, I’m using kick-ass too many times in this review, but only because it’s the only way to describe everything/everyone accurately), and you find yourself loving every minute of her story. She is strong, both physically and mentally, and she won’t let anyone put her down, no matter who they are. She stands up for herself, and does everything wholeheartedly, and if she believes something is right, she will go out of her way to do it! I also loved all the other characters that were thrown into the mix. The Mall Rats (I was cheering for LeLe & Ash <3), and Thabo. They were all so unique were all very strong characters. Even though there was a hint at a (dreaded) love-triangle, it wasn’t much to take your focus off the important bits of the novel, there isn’t really any kind of romance going on, but I still love Ash more than Thabo. I don’t really like Thabo like the other characters, he seems like in the end, he just wants to keep in contact with LeLe because he knows she can get things that he needs and help him out for the ANZ (Anti-Zombie League), not really because he wanted to be friends with her. But that could be just me.

One thing I found a bit annoying was that LeLe kept on trying to blame her stepmother (the Mantis) for everything. Ok, I understand that her mother has passed, and it feels like the Mantis is trying to take over her mother. But sometimes she acts like a real child, not thinking any of the accusations through. I can see the Mantis kind-of trying to get along with LeLe, but when one thing comes up, it’s two steps back. I still don’t know why she is even called the Mantis.....

Even though the book is set in South Africa, you don’t have to worry about knowing about the place to be able to understand. I honestly don’t know much about South Africa, and Herne does such a good job at making you feel like you are familiar with the place. There is so much room for your imagination to kick in with the surroundings, because it is set 10 years after the 2010 World Cup (making the year 2020).

The ending left me craving for the next book, Death of a Saint, and shocked me to the core. The truth that reveals itself at the end will leave you speechless. If you’re after an addicting book, full of zombie kick-ass action, a heroine that fits right along with the big YA heroines, surprises, and just plain old awesome make sure you read this book!!

Death of a Saint (Mall Rats #2)
Released: 17 October 2013
Genre: Post Apocalyptic, Dystopian
Publisher: Much~In~Little (Constable & Robinson)
At the Other End:
Some secrets are so unthinkable you can't even admit them to yourself . . . 

Lele, Ginger, Ash and Saint - aka the Mall Rats - are hiding out in the Deadlands, a once-prosperous area of Cape Town, now swarming with the living dead. Exiled from the city enclave for crimes against the Resurrectionist State, the Rats face a stark choice: return and risk capture - or leave Cape Town and go in search of other survivors.But what if the rest of South Africa is nothing but a zombie-riddled wasteland? 

Now Lele has discovered the truth about why the lurching dead leave them alone, she can't bring herself to tell the rest of the gang. And she's not the only Mall Rat harbouring a dangerous secret . . . Can the friends' survive on the road if all they have is each other? Or will their secrets tear them apart?

Sum Up:
Can I just say WOW! A perfect follow up to a brilliant zombie ass-kicking series!

Behind the 346 Pages

Starting straight from where Deadlands left, we literally head into some action. Things for the Mall Rats aren’t looking very good, and they start running out of options. Things start to heat up pretty quickly in the Cape Town enclave, and we hold our breath during the first part of the novel. I love how we go straight into the action, even though it’s not zombie ass-kicking action, we still craving to find out what happens.

In this book, we are not just hearing from Lele’s perspective this time. We are also hearing from Saint’s as well. Honestly, this was one of the only poor things done in this book. Saint and Lele don’t exactly have two different voices, sure their personalities aren’t exactly the same, when we read between each character, it is easy to get lost and forget who’s POV it actually is. It isn’t until the end, where everything makes sense. We find out why we are told from Saint’s perspective, and the shock of the title also fits into the end of the book (and no, it’s not the obvious). The ending definitely makes up for this, once I finished the book I realised that we did kind of need Saint’s perspective, as much as Lele’s, but this still didn’t help define each of the girl’s voices.

What was also disappointing, was that each chapter is always, Lele-Saint-Lele-Saint, which made one scene kind of annoying for me. It isn’t much of a spoiler but I don’t know how to explain it otherwise. So, Lele and Ash kiss, then they get up and go inside, leaving Saint and Ginger outside. This is where the chapter finishes with Lele, and it gets transferred to Saint. I found myself wanting to be in Lele’s perspective when she and Ash went inside. I wanted to know what she was thinking and what she was feeling (it’s a YA novel for crying out loud!), but even when the gang get back together again (something dangerous happens with Saint and Ginger, they go back inside to find Ash and Lele), we don’t even know if Ash and Lele actually had sex! Sometimes in the book it hints that they didn’t actually go all the way, then in other scenes it made it seem like they did.... very confusing.

This book is a lot more focused on relationships than zombie killing. It’s one of the main themes of this second book, and it defines most of the characters on their journey through South Africa. There is hardly any zombie killing in this second novel, but that doesn’t mean that the book is lacking action. As the gang trek across South Africa, they definitely come across a whole heap of dangerous situations
I honestly didn’t really like Ash in this book. We felt exactly what Lele felt when it came to him and his actions, and it was feeling like another love-triangle happening. Even in the end, when he confesses to Lele, he still doesn’t actually tell her why he was acting the way he was. It was annoying, and even though I was rooting for him and Lele in Deadlands, when Lele made her decision, I was honestly had a massive smile on my face. I didn’t really like Ember either, she was ok at times, but we got a first impression of her through Lele, and her actions are kind of bimbo-ish that it just makes me go urrgh. She realized exactly what was important and who she wanted to be. She is an amazing character, one that we easily connect with, even though half of this book is hers. One other thing that annoyed me, was that Lele was literally starting the conversation about the secret she kept about the group, they all got distracted, then everyone totally forgot what she was saying. Even she forgot that she was about to tell them the truth. This bit was very annoying, because it felt like Herne completely forgot that Lele started this confession, yet no one remembers anything of it. Being the group that they are, you would have thought that at least one of them would have remembered that Lele was going to confess something.

Like its predecessor, this book doesn’t shy away from massive shocks that completely rock you. OK, this book might be a bit predictable with some things towards the end, but when the truth finally comes out, you are left stunned.

Are. You. Kidding. Me. 
That. Can. NOT. Be. The. Ending.

The ending of this book is not Julie Kagawa-cliffhanger bad, but it’s... WOW. The ending of this book leaves you craving The Army of the Lost so much more than how Deadlands ended. We get left on a double cliffhanger!!! THE HORROR!! The two questions looming in my mind from the final chapters of the book, are making me anxious for its July release.

Purchase the Deadlands series online now! 
(Available in print in selected booksellers)

What's Next:
Army of the Lost (Mall Rats #3)
Released: July 2014
Genre: Post Apocalyptic, Dystopian
Publisher: Much~In~Little (Constable & Robinson)
At the Other End: 
Warning. Spoilers for previous novels.

One of us is dead, one of us is broken, one of us will betray the others and one of us will have to sell her soul to survive . . .

Eleven years after South Africa was ravaged by the walking dead, most of Johannesburg's survivors are forced to scratch out a living in the filth of Sandtown, an enclave in the old Sandton City mall, ruled over by a minority of rich, self-serving bureaucrats. Tommy, a bullied fourteen-year-old Sandtownite, dreams of joining the Army of the Left, a radical organisation intent on setting the city free of the dead that lurch around its walls. But fate has other plans for him . . .

Betrayed by one of their closest allies and sold to the highest bidder, Lele, Ash, Ember and Ginger - the remaining Mall Rats - find themselves sucked into the dark heart of Jozi's twisted political system. While Ash is forced to face his traumatic past and Ginger struggles to regain his sanity, Lele goes head to head against Jozi's most powerful manipulator - a man who has sinister plans for her. Meanwhile, left for dead on the outskirts of Jozi, Saint begins her own journey. A journey that she hopes will provide the answers to all of the Mall Rats' unanswered questions ..

This novel was received for review via Much~In~Little (Constable & Robinson). This review is entirely my own, no bribery or any deals have been made to sway this review or change my personal opinion of the novel.


  1. How cool is the idea of a mother/daughter writing team. I've heard of a few but still think it would be an interesting dynamic. These books sound great. a 5 and 4.5? So glad you enjoyed them so much. Not heard of them before but am putting them on the to-read list. Great reviews!

  2. These books will completely surprise you! Definitely worth the read, and a very unique setting as well :) Happy Reading


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