After a man made virus created an epidemic of undead, flesh eating monsters the whole world was thrown into chaos. Things just got even worse when a vaccine supposed to stop the spread of the infection created a new breed of zombies, ones who are faster, stronger and much more intelligent but still just as desperate for a taste of human flesh. Survivors have banded together but supplies are hard to come by and the risk of attack is constant. The new world isn't an easy one and only the smartest will survive.
Mortality is told from the perspective of two teenage girls Savannah and Zarah. Savannah's story begins six months after the vaccine created the new kind of zombies. The survivors from her town are all living together inside the old school building with the adults trying to clear the surrounding area of monsters while they keep the teenagers and children safely inside. Savannah and her friends have spent the last 6 months training and are desperate for a chance to prove themselves but when they are finally given the opportunity things go horribly wrong. Separated from the rest of their group the four friends must try to make it to the safe house to see if they can find the others. Zarah's story actually starts on the night of the second epidemic and we follow her and her boyfriend Liam as they try to find somewhere safe where they can be together.
Out of the two girls I have to admit I liked Savannah more, she was stronger than Zarah and more willing to stand up for herself and her friends. Savannah is the kind of girl who doesn't sit back and wait for others to rescue her, she'd rather be in the thick of the action trying to keep her friends safe. She does make some questionable decisions but you can tell that everything she does she does because she thinks it is the best option for those she cares about. Although I felt Zarah was a weaker character I still enjoyed her story, it was interesting to see things from such a different perspective and I liked the way the two girl's stories gradually start to merge together. I have to admit that I didn't predict the way things ended!
When Savannah and the others are trying to catch up with the rest of their group they come across another survivor Cole. Cole is searching for his uncle who he believes he may be with the survivors from Savannah's town and it is desperately important that Cole finds him. I have to confess I had mixed feelings about Cole, at times I thought he was really sweet but I never really felt like I connected to him. Since I knew he was keeping secrets I found it really difficult to decide if he was trustworthy or not and I found myself really annoyed with the way he put Savannah at risk. There was one point where I couldn't believe that Savannah was stupid enough to go along with his plans and I almost felt that if she was dumb enough to do as he said then she deserved whatever the consequences might be. I did find it interesting to see how different people coped in the situation though. You had very different groups all fighting for the same resources and I think that is only going to get more complex as the series continues. What confused me was the large militia group - they were so organised in many ways but then in others they took stupid risks. They came across as more of a mob at times but they were supposed to be what remained of the government & army which was kind of worrying. It's hard for me to say much more than that without giving spoilers so I'll leave it at that.
Mortality is an interesting start to Kellie Sheridan's Hitchhiker Strain series, there were a few problems that stopped me loving the book as much as I could have but it was still an enjoyable read and she has created an interesting world. I liked the fact she has created 2 different types of zombies and the way both came to exist was well thought out and felt realistic (as much as any zombie story can be believable that is!). I will be keeping an eye out for future books in the series because I'd like to know how Savannah and Cole's story plays out.