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