Review – World War Z

World War ZMy husband, who doesn’t read much fiction, bought World War Z one night as we were browsing our local bookstore. I’d heard about it, good things too, but I figured I was done with the zombie thing. A few weeks after said purchase, we find ourselves at the movies and on comes the preview of the movie version of World War Z, which looks awesome by the way. We get home and my husband goes looking for the book, and for the next two evenings, does nothing but read. For a man who doesn’t read fiction, he can’t get enough of it. Of course, I had to read it. And now that the movie is coming out, I’m finally getting around to my review. Here’s my take.

There’s a reason this book is subtitled an oral history of the zombie war. It’s exactly what it is. The author himself plays a part as the curator of the stories of individuals that have survived the zombie war. He travels the world speaking with people who have, in some way, large or small, made an impact in the war. The introduction of this book is critical to understand why these stories are being collected and told this way. You see, Brooks was an agent of the United Nations that helped to document the ten year war against the zombie outbreak, but when the final document is published, he realizes how much was left out. He plans to change that with this book.

I have to give it to the author — this was an incredibly effective way to make this fiction seem real. The individuals’ stories fake or not, are scary and totally believable. He pulls in religious factors, political factions, impact of political decisions, and the final result on not just humanity but the world as a whole. I have to say, bravo on that one. Brooks made a zombie story completely believable. The way he describes the spread of the plague — organ donation as one way — is brilliant and the political ramification in attempting to stop it are so detailed you can picture this happening in the world we live in.

OK, so I’ve gushed but I do have some little complaints. It began to feel repetitive and tedious to me. There’s a ton of military interviews and only so many descriptions of how to shoot a zombie in the head that I can take. But, it makes sense, he’s describing a war and I get that. I’m just not much for reading battle scenes, of which there are many here. Also, he interviews very few women. Jenny, over at Jenny’s Books, talk about this so I hand it over to her. Go read it.

I didn’t read The Zombie Survival Guide, which is Brooks’s first book. My sister, a zombie aficionado, did and when I told her I was reading this I’m pretty sure she starting salivating and wanted to get her hands on it.  I promised I’d send it as soon as I finished the review, which oddly, I wrote after only a few days which is totally not my style but anything for the sister.

So, the movie. Will I be seeing it? Probably. I have to say the preview looked damn good and if it’s anything like the book, I’ll probably not want to leave my house for a bit. Until I’m sure there aren’t any walking dead in my hallway. But, I know to aim for the head so I’m prepared.

World War Z

By Max Brooks
Crown Publishing Group
ISBN: 9780307346612

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Review – Autumn: The City

Autumn: The City

By David Moody

St. Martin’s Griffin

ISBN: 9780312570002

4 stars

Donna Yorke is reporting for the early shift at her office when her colleague is overcome by a strange coughing fit that quickly turns into a bloody, choking convulsion killing her in minutes. After trying unsuccessfully to help several colleagues and friends in the office experiencing the same symptoms, she moves the bodies to a far off section of the office not wanting to look at her dead co-workers. Afraid to leave not knowing what she’ll face outside, Donna gathers supplies and holds up in her small office with a sleeping bag, some snacks from the vending machine, and a flashlight to ward off the dark.

On the other side of the city, Jack Baxter is hiding in his home when he makes the fateful decision to leave his refuge in the hope of finding other survivors. He finds one; a young girl named Clare who lost her parents to the disease. Together they make their way into the city center and after spending a comfortable night in a department store, they make a gruesome discovery — the corpses are moving around, awkwardly, but they’re moving on their own. When Jack and Clare hear a car they track it down hoping to find others like themselves. Not only do they find two survivors but are told there is a group of about fifty people living at the local university.

The university has become a beacon for not only survivors but the dead who surround the place. Drawn to the living, the re-animated corpses flock to the university, and at first are calm almost unaware of the living walking among them but that soon changes. In a few short days, the rather sedate corpses become violent, attacking survivors venturing out and stalking out places where the living are congregating.

Soon after, a soldier left behind after a failed mission into the city joins up with the university group. Knowing food supplies are running low, a decision is made by the survivors to make their way to the military base in the hope of finding supplies and other survivors. What they don’t count on is how the dead will react to the plan.

I wasn’t sure if I should refer to this book as apocalypse or zombie fiction. As far as the survivors are concerned, it’s the end of the world they knew. Then again, it’s also a story full of the walking dead; although I was appreciative of the fact Moody doesn’t mention the word zombie anywhere in the book. Reminding me of Richard Matheson’s I Am Legend, Moody manages to evoke a loneliness that feels surprising real slowly introducing us to each survivor along the way. One thing he doesn’t do is get bogged down in details and in a way it’s refreshing. Why should I know what’s going on when none of the survivors do? Some might find that annoying but in this book, I enjoyed the sense of lawlessness and the unknown Moody created and he didn’t deviate which can be so tempting in a story like this one. Leaving the reader with very little knowledge made it interesting to imagine what would have caused the metamorphosis.

This isn’t a book for everyone. While it’s not gross or disgusting, quite restrained actually, it’s not something you read at lunch either. And it does have a few scenes that reminded me of a popular zombie movie but if you’re willing to look past those small bits, Autumn: The City is a fast and entertaining read.

Autumn: The City is the second book in the Autumn series.

In addition to this blog, I also do reviews for The Book Reporter website. The above review was done for the Book Reporter which can be found here. The book was provided to me by the publisher.

Pride & Prejudice & Zombies

 

Pride & Prejudice & Zombies

Pride & Prejudice & Zombies

Pride & Prejudice & Zombies

By Jane Austen and Seth Grahame-Smith

Quirk Books

ISBN: 978-1-59474-334-4

5 stars

I will start this off by saying that Pride & Prejudice is one of my favorite books so I felt a bit predisposed to liking this book even before I finished the first page. Really, who cannot love a brooding Darcy who slays zombies while trying to court Elizabeth Bennett in his rather unorthodox way?

The book follows along the same lines as the original with a few new details regarding swords, training, and the newly minted dead.

It all begins with a new arrival in Netherfield Park. The Bennett’s are, needless to say, very interested in the newcomers as they don’t see many in the county and, well, with all the zombies running about, people have cut back on their travel. Of course the proper introductions are made and Mrs. Bennett, in a conniving move to get her daughter Jane close to the newly arrived and very much single, Mr. Bingley, she sends her to pay a visit. Jane gets caught in the rain and becomes sick necessitating a stay at the house. Elizabeth, fearing the worst for her sister, trudges over fighting zombies and inclement weather to see her. She gets her first real look at Darcy during this visit and finds him abhorrent.

Days and weeks follow, balls come and go, visits are paid, trips made and Darcy keeps falling further down on Elizabeth’s likability scale. She must admit his skill for killing the reanimated is legendary but she cannot bring herself to like him. Unfortunately for Elizabeth, she does have to spend time in his circle of friends and acquaintances, making life annoying for her, at least as far as he is concerned.

It is only after she finds out he has helped immensely with a great family mishap and possible embarrassment that her opinion of Darcy changes. However, after having already vehemently denied his proposal of marriage, Elizabeth is not sure anything would still be possible between them.

As Austen fans know, there is much more to this story that I am providing here. It is certainly more than a boy meets girl love story and one that keeps readers engaged to the very end with some amazing characters. It’s witty, smart, and endearing. Each time I finish the book I can’t wait to read it again. I have to admit that Pride & Prejudice & Zombies may be have made it onto my must re-read list of favorites.

Why? It’s fun. I adore the original for the wonderful love story that it is and the new one brings freshness (with the exception of the addition of zombies and rotting corpses) to the story. It’s an amusing take on a classic. I found the blood and gore talk nominal, (although you are talking about zombies here so beheadings are to be expected) but there is a lot of talk about vomit that I could have done without, but all in all, a good read. And for those strident fans of the original, Darcy is still proud and Elizabeth is still prejudice.