Let’s face it, plagues are bad enough in real life. But there are worse kinds of them in books; plagues that reach apocalyptic proportions. Fuel for nightmares. Any bookworm out there will tell you that reading can get scary sometimes. Right here right now, I will be listing a few viral diseases that make the Black Death look like a case of the flu.
Warning: if you like to get in your books knowing nothing, be careful of minor spoilers here. You definitely can skip the one featuring a book you didn’t read.
1. The Flare | The Maze Runner by James Dashner
Number 1 and Number 2 on this list are quite close in levels of Horrible™ . But the flare is not your typical Zombie Virus. If you didn’t read the book and watched The Scorch Trials movie, wipe it out of your mind, it’s nothing like the actual virus.
The Flare has the unfortunate and quite inconvenient habit of being airbourne, like viruses do. All understatements aside though; What makes it really bad, is that it’s ‘alive’. The infected retain a very basic and mostly twisted logic. And lose everything else of their former selves. They aren’t zombies, because they are still alive. Just don’t be surprised to see some cannibalism among them and/or horrific facial and bodily features. The disease eats up the brain and gets worse the more you use it. Top notch scary, I know.
The book’s Goodreads Page
2. The Shakes | Illuminae by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff
This one is almost as bad as the Flare. I will try to not spoil anything, but I can tell you this: expect from The Shakes exactly what its name suggests.
Symptoms are, at the beginning, similar to regular stress/anxiety/trauma, so it can be hard to diagnose. But once it settles, one becomes mostly a zombie-like monster. Except they can still talk ( And I wish they couldn’t. )
Oh, and bonus creepiness ? The infected all keep saying the same thing. I won’t tell you, go read the book. Unless you already know (in which case WHAT are you doing instead of discussing it in the comments with me?)
3. The Red Death | The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey
There are thousands of species of birds on every continent. And birds don’t recognize borders. They also crap a lot. They cram five or six times a day. That’s over a trillion little missiles raining down each day, every day.
You couldn’t invent a more efficient delivery system for a virus that has a 97% percent kill rate.
Yes. Quite scary. This book tends to be delightful like that xD
This plague belongs on this list precisely because of how terrifyingly infectious, and murderous it is. The quote was creepy enough, I’ll leave you to read the book and find out more yourself.
4. The Blood Fever – The Young Elites by Marie Lu
While the others are more or less like the Zombie-type virus, this one is the fantasy equivalent of The Black Death. Except that it leaves survivors marked, and gives them powerful abilities. This is not a spoiler, you find out about it from page 1, I think. The markings it leaves are quite peculiar, and sometimes they’re even beautiful. I know it sounds terrible, but this sickness being what it is, is maybe the reason I love this book so much. Perhaps because it shaped both the characters and the world in a way that makes it irreplaceable.
5. Ophiocordyceps Unilateralis – The Girl with All the Gifts by M.R Carey
I had to google the full name, by the way. No way I’d have remembered the mouthful 😂
It’s not virus, but more of a fungus. So stay away from any source of spores. The worst part about it, is that it exists in real life.
I’m serious, but before you barricade your doors and windows; it doesn’t infect people ( That’s where the sci fi part interferes in this book, to make it do that). This fungus infects ants, and nests in the brain. Now our poor ant is dead by then, but the fungus takes over control of its body, and to quote Wikipedia:
Infected hosts leave their canopy nests and foraging trails for the forest floor, an area with a temperature and humidity suitable for fungal growth; they then use their mandibles to affix themselves to a major vein on the underside of a leaf, where the host remains until its eventual death.
If I’ve given you the creeps, I’m sorry, here’s some ice cream for your trouble 💙:
- Have you read one or more of these books ?
- Are there any pandemics you know that should have been in this list ?
- Do you plan on adding them to your TBR ?
- What are some of your favorite apocalyptic/post-apocalyptic books?
I’ll see you in the comments !