Horde (Zombie Apocalypse: The Chad Halverson Book 6) by Bryan Cassiday


Reviewed by Daniel Ryan Johnson

Horde is clearly a product of the times. It’s a zombie apocalypse book written with a heavy influence from the COVID-19 pandemic. With people worried about things like face masks, quarantining, and social distancing, the zombie apocalypse sounds like an event with which we are all too familiar.

Bryan Cassiday takes on the oft overplayed zombie apocalypse novel. However, he mixes in current events to give the zombie tale a unique twist. He combines everything that this last year brought us. Most of the novel takes place in an encampment in Arizona, where mistrust runs high. The camp is filled with confusion regarding the nature of the plague. There is much debate on whether the zombie plague can be transmitted through spores released through the breath of zombies and if there are symptomless human carriers of the disease.

Horde does not limit its scope of yearly commentary to pandemic-related affairs, however. There is also a president who seems to be losing his grip on reality as he declares himself president for life and begins to nuke cities across the United States in an attempt to limit the spread of the virus. Not to mention, an attempted overthrow of the government by a group of armed vigilantes.

The anger and confusion of people trapped in what feels like a neverending nightmare is very relatable for modern-day readers. Chaos rules in the world created by Cassiday. He shines light upon all of the senseless arguments and endless fighting that occurs in our world with nobody willing to really listen to the point of view of anyone else who disagrees with them. The protagonist, Box, is more confused than anyone. He is taken into the camp after being found out in the desert. He has no memory of who he is or how he got there and is completely shocked to learn of a zombie plague.

The characters in Horde are typically representative of various outspoken groups and portrayed with much exaggeration. While on the surface, it is a zombie apocalypse story, the threat posed by humanity is far more in the forefront than the danger of the plague. The zombies mostly serve as background for a tale about how bad things can get between people when our everyday lives get turned upside down. It serves as a mirror to show us how easily we can all become lost amid the difficulties of the world we live in today.