Lily Herne's Deadlands has the distinction of being the first ever zombie novel by a South African author. It possesses a wonderful awareness of modern pop culture and the social climate in which today's teenagers live. This will appeal directly to modern teens, the novel's target audience.
The main character, Lele de la Fontein, is seventeen years old, and lives in a futuristic version of Cape Town, surrounded by zombies, and ruled by the Ressurectionists, a strange religious sect turned totalitarian government, who follow the mysterious Guardians. Lele wishes to escape this unpleasant environment and find a better life for herself and her brother, Jobe, but she knows it won't be easy.
Deadlands has heavy undertones of social and political commentary, but the story itself is one of friends and enemies, love and hate, trust and betrayal, and life and death. It has a post-apocalyptic atmosphere and deals with some powerful subjects in a fun, light-hearted, and humorous way. And, despite its depth and profoundness, it never becomes overly philosophical to the point of being preachy and annoying.
It should be noted that the author, Lily Herne, is not a single person, but is in fact the pen-name of a local literary mother-daughter power-duo, Sarah and Savannah Lotz. Deadlands by Lily Herne can be heartily recommended to anybody who enjoys a good story, particularly if you are a teenager with a taste for the otherworldly. It is funny, clever, compelling, and is set to become a true modern classic.
by Lily Herne
archive - issue 14