It’s hard to imagine a debut novel about zombies standing out in such an overflowing genre, but Stevie Kopas pulls it off with flying colors in her debut novel, The Breadwinner. The book starts with an interesting perspective, focusing on the coddled elite of society– who are not used to wanting for anything– being forced to fight for their survival like animals. Her characters deal with the end of the world with gritty human reactions ranging from outright denial to cold calculated acceptance. She has a wonderful fluid writing style and a deep insight on the psychology behind her character’s actions. They read like real people with flaws and goals as varied as the earth’s populace. I enjoyed watching them progress as they face decisions they never imagined they would encounter. She pushes her characters to their limits. Some break while others excel to heights they didn’t believe possible. “She closed her eyes but all she saw was the death of her father. She opened her eyes up and all she saw was the death of the world.” she says Veronica, age 16, as she runs through the carnage of what was once her city.
Her descriptive sentences stood out particularly. When she gives us our first look at a zombie she writes “Before him staggered the corpse of what once was a woman. Her soiled clothing hung from her emaciated frame, only one shoe on and half of her right hand was missing. The thing hissed and groaned, stumbling over its own pathetic feet, but never breaking eye contact.” In two sentences she gives us a beautiful amount of information and gently reminds the reader that these were once people, while being clear in the distinction that they no longer are.
Kopas ability to weave multiple stories into one is astounding. She is not afraid to mislead you a little, always staying a few steps ahead of her readers. This may be her debut novel, but she reads like a seasoned author, bringing her story to a triumphant climax. I look forward to reading the next books in her trilogy, and honestly would not mind having her on my side in any oncoming apocalypse.