Tuesday, 11 September 2012

Book Review: Zom-B by Darren Shan

Zom-B (Zom-B, #1)Title: Zom-B
Author: Darren Shan
Series: Zom-B, #1
Pages: 217
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Children's
Date of Publication: 27th September 2012
Source: Publisher*
Synopsis from Goodreads:
Zom-B is a radical new series about a zombie apocalypse, told in the first person by one of its victims. The series combines classic Shan action with a fiendishly twisting plot and hard-hitting and thought-provoking moral questions dealing with racism, abuse of power and more. This is challenging material, which will captivate existing Shan fans and bring in many new ones. As Darren says, "It's a big, sprawling, vicious tale...a grisly piece of escapism, and a barbed look at the world in which we live. Each book in the series is short, fast-paced and bloody. A high body-count is guaranteed!"

My Thoughts:
Having just finished reading Pride & Prejudice for school, I needed something short and kind of silly to read to get back into reading YA properly again. I chose Zom-B, because it's about as far from the Jane Austen regency era as you can get, and it was perfect.

One of the things I really liked about this book (because it surprised me) was that it wasn't full on zombie attacks the whole way through, as I expected it to be from looking at the cover. We hear about the zombies at the beginning, but it isn't until about halfway through that the zombies actually appear properly, if that makes sense. I liked the build-up, knowing they were coming, but not knowing when. It was tense, knowing that any minute a zombie could pop up, knock one of the characters out, and eat their brains. (Yeah, there was a lot of brain eating...) It meant we could see a lot of the characters in a normal environment and get to know them a little bit before they all get zombified...

But, I kind of really didn't like B. B seemed to be a bit of a delinquent, in that B steals things and smokes, and picks fights with people for no reason (or maybe I'm just being judgmental). There was also the whole racism thing. B's dad is a racist and B has just picked up his racist ways while living with him. B's mind could never be made up about black people, and even though I don't think B actually was a racist (the best friend is black), B still picked on them for no reason, and it annoyed me that B couldn't, or wouldn't, stand up and refuse to do what the dad wanted B to, even though it was obviously wrong. It did make me think though, about who the real monsters are, and B says it at the end. B's dad is VILE. I hated him. I haven't hated a character as much as I hate him for a long time, and it's nice to be able to read something that makes me feel so much, even if it *is* hatred.

The few other zombie books I've read (Dark Inside, The Way We Fall and Ashes) absolutely terrified me. This one, however, didn't really scare me at all. I don't know why, but it felt more silly than sinister, and in all honesty, every one getting ripped apart or having their brains eaten just grossed me out or made me giggle rather than frighten me. It's just so gory and so violent, that I couldn't really take it seriously... It's not necessarily a bad thing - it's nice to be able to not be expecting zombies to eat me in bed at night, but I was kind of expecting it to be just a little bit scary, at least. Maybe it was because I read it all at once in daylight... I don't know!

I did feel like there were too many characters and they all had stupid (although very inventive and amusing) nicknames, and I couldn't keep up with who was who. I'm sure some of them were just there so that they could be killed off by the zombies, and while I'm glad that not all the kids with B survived (that sounds really bad, but that would be very unrealistic in a zombie situation), I did feel like some more character building could have been added had there been fewer characters, and then I could actually care when they died. I was never really sad to see one of the characters eaten, or scratched, and left to die or turn into a zombie themselves - I didn't get a chance to connect with the characters enough to care about them.

Overall though, Zom-B was a really gripping read that is quick and exciting. It's super easy to read and at only 217 pages it's a great way to spend an evening after a long day at school. I'm not sure how far I'll make it through the 12 part series that this is the first of, but I'm most definitely looking forward to the next few after the couple of huge twists towards the end. I hope I'll get to read them all! I'd recommend for zombie fans, but if you're squeamish, you should probably steer clear!

*Thanks to Simon & Schuster Children's for sending me this in exchange for an honest review. In no way has this affected my opinion of the book. 

3 comments:

  1. Great review! I've never read anything by Darren Shan but it seems like I've been missing out on something! I am also a huge fan of Zombies, so I might have to check this out! Thanks for sharing!

    Steph @ SOOTP

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  2. This sounds really good, I have it on my pile to read soon and I'm really looking forward to it :)

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  3. Must have been a pretty hard contrast to Pride & Prejudice haha. I read my first zombie book only a few months ago. The Hunt by Andrew Fukuda. To my surprise, I really enjoyed it. Would pick up Zom-B, but a 12 part book series? That's just insane!

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