A New Jersey teen transplanted to London survives a devastating new pandemic—but almost nobody else does.
Leon’s misery in his new British school seems like the absolute worst, until the dying begins. The plague starts as merely a series of nightmarish and unconnected deaths, but the disease spreads almost faster than rumor. Moments after infection, the victims begin hemorrhaging, and within hours they’ve been reduced to a bloody soup. Vignettes from alternate points of view show the advancing disaster, but to Leon, it’s merely a fearful suspicion based on odd news stories. The conspiracy boards are alight: is this plague engineered by the CIA, North Korea, Mossad, Russia, aliens, or the Islamic State? With his mother and younger sister, Leon flees the city, but there’s nowhere safe from the illness that’s about to destroy all animal life on Earth. Cinematically gory imagery of melted bodies and twitching viscera punctuate Leon’s months of survival as one of the last remaining humans. Leon is racially undescribed but seemingly white; the uneven representations of race, class, and culture rely on stale tropes. It’s not clear if the sequel will be able achieve the gross-out levels of this opener, since there’s not many humans left to liquefy.
For fans of overwhelming and grisly carnage. (Horror. 13-16)