Review: Daisy and the Dead by Sarah Bale

May Contain Spoilers

When I saw this on Netgalley, I started salivating.  I LOVE zombie stories!  All of the running and fighting and trying to survive – I find zombie stories irresistible.   What I didn’t realize before I hit the request button is that Sarah Bale writes erotica.  That’s not a deal killer for me, but when I read books with zombies, I want ZOMBIES.  Not spankings and heroines who defiantly proclaim they won’t be sleeping with the big bad leader of the gang who saved her – and promptly jumps into bed with him. Without protection (which the hero claimed to always use, until sleeping with our heroine) during a zombie apocalypse, where an unplanned pregnancy would certainly spell disaster. Not to mention STDs. It’s not like there’s a doctor on every corner anymore. Smh.

Daisy has been struggling to survive in a world gone haywire. A virus devastated the population, turning the dead into ravenous monsters. When the camp she has been seeking refuge in is attacked by a gang of men and everyone is slaughtered, she thinks her time is up. Then she’s saved by a tall, handsome guy, the leader of the violent thugs who just killed her friends and stole all of their belongings. Sir (yes, yes, this dude’s name is SIR) promises she won’t be raped and takes her with them to their complex, which is like the lap of luxury compared to how she’s been living for the past three years. And while Sir promised not to rape her, he never promised not to beat her with his belt, which I find squicky in romance. This wasn’t even a playful spanking, but a punishment for Daisy not following every one of Sir’s orders to the letter – but it got her excited anyway. Ugh.

For most of the novella, Sir treats Daisy horribly.  Despite his bad behavior, she falls in love with him. I just had trouble buying that, or accepting that Daisy had any agency in their relationship at all.  Sir humiliates her in front of all of his followers, dictates when she can eat, and unceremoniously dumps her after taking her to his private hideaway, a secluded garden far from the stresses of the compound. Ugh. I kept hoping a zombie would bite him.

But then, bad things happen, and suddenly, Daisy is a bada$$.  WTF? She’s shooting people, saving lives, and showing no mercy to the scumbags threatening to destroy her and her new life. Why couldn’t more of the story have been like this?  The ending made up for all of the hero’s cardboard personality, his bad behavior, and Daisy’s meekness where Sir was concerned. The short page count didn’t give the story much depth, and I would have rather had more zombie attacks than so many sex scenes.  But the ending! Even while I was rolling my eyes when Daisy suddenly turned into this female version of Rambo, I couldn’t help but cheer her on.  So campy and fun! So, despite some problems with Daisy and the Dead, I plan on reading the Elijah and the Living, which will be available on Kindle Unlimited July 11.  Oy!

Grade: This is a toughie – 2.75 to 3 stars

Review copy provided by publisher

About the book:

Daisy has one goal – dodge the Dead long enough to find a way back to her family. When she’s discovered hiding in a barn after her camp is invaded, she realizes the real threat might be worse.
Whisked away by the mysterious Sir to a world she thought died when the virus spread, Daisy discovers that with power comes danger. Now her goal is to save the man who saved her.
Daisy thought it was the Dead she had to fear… But the Living make her fight for the love of her life.