Under a Graveyard Sky by John Ringo

JRingo-Under a Graveyard SkyWith an intellectual spin, John Ringo brings to life a truly realistic world in Under a Graveyard Sky.  In a drama that is rife with competition, Ringo departs from normal zombie apocalypse plotlines and brings to the light the rarely mentioned side – the prepared.  An interesting, if not always thrilling, quest unfolds #Review: UNDER A GRAVEYARD SKY by John Ringo “An interesting, if not always thrilling, quest unfolds” http://wp.me/p3SIUp-ahA @BaenBooks and as in any good book, we are urged to wonder what we would do in the same circumstances.

A family of survivors who fight back against a zombie plague that has brought down civilization.

Zombies are real. And we made them. Are you prepared for the zombie apocalypse? The Smith family is, with the help of a few marines.

When an airborne “zombie” plague is released, bringing civilization to a grinding halt, the Smith family, Steven, Stacey, Sophia and Faith, take to the Atlantic to avoid the chaos. The plan is to find a safe haven from the anarchy of infected humanity. What they discover, instead, is a sea composed of the tears of survivors and a passion for bringing hope.

For it is up to the Smiths and a small band of Marines to somehow create the refuge that survivors seek in a world of darkness and terror. Now with every continent a holocaust and every ship an abattoir, life is lived under a graveyard sky.

Ringo’s novel is truly for the geek in all of us. Whether you’re the science fiction buff, the politico or even the gun nut, there’s a glimmering moment for you in Under a Graveyard Sky.  As someone who has many different interests, Ringo’s multi faceted take really appealed to me. Instead of panicked, Ringo showed characters who were pragmatic. Instead of the reluctat hero, we ere able to see the people who, for lack of a better phrase, are truly suited to a zombie apocalypse.

Above all, my favorite character in Under a Graveyard Sky was Faith. Faith is arguably not your average thirteen year old. However, she’s your average kickass thirteen year old. Faith is the bruiser of the group, a character who transitions well from fighting zombies in games to fighting them in real life. One of the most stellar things about Faith is that Ringo writes her in a way that reminds us she is still a thirteen year old girl. She fights with her sister, she flirts with the men older than her even while her dad is watching, she even has that quirky know it all quality that so many of us are guilty of. Perhaps more important than how awesome she is, is the fact that she is not always so awesome. Faith has downsides and over the course of the book, breaks. The beauty in this is that she truly shows strength by overcoming and moving past. As a side character, this change in Faith is not drawn out but is quite subtle- and more poignant because of it. Faith is not the only interesting nor intelligent character within Under a Graveyard Skyy but the one who stands as a symbol of strength and prosperity.

The shining themes within Under a Graveyard Sky are plentiful. From the very beginiing, Ringo writes as if giving insight into the world today. The first part of Under a Graveyard Sky truly is about the now. With a highlight on how politics and science meld and clash, Ringo gets people interested into the possibilities within science today. In the second portion of the book, we are able to see a shift into the realm of history and government. This is a considerable shift in this genre. Instead of relying on survival skills and combat, Ringo infuses his world with bits of knowledge. He shows how in a crisis everyone has something to contribute.  Similiarily, he also shows that people will all have something to overcome to not only survive but thrive.

Under a Graveyard Sky is not without its cons. The entire middle is almost blurred over. This is a considerable downside as this is the nit and grit of post breakout life. The characters go on a mission yet we only get windows into the mission being carried out. While I think this may have been done to preserve a sense of thrill, I feel that it was integral to the storyline and Ringo simply didn’t realize this. There is such a tedium to the style of writing in this portion that it feels labored and overly insignificant as if Ringo was reluctant to write it but knew he should.

The other main pitfall is along similar lines and is a general lack of clarity. While Ringo spends a great deal of time explaining the loud out of each character to hunt zombies, a touch I loved, he doesn’t explain the setting very well. It made me think of games where the locale was somewhat bland and neither creepy nor fascinating, something that can severely throw off the experience of the zombie chase. This lack of clarity is extended as more characters are introudced. Conversations start to feel muddled and one is never quite sure who is talking. This becomes increasingly annoying when it hinders recognizing group dynamics such as not remembering who’s the slacker and who’s the one with ship sailing experience. This grievance pushes the reader away from being immersed in the story.

Despite my issues with many of the details or lack thereof, I truly enjoyed reading Under a Graveyard Sky. Throughout, Ringo kept me wondering what would happen to the characters and the world at large. His end was frustratingly a cliffhanger and has made want to tune into the next book. Fans of post apocalyptic novels will enjoy Under a Graveyard Sky and hopefully find a new series to love.

Read Order:
Under a Graveyard Sky
To Sail a Darkling Sea (Feb 4, 2014)
Islands of Rage and Hope (Aug 5, 2014)

About Natassia 143 Articles
I am a performer by trade and have been an avid reader for as long as I can remember. My bookshelves are full of many genres but I have a love of fantasy, SciFi and steampunk which have only spurred my performing dreams to help one of these fabulous worlds come to life. I tend to read books with a lot of edge and grit; if it's got zombies, space battles or fantastical steam inventions, I'm in. When I'm not reading or off making my own adventures, I can be caught watching movies of every era, gaming, and being scandalously political like any good steampunk heroine.