Sunday, December 15, 2013

Book Review: Zom-B By: Darren Shan

"Twisting and turning, racing along corridors, tears streaming down my face, I pant and stumble, but never fall or falter. Never look back either, afraid of what I might see, zombies or Dad, one as bad as the other" (169).

Title: Zom-B
Author: Darren Shan
Amount of Pages: 192
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Release Date: October 16, 2012
Geared Towards: Older Middle Grade Readers +
From: Publisher (Review Copy) 
I was not paid for this review

Summary (From Front Flap): When the news starts reporting a zombie outbreak in Ireland, B's father thinks it's a hoax-but even if it isn't, the two of them joke, it's only the Irish, right? 

That is, until zombies actually attack the school. B is forced on a mad dash through the sepentine corridors of high school, making allegiances with anyone with enough gall to fight off their pursuers. But when they come face-to-face with ravenous, oozing corpses, all bets are off. There are no friends. No allies. Just whatever it takes to survive. 

Wdebo's Review: I got this book last year and have been reading it on and off and was finally able to complete it today. There was just so much going on with this book, so let's get started with this review. 

I was struggling with whether or not I wanted to post up that summary especially given that zombies were only briefly mentioned in the prologue, the beginning chapters of the book and brought back up again during the later half of the book. I probably would have completely forgotten it was supposed to be a zombie book if it wasn't for the title and the cover. 

The novel itself is very thin and simple and went by very quickly. It tried to tackle way too much with the amount of space it was given.Yes, I know that this is the first book of the series; however, the way the author tried to introduce all of the topics he wanted to talk about into this one small book just did not work very well for me.

The prologue talks about a boy who prays to a mysterious man to save him during a zombie apocalypse and it goes to to talk about the protagonist, B and their father. It is pretty crazy that I had no idea B was a girl until the very end of the story. I had been picturing a teenage boy trying to be tough all the time, so reading that B was a girl came as a bit of a shock. Then the zombies are kind of forgotten and instead the novel focuses on B's abusive and racist father. The first half of the book discusses the topic of racism and how B believes she is only going along with her father's behavior in hopes of his love and approval, that she didn't feel any true hatred towards any minorities. I'm not entirely sure what Shan was trying to create with this mental struggles because I think that he was trying to create a sympathetic character in which the readers could empathize with B's struggles with her father and then her struggles as she tries to get out of her school alive during the surprise zombie attack. However, this humanization failed to reach me. I felt no true feelings for B. Her character, instead of seeing her in a sympathetic light, I just wrote her off as whinny and annoying. She seemed like she was just trying to brainwash herself into believing a lie about herself. She just tried to make herself out to be more of a innocent player than she actually was. I do like how Shan tried to incorporate such an important topic like racism into the story but it just seemed like it was not a topic that was developed enough, strangely, much like the rest of the subject matter presented in the book.

Everything in the story felt too rushed. It wasn't the fact that it didn't have enough detail, all of the story matter and detail felt too superficial, which is why this story went by much more quickly than it should have. Shan had an interesting plot in the making, there was much potential for an exciting, deep storyline to be woven but it just fell flat. These two topics should have been woven together much more tightly than they actually were. There was effort, just not enough to truly create a on-the-edge-of-your-seat atmosphere that I seek in post-apoclyptic/zombie stories.

Cafe Cover Chat: I like it, it works well for a zombie novel. (B+)

All in all, a fairly generic take on zombie stories that tried to take on more than it actually could and so by doing so it did not really work for me at all. I don't think I will be checking out book #2 anytime soon. 

Grade: C+

Wdebo :)

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