Book Review: The Other Life by Susanne Winnacker

3 years, 1 month, 1 week and 6 days since I’d seen daylight. One-fifth of my life. 98,409,602 seconds since the heavy, steel door had fallen shut and sealed us off from the world 

Sherry has lived with her family in a sealed bunker since things went wrong up above. But when they run out of food, Sherry and her dad must venture outside. There they find a world of devastation, desolation…and the Weepers: savage, mutant killers. 

When Sherry’s dad is snatched, she joins forces with gorgeous but troubled Joshua – an Avenger, determined to destroy the Weepers. 

But can Sherry keep her family and Joshua safe, when his desire for vengeance threatens them all? (from

When I picked up The Other Life to read I was surprised by how quickly it moved. Within half an hour I’d read a great big chunk, and the same happened throughout. This book is very fast paced and the writing style is easy to race along with, meaning that I’d finished it in just a couple of sittings.
The book has no specified time period, although I think it’s probably set in this decade. A mutant form of Rabies has attacked the human race, forcing healthy families into hiding under the advice of the government. Sherry and her family have been in their bunker for just over three  years, but now their four year supply of food has run out and the radio messages from the military stopped coming over a year ago. They’re completely cut off from the outside world and have no idea what’s happening out there, but the choice is either stay and die of starvation or leave and die trying to survive.
Ok, so the plot of this book is both original (mutant rabies? Never heard that one before) and also very similar to other books (a virus that makes humans into Zombie like creatures anyone?) What probably sets it apart is the ease of which you can read this book. Wow it’s fast. Almost too fast at times and left me a little breathless. Things move so quickly, it looses some believability and the opportunity to bond and connect with the main characters suffers. Sherry moves from fifteen-year-old girl who has spent her adolescence in near isolation, to kick ass Weeper killing heroine in a heartbeat. I prefer more build on my stories and development of characters, but I can see others will love this approach. It certainly doesn’t give you time to get bored, that’s for sure.
I also found the book a bit squeamish, in particular the Weepers, who’s name comes from the fact their eyes ooze pus like liquid resembling tears. Every time it was mentioned my stomach heaved a little bit and I struggled to get the image out of my mind.  If you like a bit of gore though, then this might be right up your street.
The Other Life takes a look at medical science, biological warfare and government conspiracies,  which I did like. I love a conspiracy and there’s a big one in this book. While it’s not altogether unpredictable, it definitely raises some interesting questions about just what does go on in the name of science. I don’t understand why anyone would want to research and create diseases that would wipe out populations, but it happens. I also liked the mish mash of characters that find themselves thrown together. While we don’t find out much about them in this book, there’s potential for some very interesting people in future books.
While The Other Life was a fast and quick read, it didn’t bowl me over. I felt the pace meant some depth to both plot and characters was lost as well as plausibility. However, if you’re a fan of horror, action and gore then I’d say this would probably be up your street. I’d also recommend this book to reluctant readers and think they’ll find it engaging.
Published by Usborne February 2012 (UK)
Thanks to the publishers for providing a copy for review purposes

Similar books: Ashes by Ilsa J Bick and The Forest Of Hands and Teeth by Carrie Ryan both deal with a world attacked by a zombie virus, though both are more character driven. Life As We Knew It by Susan Pfeffer describes a world where the moon is knocked closer to earth but shares a similar survival story in isolation.

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