Zom-B Darren Shan Book Review

I am bizarrely attracted to books about zombies, even though they scare the living daylights out of me pretty much every single time.The reason behind my zombie book attraction is that I can hand a book to Tony and no matter the cover, if it’s about zombies, he will read it and then we fulfill my intellectual fantasy of talking about books. When I saw Zom-B by Darren Shan glimmering in piles at BEA, I knew I should probably pick it up because it’s about zombies and it’ll give me something to talk about with Tony. Unfortunately, we both ended up not exactly being huge fans.

Zom-B Darren Shan Book Cover

Zom-B starts on a rather high note. There’s an author note imploring that people not spoil and so, I won’t spoil the twists here, except to say I found them disappointing. I found myself utterly engaged by the prologue, in which there is utter pandemonium. You see, there’s this zombie outbreak and this kid sees his mom and dad pretty much eat each other. And so, being terrified he runs away to this man who seems powerful and unaffected by the zombies, hoping the man will save him. Unfortunately, the man is the kid’s doom. And y’all, if the entire book was as horrific and addicting as the prologue I would have loved it. BUT, instead we end up in England, where news of the zombie outbreak in Ireland is on TV. B and the friends of B think it’s just a publicity stunt and not real, and so they go on living their lives as normal, until you know, the zombies show up. But, most of the chapters that we get are pictures of B’s life, from B’s abusive home life with a racist father, to school, where B does not do well and acts like a total racist, like B’s dad.

Frankly, I thought B was one of the most unlikeable characters I have ever come across. B is rude. B is mean. B is racist. And, okay, I get that B is a product of their upbringing, but it’s upsetting as a reader with modern sensibilities to read about a kid who is so blase about making racist comments and who thinks it’s cool to pick on kids of color, just because dad does it. B does some very awful things within the book, and frankly, I was kind of glad that B got what was coming to B.

Luckily, Zom-B by Darren Shan is a very quick and easy read, so even though I didn’t like it, it’s not like a whole lot of my life was wasted reading it. The chapters are incredibly short. There is full page art, which unfortunately my copy did not have the final art. ALSO, each new chapter begins on a black page with white writing. It’s really a cool effect which makes for a page turner. Plus, even though I found the characters to be rephrensible, I cannot deny that the book is action packed and even though I didn’t like it, I bet another person totally will.

Disclosure: Received for review at BEA 12.

Other reviews of Zom-B by Darren Shan:

Cheezyfeet Books – “It was tense, knowing that any minute a zombie could pop up, knock one of the characters out, and eat their brains.

Book Probe – “Darren Shan’s writing voice and “plot” may have deepened the ravine and furthered the distance between myself and the book.

The Readiacs – “it seems very hollow and hungry for violence … just like its zombies

About April (Books&Wine)

April is 28 years old and created Good Books And Good Wine. She works for a non-profit. In her free time she can be found reading, working out, or eating junk food. She often wears her sunglasses at night.

Comments

  1. Hmmm…… One should never not like the main characters. Maybe we can start out not liking them, but they should grow into someone we care about. Sounds like a pass for me (despite TOTALLY loving Zombie stories!!!) Thanks for the great advice April!

  2. Seems like we felt exactly the same way about this book. Glad I’m not the only person. In the end I thought B would have redeemed himself… but nooooo, he didn’t. But then again, serves him right!

    Your US covers are pretty nice though.

    Braiden

  3. I definitely agree that I wish we had stuck with what was happening in the prologue more. That dude was so freaking creepy.

    I thought this was entertaining, but I had pretty low expectations, so I liked it a bit better than you did.

  4. I’m sorry the book wasn’t what you wanted it to be.
    And I don’t think I would like B, I have a hard time with racist characters – though I do think you can write characters that start prejudice and learn to see past that later on, it doesn’t seem like that happens here.

    I hope your next read is better and I’m glad this book wasn’t a total loss either 😀

  5. I like zombie books too. It’s so sad when they’re disappointing. Sorry you didn’t like it much. Thanks for the review! 😀

  6. Well, this makes me sad because I just got this one for review. Maybe I’ll like it better than you did.

  7. Hmmm. I have been wondering if I should read this, but I don’t think I’ll rush out to get it.

    Thanks for the review. 😀

  8. I’m sorry you didn’t like it. I agree that it’s difficult when a writer asks you to get inside the head of someone with racist tendencies, but I also think sometimes we need to explore uncomfortable territories if we are to better understand and deal with them. B is a character who comes from a very dark, ugly place, and the question the series poses is — is there hope for someone like B? I think we see towards the end of the first book that there seems to be, and this is a theme that will be further explored in the subsequent books.

    The majority of reviews for the book have actually been extremely positive – http://www.darrenshan.com/reviews/list/zom-b/ – but obviously the subject matter is proving troublesome for some. I’ve no problem with a horror novel also being a book about social commentary, but I respect the fact that some horror afficionados prefer their scares staight-up, no strings attached.

    • Right, I think you have a good point about exploring uncomfortable territories. I’ve linked to a positive review and am glad that it is getting positive attention. For me, it wasn’t the right book, but I imagine that others will enjoy it and I’m still willing to try out the Cirque du Freak books. Thanks for the comment and stopping by.

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