Review: Autumn: Aftermath by David Moody
I didn’t realise I’d skipped the fourth book in the Autumn series – Autumn: Disintegration – until I was over halfway through Autumn: Aftermath. It doesn’t seem as though I missed anything, though. A new group was introduced in the fourth installment, but they don’t appear until a few chapters into this book and their origin story is thoroughly recapped.
However, you must read the first three books in the Autumn series before you give Autumn: Aftermath a try. Survivors from the earlier novels appear and their backgrounds are hardly explored. This would have been a majorly disorienting read if I wasn’t already familiar with the events of the previous books (especially Autumn: Purification, which is the catalyst for most of the events contained within).
‘Aftermath. I didn’t know it had two meanings. The first was obvious, the one that everybody knows: something that follows after a disastrous or unfortunate event, like the aftermath of a war. But it was the second definition that struck me: a new growth of grass following mowing or ploughing.’
Autumn: Aftermath is the fifth and final book in David Moody’s Autumn series. Beginning 26 days after the infection and concluding with an epilogue set two years later, it spans a remarkable length of time. Moody finishes the story in an efficient way, stopping anyone from wondering whether there could be a sixth book in the series (even with the completely unnecessary epilogue tacked at to the end).
Primarily set in Cheetham Castle, Autumn: Aftermath focuses on the psychological effects of being trapped with a small number of people in an enclosed space. The group are living in something resembling harmony until they rescue survivors from a nearby hotel. The arrival of new people causes a power struggle to erupt between the two leaders, Jas and Jackson, raising tensions and causing infighting.
This is further exacerbated by the appearance of faces familiar to the reader, who offer the survivors the chance of a fresh start. All hell breaks loose: Jackson wants to try to build a better future, while Jas believes that sticking together and remaining in the castle is the only sensible option.
The first few books in the Autumn series are formulaic. A group is introduced. They struggle to survive, fight some zombies, and the scene fades to black. Each consecutive novel shows the new survivors joining forces with the people introduced in the preceding volume, so it wasn’t surprising when old characters appeared on the scene.
However, Autumn: Aftermath is different. The focus isn’t on the daily business of surviving, with most characters firmly fixated on the future. Instead, there’s much more of an exploration on the effect that the environment has on the zombies. Nature takes its toll on the shambling corpses, the winter months causing their movements to slow as the cold freezes the putrid decay which overruns their bodies.
It’s the first time I’ve ever seen a zombie apocalypse with an end in sight. These corpses were never going to continue ceaselessly on, and that makes them far more realistic than the majority of zombies portrayed in popular media.
If you’re interested in reading the Autumn series, don’t binge-read it. Because the first few books are rather repetitive it becomes tedious, but this last installment reminded me of why I liked Moody’s writing so much in the first place. I don’t think I would have appreciated it as much if I’d read it straight after the first three volumes, but it was nice to revisit the series a couple of years later and finally see how it all ended.
If you’re interested in learning more about Autumn: Aftermath, check it out on Goodreads. If you decide to buy a copy, please consider using my Amazon affiliate link: I’ll earn a few pennies from your purchase. Thank you!
Have you started reading the Autumn series yet?