Review: Thicker Than Blood by Madeline Sheehan and Claire C. Riley - Vilma Iris | Lifestyle Blogger

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Review: Thicker Than Blood by Madeline Sheehan and Claire C. Riley

My Thoughts

Intense and gritty with a heartfelt story about friendship and survival at its center.

thicker than blood coverA true friendship never dies.  Leisel and Evelyn lost everything. Husbands. Families. Friends. Lives that made sense. All they had left was each other, and a friendship that could withstand anything… Even an apocalypse. Until one fateful night, the marginal safety they’d come to rely on comes to a vicious and brutal end. With the help of Alex & Jami, both unlikely allies, Leisel and Evelyn are able to escape their shattered sanctuary only to find themselves face-to-face with a much altered, much crueler life where they have to find the way—and the will—to stay alive in a world they no longer recognize. Traveling across a broken and infection-ridden country; the road-weary group are pitted against endless violence, improbable circumstances, and the ultimate loss. Everything comes at a price—especially safety, the cost of which could very well strip them of the one thing they’ve tried so hard to cling to: their humanity. Yet along with all the trials they’re forced to endure, there’s also hope in the form of love. Having loved Leisel from afar, Alex attempts to put the pieces of her fractured heart back together. But in such a savage world, is there room for love? In a place of nightmares-made-reality, where the living should be feared far more than the dead, an unbreakable friendship and a love amongst all odds can mean the difference between life and death. There are friends… And then there are Leisel and Evelyn.
My Review
There is so much that is unique and special about Thicker Than Blood—the result of the collaboration between Madeline Sheehan and Claire C. Riley. First off, the writing between these two authors is seamless, their character development sharp and consistent across points of view. The storytelling was evocative, gritty and very vivid, drawing me in from the very beginning. Yes, this is a story which unfurls in a post-apocalyptic, zombie-infested time, where survival is unlikely and it can cost you everything even as you futilely grasp for it. But it’s also a story about friendship and the lengths that one will go to survive… to ensure the ones you love survive. It’s about two women—Leisel and Evelyn—who have lost it all and yet continue to be battered by the horrible life they must endure to subsist. Yet both are fighters in their own way, as they take on the world, hand in hand.

“We’d promised each other—back when this all had begun, when the world crumbled right before our eyes, taking with it everything we’d ever know, everyone we’d loved—that we’d never give up.”

When the fever spread around the globe, consuming continents, regions, people, Leisel and Evelyn were thrust into a living nightmare where their freedoms were taken under the guise of safety. The world went mad in more ways than one. Each of them lived a tormented existence, until one day, Leisel snaps and she and Evelyn, along with an unlikely ally, break free, trading one hell for another. Now, they must find food and shelter in a world that is nothing like the one they remember.

“When the world awoke again, it awoke with a rattling groan that promised only misery and loss. And eventually death.”

As they scrounge for supplies, however, they encounter madness and violence, each time taking blows to their bodies, their hearts and their humanity. Through it all, these two friends cling to each other, even when one of them slips into the fog of their own heartache… their own mania. Along their bloody journey, through deception and hopelessness, love unexpectedly blooms for one of them, inspiring a sliver of hope that perhaps they can make it. But every time hope flares, they encounter more deception and death. Their love for each other, their willingness to survive… to fight… to keep each other safe… is the only thing they have. The question is, would it be enough? This novel is suspenseful, action-packed and gripping, with some very touching, heartfelt moments. Due to the nature of the story, the end is not your typical HEA, but one still imbued with hope and a little bit of peace. I was really struck by people’s instincts to survive, and what those instincts drove them to do. Many slipped into madness, many shut off parts of themselves, many became different people altogether, hardened by what their world had become. In a sense, the real horror was who the people had become. Callous and cruel with little to no trace of humanity. Overall, it was a very well-executed, captivating novel and I really enjoyed it. It was a nice change of pace with many a heart-stopping moment. The second book, Beneath Blood and Bone, is out now and features a character we meet along the way.
Reading Order

These two can be read as standalone, but best enjoyed in order.

thicker than blood cover Beneath Blood and Bone

About Madeline
madeline sheehanFantastical realm dweller Madeline Sheehan is the USA Today bestselling author of the Holy Trinity Trilogy and Undeniable Series. A Social Distortion enthusiast, lover of mud and anything deemed socially inappropriate, Madeline was homegrown in Buffalo, New York, where she can be found engaging in food fights and video game marathons with her husband and son.

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About Claire
claire rileyClaire C Riley is a Best Selling British Horror Author, whose work includes: Odium The Dead Saga and Limerence The Obsession Series. She writes dark twisty words, is a lover of epic romances, and an eater of cake! She writes characters that are realistic and kills them without mercy. She lives in the UK with her three young daughters, husband, and scruffy dog.

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