May Contain Spoilers
Please Remain Calm picks up right where This is Not a Test left off, but from Rhys’ POV. At first I wasn’t sure how I felt about that, but I actually liked his narration better than Sloane’s. Rhys is a straight forward kind of guy, and while he is torn up over what he had to do to his parents on the first awful night of the zombie apocalypse, he has done a fairly good job of moving past the ordeal. While he does suffer from nightmares, he counts himself lucky to be alive, and he is determined to stay that way, so that his parents’ deaths will mean something. Unlike Sloane, he is not suicidal, and he strives to find some sort of normal in the new horror of his existence.
Rhys and Sloane are headed to Rayfield, where a refugee camp has supposedly been established. They make a major blunder, though, and are soon running desperately away from a group of zombies. They are separated, and Rhys is saved by Jesse and Lisa, a couple who are making their way to their safe house in the woods. They also have their four year old daughter with them, and Jesse is understandably suspicious of Rhys. He doesn’t trust him, and he doesn’t want to put his small family in danger. He warns Rhys that if he messes up, he won’t hesitate to eliminate him.
Please Remain Calm has a lot more action than This is Not a Test. Because Rhys and his new companions are outside, with no shelter, they are tempting targets for roaming zombies. Regardless of how careful they are, it’s inevitable that there will be encounters with the undead. They are adrenaline fueled battles for survival, against foes that just don’t stop. The zombies don’t ever quit, and where there is one, there are usually many more. Every shadow, every boulder, every tree is a possible hiding place, and the tension kept me flipping the pages. I gobbled this novella up in short order, and immediately hoped that there will be more in the future. The ending is ambiguous, leaving everything up in the air, so be forewarned.
Grade: B / B+
Review copy obtained from my local library
In Please Remain Calm, the gripping sequel to Courtney Summers’ This is Not a Test, Rhys and Sloane are headed for a safe haven when they get separated along the way. Rhys is determined to reunite with Sloane until he discovers people who might need him more–people who offer him the closest he’ll get to everything he’s lost, if they can just hold on long enough. Rhys thinks he has what it takes to survive and find Sloane, but in a world overrun by the dead, there are no guarantees and the next leg of his journey will test him in unimaginable ways…