BOOK REVIEW: WINTER SMITH - THE SECRETS OF FRANCE BY J.S. STRANGE
Winter Smith: Secrets of France is the sequel to J.S. Strange’s 2016 zombie YA novel, Winter Smith: London’s Burning. Just to clarify, it’s young adults vs. zombies, not an In The Flesh kinda thing. You can read my review of the first novel here.
I’ll try to keep this review as spoiler-free as possible, because quite a few things happen in this second installment. If you read my previous review, you know that I liked London’s Burning quite a bit, and not only cause I’m a sucker for any kind of zombie book/movie. It’s a good story, and I believe Strange really has a knack for balancing a plot-driven narrative and character development. You can definitely see this in The Secrets of France. You can see Winter grow in this new environment that was so new to everyone in the first book, and the other characters like Zach and Violet have more nuance.
When the group arrives in France, it’s clear that the safety they sought was never really there. But they do get closer to the source of the apocalypse. One of the secrets of France is the emergence of a villain character in the series, V. Through this discovery, we get more insight around the events of the first book and the nature of the zombies in the series (which was one of my favorite things about London’s Burning in my review). Things get more complicated once Winter and her friends join The Union, an underground group that wants to tear down V’s government. And that’s where a spoiler-free review stops. You can find out the rest once you start reading the book.
While London’s Burning was definitely a very solid debut novel, you can see how the plot and the pace of The Secrets of France is a step up, and it makes for a very enjoyable reading experience. I’m not going to use a hyperbolic Godfather comparison, but as far as sequels go, this one definitely exceeded my expectations in terms of story and characters.
If you have a few hours on a Sunday afternoon, this would be a very nice and enjoyable one-sitting read. Cool characters, intriguing plot, a page-turner pace, what more do you want? Did I mention zombies?
Co-Founder and Editor-in-Chief of Pendora since Jan. 2016. Successfully impersonated a student of English literature and now a Publishing student in Edinburgh. Interested in the direction English literature is taking in the 21st century, noir comics, beautifully shot films. Can bore you to death with Hollywood trivia, extensive knowledge of Leonard Cohen, and La La Land. TWITTER INSTAGRAM