Undead with Benefits - Jeff Hart

I must begin this review by acknowledging that I have not read Eat, Brains, Love. While this doesn't seem to affect the enjoyment of Undead with Benefits, there were a number of references to events in the first book that may have enhanced my understanding of some of the events in the sequel. That being said, I quite enjoyed this novel and I think it will find an audience with those who enjoy zombie books with a twist.

This is a tough one to summarize, so I'll just copy the official synopsis here:
Jake and Amanda are in love, on the run—and undead. They've teamed up with Cass, who’s ditched her former job as shady government psychic zombie-tracker, and they're headed across the border into Iowa, where there’s rumored to be a zombie cure.  
Armed with a trunk full of guinea pigs (aka zombie snacks), they're ready to take on the Midwest’s first undead warlord, the psycho psychic out for their blood, and their own superawkward love triangle. But the virus is spreading faster than you can say "zombie apocalypse," and Jake, Amanda, and Cass have to find the cure—if it even exists—before the whole state of Iowa goes up in flames. 

In some ways similar to Warm Bodies, this book does not go fully beyond love story and zombie cliche, but at the same time, it's a fun romp through infected and quarantined Iowa. Cass and Jake alternate narratives throughout the book, with an interjection from Amanda at one point. I do wish Amanda had more of a voice throughout, but I understand that by hiding one of the main characters' perspectives, Hart was able to increase the mystery and suspense.

Secondary characters are not that complex in this book, but the whole story is very much plot driven and I wasn't expecting too much from the character development of anyone outside the three lead characters. In this sense I was not disappointed.

All in all, this was a fun and enjoyable book that let me escape into a dramatic zombie adventure love story; no more or less than I expected.

Recommended to zombie enthusiasts :)

(Note: This review is from an Advance Reading Copy - Out August 26, 2014)


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