Review: Dead Petals by Eric Ortlund

Author: Eric Ortlund
Genre: Science Fiction,Zombies
Publisher: Fingerpress
Publication Date: March 30,2013


Not just your garden-variety zombie apocalypse... "It was a week ago when it happened. Exactly a week when I heard the stomping on the front porch. I remember it sounded like someone was drunk. I opened the door and it was my neighbor. She lunged at me." Oz, a former professor driven to the brink of madness by a tragedy he cannot face, begins to notice that the people around him are acting strangely. They're eating each other. And they're scraping at his door. Fleeing south, Oz and a motley crew of survivors begin to notice that this isn't the zombie apocalypse they'd seen in countless movies and books. These creatures seem somehow 'closer' to the Earth, yet, perversely, somehow deader, less human, than even zombies are meant to be. The creatures are transfixed by the Sun, and they transform, their faces peeling back in short tentacles until they uncannily resemble flowers. And these zombies can't be stopped. Hack off a limb or a head and it re-joins or just grows back, like the toughest plants. The Dead have a global leader, a purpose - beyond that of just eating any remaining humans. And the seven survivors, led reluctantly by Oz, discover that they have a central role to play in the macabre new order of 'life' on Earth. Dead Petals is a different species of zombie tale. Apocalypse, Rapture and the transformation of reality, all sprouting from the same seed.

I picked up Dead Petals on a whim one day. The premise sounded unique enough but what really caught my attention were what sounded like photosynthesizing Zombies. I hadn't really read any books like that before so naturally I had to give Dead Petals a try. Unfortunately once I actually sat down to read Dead Petals the book proved to be much more bizarre than anticipated.

First off, I did not connect with any of the characters. It's not that they were unlikable but more so that their character development was lacking. We learn just enough about each characters to distinguish them from each other but any real character development expressing the wants, fears and desires of the survivors is kept to a minimum. At least I felt so. 

Another thing I didn't like was the writing. I felt like I was reading a rough draft of the story vs. a finished copy. The Author had so much going on that it didn't allow me time to process what was going on with everyone from one moment to the next. Also pacing was an issue for me. Instead of writing one cohesive narrative it jumped around from scene to scene. We'd go from a fight between two characters to a talk about the moon and stars laced with many sexual undertones the next. This was a roller coaster read but not in a good way.

Lastly, I was left confused several times throughout the story. Again I believe this has to do with the writing and the Author maybe being unsure where exactly he wanted the story to go. I believe the underlying message was about Conservation and how we should respect the Earth but then again maybe I'm just grasping at straws trying to make sense of it all.

Now while I wasn't overly in love with Dead Petals I did as expected really like the "Zombies". They were unique and terrifying in the fact they could regenerate and the fact hunger wasn't their only driving force. Plus the whole face peeling thing reminded me of a mix between Resident Evil and Predator which was pretty awesome to imagine.

Final Thoughts
If you're looking for a really unique take on Zombies then check Dead Petals out. I won't promise it being an awesome, mind bending read but it is unique, fairly quick and one in the end that I'm glad to have read. With that being said, I'll be rating Dead Petals by Eric Ortlund ★★★.

 *Copy reviewed provided by Netgalley. All opinions are my own and I was not compensated in an which way  for providing them.

Want to learn more about this book or Author? Click the links below!
Eric Ortlund:
Goodreads Page


  1. Great honest review Kristin. It's a shame you didn't connect with the plot and characters of this one. It is hard to keep reading something that you are confused about. But. I'm not surprised you liked the Zombies!! lol

    Naomi @ Nomi’s Paranormal Palace


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