Friday, September 28, 2007

Incredible Alternate History of Zombies and Life


Carl's RIP II Challenge was the perfect opportunity for me to justify reading another "Zombie" book so soon after Monster Island. And I'm so glad I did!! I've had a few people recommend World War Z by Max Brooks (352 pgs., Crown), and for a very good reason: It's such a unique way to tell a story!!


The subtitle of this book is "An Oral History of the Zombie War". And that's exactly the way it's written. A few years after the Zombie World War, a UN postwar Commission Report was written. The author (unnamed) was upset because the report he submitted was not the report that was presented. All the "human" element was removed. This book is a compilation of that human factor. Divided into sections detailing different aspects of the war, the author gives us a look at what happened through interviews with survivors. We learn a little about the initial outbreak of the Zombie epidemic that started in China and spread rapidly worldwide. We hear horror stories from survivors of the "great panic", and what each had to do in order to be telling the tale today. We learn about different countries and how they chose to turn the tide of the war. And we learn about heroes worldwide and how they stepped up to help their fellow man survive an attack like the world has never seen.


It's hard to review this book, because there are no central characters, no plot lines, no big finishes. It is written as if it is a documentary, detailing events and people all the way down to little footnotes of "historical" fact. And it is indeed chilling. Early on, I had expected this to be a funny book, taking a stab at the paranormal genre. What else would you expect from the son of Mel Brooks, but something of a parody?? But it isn't like that at all. It is a well-thought-out and carefully plotted book, that goes into such detail, it's hard to believe World War Z is just fiction!! Each little "interview" tells it's own little story, and Brooks ties them up nicely in his presentation. Not too much drama, but just the facts. Brooks also throws in a lot of political references in how he perceives the world would change if such a catastrophe occurred. Can you imagine a world in which Cuba is the new commerce capital? And yet, he does it so smoothly and believably, it's really hard to see it as fiction! Kudos to Brooks for such a unique and down-right fascinating book!! If there ever IS a Zombie epidemic, I know who's doorstep I'm going to show up on!! Max Brooks can lead us to Victory!! 4.5/5

10 comments:

Chris said...

Great review Steph! This one's been on my list for awhile...I had no idea how it was written though, just knew it was about zombies and that was enough for me :) I don't know if I'd like it or not without a central or character to get attached to....guess there's only one way to find out!

Literary Feline said...

This does sound intriguing. It isn't something I would normally find myself reading, but your review sure has my interest. Great review!

Nicola said...

What a wonderful review! I've never read anything like this before but you certainly make me want try.

Debi said...

Oh wow...I MUST get this book! My cousin-in-law(?) did NaNoWriMo last year and wrote a zombie book. It was my very first venture into the land of zombies...and I loved it. This sounds absolutely perfect for my next stab at the zombie world. Thanks...your review was fabulous!

Court said...

Wow. That sounds REALLY GOOD.

I've been hoping to read a zombie book for a while now, but have never known where to start. I think this one might be it. Thanks for such a great review!!

Melanie said...

The Zombie Survival Guide is by the same author and is quite funny. Laugh out loud funny.

kookiejar said...

You are right, Stephanie, between "World War Z" and "A Zombie Survival Guide" you can tell that Max Brooks has spent lots and lots of time thinking about how to survive the upcoming zombie apocalypse. He's humanity's only hope for survival. :)

jean pierre said...

steph, i'm looking forward to seeing what you have to say about this as i'm also reading it for the challenge.

i'll come back here the moment i've finished it! :)

Rhinoa said...

You know I don't think I have read any zombie books. Sounds interesting though, will keep a look out for it.

Anonymous said...

best book ever