I think this book heard my request for more character development. It brought us back to nearly the beginning (Alice is four in the first part), and describes life early in the Deadland settlement.
We get to see how Alice grew up in the years prior to book one, where she follows Bunny Ears down a biter hole. She is face to face with three or four biters who are trying to kill her when she’s just four years old. A little puppy gives his life trying to protect her. Her dad and his right hand man come out to save her. It’s her earliest recurring nightmare. Through all of this, the biters are seen as mindless, shambling monsters.
Later, when Alice is eleven, she becomes one of the best trained kids, and saves the settlement multiple times. She even almost has a boyfriend. Of course he gets attacked by the biters and dies, but that’s just how life goes in the Deadland. There are recurring issues with Zeus soldiers, and they appear to be trying to clear out the Deadland of biters, but only pushing them closer to Alice’s settlement.
Once Alice is fifteen, she’s more trusted by her dad and the other settlers to protect them from the biters. Everyone who is well trained is set out to keep watch. They all had been hearing about biter holes and biter bases for years, but no one had ever actually seen one. This book ends just as the first book begins, with Alice following Bunny Ears down a biter hole.
I think I might take a break from the Alice in Deadland series for a bit and see what other (better written) messed up stuff is out there!