Odium by Claire C. Riley

by Claire C Riley
254 Pages
Published by Breakwater Harbor Books, November 27, 2013
Genre: Horror, Zombies, Apocalyptic

Reviewed by Becky Stephens

I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review. The opinion in this review is unbiased and reflects my honest judgment of the book.  

It’s better to die by the gun than die by the dead.

Nina’s life was irrevocably changed when humanity’s dead began to rise. Now she lives behind the walls.

The barricaded cities, erected by the government to protect the remnants of civilization, have become a brutal dictatorship- causing the inhabitants within to starve, steal and claw for survival. Life behind the walls has become as terrifying as roaming the zombie-ridden landscape beyond. Citizens trade what they can to gain food, water, and shelter. Nina has only one currency—her body and she is tired of submitting herself to the greedy hands of the self-proclaimed leaders.

An opportunity to escape presents itself in the fate of a young girl named Emily-Rose. For the price of a stale piece of bread, she is set for banishment from the city, and most likely a horrific death at the hands of the deaders. Nina tells herself that it is sympathy and not self-preservation that makes her follow the young girl out of the walled metropolis, and into the overgrown world beyond.

Unused to fighting the deaders, Nina tries to scrounge for her survival and against her better judgment, begins to care for Emily-Rose. However, when you have a bread-stealing liability providing your only back up, survival seems even tougher. Nina is forced to fight for their lives, and with every zombie slain, she becomes fiercer, faster – a grim reaper with her not-so-sharp butcher’s knife.

Along the path to a safe-haven that might not exist, Nina and Emily-Rose meet Mikey who introduces them to a new life they could not imagine, a life above the ground. However, this new world brings new dangers, and darker shadows than she knew.

Nina finds out that the deaders aren’t the only thing to fear beyond the wall.

And that fear will not be ignored, or Forgotten.


Odium was a terrifying, exciting ride through a land of zombies. A land that is not rotten and black, as the self-proclaimed leaders behind the walls of the barricaded cities would have you believe, but alive and flourishing. Except for the dead that bring their rotten stench with them.

One of the many things I loved about this novel was how Claire C Riley used the sense of smell, which is usually overlooked in zombie novels, to bring another level to the dead she created in this world. I felt like I was in her world from the start. I clearly saw the rot and distinctly smelled the putrid decay. I desperately fought to stay alive.

Odium’s characters were alive and credible. The characters’ decisions were believable, even if they weren’t always reasonable or practical. But that’s what made them genuine. And the humor injected between the nail-biting moments, was spot-on.

Odium is not a run-of-the-mill zombie story. It is so much more, and Claire C. Riley is an amazing writer. I mean, who else would describe the moan of a hungry zombie to a throaty groan that would escape you during a sensual back massage? Kudos, Claire.

So, if you like zombies, then make sure this one gets on your list.

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