“Harrowing” is the best word to describe this fast-paced short story that serves as a prequel to the novel His Name Was Zach. The book is told in first-person, from the point of view of the title character, a young girl whose normal life is interrupted in horrific fashion.
As befitting an introduction to the world of His Name Was Zach, the book is intense and not for the fainthearted. Martuneac does a great job conveying the sheer terror of the speed at which Abby’s world collapses. Some of the techniques he uses in the text are quite ingenious, creating a memorable atmosphere in a brief space.
This is a very short story, and I think it is probably best read as a prologue to the main novel. I had already read the novel before reading this, but even though I knew what would happen, it still pulled me in.
There is one thing about the story that I felt could use a bit of expansion, but I can’t discuss it without major spoilers. Let’s just say it concerns Abby’s reaction to a very traumatic event. She seems to accept it very quickly, more so than I would have expected. However, this is just my interpretation, and there’s no doubt that different people process traumatic events in different ways. (This is, in fact, one of the major themes of this series.)
I highly recommend this to fans of dark, post-apocalyptic stories. It’s a good intro to a gripping series.