May 9 2013 8:30am

I Would Die For You: An Introduction to Zombie Romance

Warm Bodies by Isaac MarionFor quite some time we have enjoyed paranormal romance, time travel romance, and more recently even post-apocalyptic romance, but how about zombies and romance? I can't say I'm a fan of romance between the actual zombies or even humans and zombies but being a big fan of zombie fiction, and combining it with a fantastic sexy romance? Sounds like my kind of read.

This new genre could be titled Zombie-Apocalyptic Romance. By just calling it “zombie romance” it gives the impression that it’s a romance between zombies, and for the majority of books this isn't the case. And because most people's response to zombie sex is “eeewwwww” (my thoughts exactly) they end up ignoring the genre completely, therefore missing out on the books where the romance is between two people, just set in a zombie-apocalyptic world.

Although I am one of those who have a hard time with the actual zombie being the primary focus of a heroine/heroes affection, I do love it when my human h/h are fighting against the zombies, all the while fancying the pants off each other and wanting to have lots of steamy sex. One zombie/human love story that did work and was my first foray into zombie-apocalyptic romance was Warm Bodies by Isaac Marion.

As you probably know, this was one of the most anticipated movie adaptations of 2013. It's a quirky romance between “R” (our zombie hero) and Julie (our human heroine). There are no sexy-times, there's no real angst, and it certainly isn't erotic. But it's a sweet romance in a story that’s inspiring and makes you think about humanity.

Plague Town by Dana FredstiIf quirky zombie/human romance doesn’t rock your boat, how about one that’s a combination of urban fantasy with romantic elements set in a zombie infested world? Let's take Plague Town by Dana Fredsti, the first in the fab Ashley Parker series featuring a pretty kickass heroine and a deliciously gorgeous hero. This does contain hot sexy timesm as well as lots of angst—this relationship runs hot and cold, but it’s just brilliant throughout. All the while there’s a great action-packed story with lots of zombie killing, guns and tanks, combined with friendship, romance and love.

Erotic romance is not separate from zombies, either; after a little research I found that there are a few erotic romances set in a zombie-apocalyptic world. Flesh, book one in the Flesh series by Kylie Scott is a seriously hot read with great characters, realistic world-building, and is really fun.

I’ve listed a few books below to get you started if you haven’t dipped your toe in the waters of zombie-apocalyptic romance yet.

Plague Town (Ashley Parker #1) by Dana Fredsti

Ashley was just trying to get through a tough day when the world turned upside down. A terrifying virus appears, quickly becoming a pandemic that leaves its victims, not dead, but far worse. Attacked by zombies, Ashley discovers that she is a 'Wild-Card'—immune to the virus—and she is recruited to fight back and try to control the outbreak.

Flesh (Flesh #1) by Kylie Scott

Ali has been hiding in an attic since civilisation collapsed eight weeks ago. When the plague hit, her neighbours turned into mindless, hungry, homicidal maniacs. Daniel has been a loner his entire life. Then the world empties and he realises that being alone isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. Finn is a former cop who is desperate for companionship, and willing to do anything it takes to protect the survivors around him.

When the three cross paths they band together; sparks fly, romance blooms in the wasteland and Ali, Daniel and Finn bend to their very human needs in the ruins of civilisation. Lust, love and trust all come under fire in Flesh as the three band together to survive, hunted through the suburban wastelands.

This story is rated “Hot” (4 out of 5 flames) and contains M/F/M and F/M pairings.

Room with a View (e-novella) by Kylie Scott

Natalie has watched as the zombie plague devastated civilisation. Angus had been a miracle. Twenty-three years old and gorgeous he had appeared like Romeo from the pool area and thrown supplies up to her balcony. But now Angus is gone—abandoned her, which is probably for the best. She couldn’t stand to watch him die too.

Stranded four floors up and fenced in on all sides by the infected, food and water supplies are running as low as Natalie’s spirits. A lingering death from starvation seems inevitable. But then she sees Angus striding for the pool gate with a sawn-off shotgun in his hands. Can he make it past the infected to reach her? And what will it mean if he does?

Love with a Chance of Zombies by Delphine DrydenLove with a Chance of Zombies by Delphine Dryden

Lena Stanton’s a sharpshooting zombie hunter with a hot-pink rifle and an attitude. Her latest assignment—guard bitten hero, Dr. Lucas Nye, and be ready to shoot the moment he starts to turn zombie.

In the meantime, considering she’s the last female the man will ever see, Lena’s happy to indulge the doc in hot, steamy sex until he becomes symptomatic. What? She has to do her part to repopulate the planet, right?

When last-minute research and a daring treatment could save Lucas, Lena has to choose. She can follow her heart and give the man a chance to live…or follow her commander’s orders and shoot to kill.

Dead Things by Meredith Russell

A deadly virus rages indiscriminately across the American States and then beyond. The survivors face a new terror—the walking undead-monsters created in the wake of the infection.

Devin Reid is part of a group surviving out of a high-security penitentiary near Kansas City. Resources are limited and it's down to a handful of people like Devin to meet the demand on food and supplies. The newly-made monsters are hungry, and the survivors risk their lives scavenging the cities and highways.

On one fateful venture, Devin finds something — or rather someone with the potential to change a dark future, destined for blood and heartbreak, into one of hope and second chances. He finds Noah Weber.

How To Train Your Zombie by Catherine Winchester

The zombie apocalypse, which has devastated the world, is in its final throes when Meg's husband is bitten. She has lost so much already that she simply can't face losing him too, so when it becomes apparent that he is about to join the ranks of the walking dead, she decides to employ her skills as a dog trainer and takes it upon herself to train him.

Not only must she face the dangers inherent in close contact with a zombie, she must also protect him from outside forces that mean him harm. Can she convince the handsome yet stern Colonel MacDonald that he deserves a chance? Can she stop him being used for vivisection? What about those who want to use him as bait for other zombies?

Join Meg during the final few months of the Zombie War, as she shares her, at times, gruesome, sad and darkly humorous story.

Abercrombie Zombie by KZ SnowAbercrombie Zombie by KZ Snow

Dead folks are the best friends of Quinn McConnell and Hunter Janz. Dead folks pay the bills for this team of psychic mediums… but just barely. To make it into the financial comfort zone, they need to outshine their competition. Quinn needs even more than that. He’s been infatuated with his partner for the nearly three years they've been together, and if he can’t either get over his crush or make something happen with Hunter, they’ll have to split up. Sexual tension and unrequited love can wreak havoc with a psychic’s reception.

Salvation comes hobbling along in the form of a well-dressed but ravaged-looking man who can clearly see and converse with the dearly departed. Why? Because, he claims, he has something in common with them: He’s also been dead. The zombie who calls himself Dustin DeWind needs the psychics’ help in finding the man who made him what he is. In return, he promises to steer them toward the often elusive spirits that are their stock in trade. But something more goes on when Quinn and Hunter forge an uneasy alliance with Dustin DeWind. It seems he’s also nudging them toward each other…

Warm Bodies by Isaac Marion

'R' is a zombie. He has no name, no memories and no pulse, but he has dreams. He is a little different from his fellow Dead. Amongst the ruins of an abandoned city, R meets a girl. Her name is Julie and she is the opposite of everything he knows—warm and bright and very much alive, she is a blast of colour in a dreary grey landscape. For reasons he can't understand, R chooses to save Julie instead of eating her, and a tense yet strangely tender relationship begins.

This has never happened before. It breaks the rules and defies logic, but R is no longer content with life in the grave. He wants to breathe again, he wants to live, and Julie wants to help him. But their grim, rotting world won't be changed without a fight...

Have you read and enjoyed any zombie-apocalyptic romance?


Carolyn Morgan runs the UK based site focusing on urban fantasy and all genres of romance. She’s highly addicted to chocolate, shopping & specialty teas, and her obsession with zombies and David Beckham is well known. You can also find Carolyn on Twitter (@BookChickCity) and Facebook.

Subscribe to this conversation (must be logged in):
1. BookieFran
I'm surprised Taking on the Dead isn't on this list, but maybe because it isn't widely known? Great list though, I've enjoyed all of these.
Carolyn Morgan
2. Carolyn Morgan
@BookieFran - I have heard of Taking on the Dead but I had the impression it was young adult and as I don't read YA this was just a list of Adult books I'd either read or come across :)
3. Laura Summers
You're right zombie romance does conjure up some really icky visions for me! I am yet to read a zombie book and I don't know why as I really enjoy The Walking Dead for instance, I think I must pick up one soon. Great post x
Carolyn Morgan
4. Carolyn Morgan
@Laura Summers - Thanks Laura. I am now glomming my way through quite a few at the moment, so if I come across one I think you'll like I will definitely let you know. I think you really need to pop your zombie romance cherry *or is that eyeball* ;) x
5. Gemma Harding
I haven't read any of those booka, but I did go see Warm Bodies at the cinema. like Laura, I too have less than nice thoughts about Zombie Romance. Bits breaking off when a zombie and human are partaking in the horizontal tango. Saying that a few of those books have caught my eye, especially how tk train your zombie
Carolyn Morgan
6. Carolyn Morgan
@Gemma Harding - I know what you mean, that is why I don't like grouping these books under the title "zombie romance" as that's exactly what people think. But as you can see there are also romances between people fighting against the zombies. I've read a few now and I'm really enjoying them :)
Maggie Boyd
7. maggieboyd66
I've read the YA novels Dearly Departed and Dearly Beloved. They have a sweet romance and an interesting take on the zombie apocolypse.
8. wsl0612
@maggie - YES! Lia Habel's books are the only zombie romance I've read that I really found romantic. The ick factor is really high in zombie fiction, I generally avoid it.
Carolyn Morgan
9. Carolyn Morgan
@maggieboyd66 - I haven't read the books you mentioned but I'm glad you enjoyed them. The only book I've read so far with a zombie/human romance is Warm Bodies, which I really enjoyed, but generally I think I prefer the romance between people, fighting against the zombies.

@wslo612 - I think a lot of people here the words "zombie romance" and get the "ick factor", however many of the books I've read the romance is between the humans, which I must admit appeals to me more.
10. wsl0612
@Carolyn - I know, but even if there's a good romance between humans with zombies as part of the plot I still tend to avoid those books. They're just generally so gross, I've seen too many good Hollywood effects.
Carolyn Morgan
11. Carolyn Morgan
@wslo612 - I can totally understant that. Zombies aren't for everyone. But for me, being a fan of zombies and then having a strong, delicious, sexy romance added into the mix, is pretty much heaven LOL
12. Penny Alley
Dang it! Just when I thought I wouldn't expand my paranormal what-to-read list any further. I had serious reservations about Warm Bodies because I just couldn't see how it would work...but it did. I loved the movie and the book even more. Now, having read this list, I've got at least four more stories and a whole new genre to add to my library! lol DANG it!
Carolyn Morgan
13. Carolyn Morgan
@Penny Alley - Hehe, I'm pleased that I have enticed you to add more books to your reading list. Warm Bodies was a surprise for me too, but I thought it was a wonderful book. Which of the four in my list have you thought about adding to your library?
14. Nae28
I picked up Wunder by A.R. Von the other day on Amazon, on special. It's her debut novel, it looks really great.
15. Tera Shanley
Eeek I love this post! I know it's a few months old but I stumbled onto it while searching for more reads in my genre. Great recommendations! I wanted to add another to the list if that's okay :) Love in the Time of the Dead is a sweet human love story set against the background of the zombie apocalypse.
Post a comment