#Review - The Reapers are the Angels by Alden Bell (aka Joshua Gaylord)

The Reapers are the Angels by Alden Bell (aka Joshua Gaylord)
Series: Reapers #1
Holt Paperbacks
Publication Date: August 3, 2010
Date Read: September 1, 2015

Zombies have infested a fallen America. A young girl named Temple is on the run. Haunted by her past and pursued by a killer, Temple is surrounded by death and danger, hoping to be set free.

For twenty-five years, civilization has survived in meager enclaves, guarded against a plague of the dead. Temple wanders this blighted landscape, keeping to herself - and keeping her demons inside. She can't remember a time before the zombies, but she does remember an old man who took her in and the younger brother she cared for until the tragedy that set her on a personal journey toward redemption. Moving back and forth between the insulated remnants of society and the brutal frontier beyond, Temple must decide where ultimately to make a home and find the salvation she seeks.

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Somewhere along the way, I have decided that I love zombies.  I have to admit that The Walking Dead probably has been a large part of my new found love of all things zombies.  When this book came across my feed on Goodreads, I just know that I was going to have to read it.  Everyone seemed to absolutely love it and I just knew that I was in for a treat.  I liked this book well enough but it didn't turn out to nearly as good as I had been expecting.  It may very well be a case of going into a book with unrealistic expectations.

There was  a lot that I really did like about this book.  It was a really fast and rather exciting read.  I liked the fact that this story had a teenager as the main character and romance was not the key point in the story.  That gets a few bonus points right away in my book.  The world that it was set in was really well thought out.  I really liked the fact that Temple, the main character, has never known a world different than the one she is in.  She takes things as they are and is able to adapt really quickly to just about any situation.  Temple was a wonderfully written character.

Another thing that I really enjoyed in this story was the fact that it took place in so many vivid locations.  Every single one of the places that Temple finds herself in during the course of the story is unique.  I would expect that in the aftermath of a zombie apocalypse, there would be a lot of different ways to deal with the situation evolving.  I thought that every single environment that was a part of the story seemed very authentic.

Unfortunately, there were a few things that didn't work very well for me.  This book was depressing.  I don't know why I expected a zombie apocalypse book to be anything but depressing but I have to admit that I did.  When I finished this book, I kind of wanted to curl up into a ball and just be left alone.  If that was what the author was trying to do with the story, he did a great job but that's just not the kind of book that I enjoy reading.  I also didn't care for the way that Temple addressed the man who she ending up bring with her during the bulk of the book.  I understand that Temple has had to make it on her own in this scary world so I am sure that little lessons like treating others with respect were not covered but I can't help but cringe anytime I see a passage where someone with a disability is not treated with respect.  That was a major turn off for me with this book.  

All in all I would probably recommend this book to others.  It is a different take on the zombie idea that is able to keep things interesting.  This is the first book by Alden Bell that I have read but I would pick up another one of his books in the future.  I did notice that there is at least one more book in this series but to be honest I am not sure if I am going to pick that one up or not right now. 

About the Author

Joshua Gaylord lives in New York.  Since 2000, he has taught high school English at an Upper East Side prep school (a modern orthodox co-educational Yeshiva).  He has also taught literature and cultural studies courses as an adjunct professor at the New School and NYU.  Prior to coming to New York, he grew up in the heart of Orange County: Anaheim, home of Disneyland.  He graduated from Berkeley with a degree in English and a minor in creative writing, where his instructors included Bharati Mukherjee, Leonard Michaels and Maxine Hong Kingston.  In 2000, he received his Master’s and Ph.D. in English at New York University, specializing in twentieth-century American and British literature.  In general, he tends to like people--particularly the ones who like him, though that's not a prerequisite.

Alden Bell has the same history but is more serious in all the ways you'd like him to be.  He engages in bar fights that end amicably and spends a lot of time at the dog track.

Author Links: Website 


  1. I read this and had a very similar opinion.

    1. I am so glad that I am not alone in my thoughts on this book. It seems like all of my friends on Goodreads really liked it but I just thought it was okay. Not bad but nothing spectacular either.


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