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Reviewed by Caitlin Lyle Farley for Readers' Favorite
The first documented case of a zombie was in 1987 and in the thirty-seven years since then, humanity still hasn’t found a cure for the mysterious infection. These are not the mindless, ravaging zombies of popular fiction, despite the negative media they receive, but unfortunate souls with a heavily stigmatized illness. Forced to live on the fringes of human civilization, the humanz, as they call themselves, try to eke out an existence while campaigning for equality and rights. When the leader of the humanz receives a report that a group of humanz has stolen a nuclear warhead from a Russian base, she knows that this may be the ultimate test of her leadership. One wrong move could lose the humanz what few allies they have, but a bigger question hangs over this dilemma: who is behind the theft?
In Decay: Humanz 1.0, Igor Ljubuncic’s focus on the humanz' remaining humanity without glossing over the messy facts of rotting flesh and a bloody diet makes this a uniquely contemplative zombie story. The compassion and levelheadedness of the unnamed leader of the humanz make her easy to relate to while her dark humor adds bite to the narrative. The various methods employed by the humanz to extend their lives and the grim realities of their condition add interest as Ljubuncic builds tension around the mystery of the stolen weapon. There are no clear and obvious ‘right’ choices in Decay, not when there are so many threats and character motivations to untangle. Decay tells a riveting story while adding an original take on zombies to this genre.