Sunday, April 20, 2014

Read THIS not THAT! - YA Zombies

The big trend in young-adult horror literature right now is zombies and the zombie apocalypse (as obvious by copious movie adaptations like The Walking Dead TV series, World War Z, Warm Bodies, etc) ... the young adult and adult sections are just overflowing with them the same way the vampire trend hit about five years ago, and you know what, just as every Interview with The Vampire has a Twilight, so zombie literature have its ups and downs. It's my job to weed the good ones from the not-so-good ones so you don't have to waste your time with it, and worry about you arsenal and supply hold for when the apocalypse actually happens...


20 Years Later - Honestly wasn't sure why this was billed as a zombie apocalypse novel. Yeah, there are zombies, but the zombies don't play a central role to the story. Most of the novel is brutal gang wars between survivors in a society that has completely collapsed in twenty years. As you are reading this book, the storyline just feels 'off' ... like it would make more sense if the story was 50 Years Later or even 30 Years Later... but it isn't, and maybe my idea of civilization completely collapsing is completely off-key 

ZOM-B - This new series comes from a big name in YA horror literature who has already tackles vampires, werewolves, demons, and more- Darren Shan. His stand-alone novel The Thin Executor took me by storm, so when this new publication came out, I was pretty excited. I'm happy he tackles controversial issues- having a racist main character (and then the racist character is confronted herself with discrimination against zombies)- but the story is poorly poorly plotted. 90% of the first book is bullshitting around angsty high school drama-llama. Granted, there is copious amounts of gore and violence, but for the majority of the series, the zombies barely meet the definition of zombies. Yeah, they crave brains, but they aren't always mindless killing machines. What's the fun in that? Sorry, Shan. 

Quarantine: The Loners - This one combines 'Lord of the Flies,' high school, and an illness that turns students into flesh-eating zombies. Sounds like a winning combination, right? Well, unfortunately, that's not the focus of this book at all. Instead of being a super awesome zombies survival adventure, Lex Thomas uses zombies to simply get all of the adults out of the school building so the students have to govern themselves. The story quickly becomes more about disaster-survival and gang wars than anything else. This in itself isn't bad. Quarantine: The Loners is a decent 'Lord of the Flies' high school story, but if you go into it expecting to read about zombies, you will be sorely disappointed. Nothing worse than a book that bills zombies, but doesn't provide zombies. 


Rot & Ruin - There are some hilariously weird elements to the story. For example, trading cards? We still care about trading cards in the zombie-apocalypse world? ... but if you can swallow that, then you will see another side to zombies. Most zombie literature deals with the zombies being inhuman monsters.... Rot&Ruin reminds us that the zombies were once humans and were once loved by people, and how turning into an undead is harder for family members to cope with than simply death itself. There are several beautiful moments in this story of this, and it is expertly handled. This is one of those zombie novels that needs to be read to get the full experience.

The Zombie Survival Guide - THIS is the book you need to be reading, rereading, memorizing, and taking to heart because it seriously takes every possible horrible zombie scenario you can imagine and gives you a logical answer as to how to deal with it and survive. The best part is that Max Brooks takes this book very very seriously too, and if you email him a question, he will tell you the answer as clearly outlined in the book or give you his 'scientific' answer. It is seriously that much fun to get into and then get into the roleplaying of it all.

The Enemy - Perhaps I am a little biased but this is my favorite zombie series of all time. Initially, it was because of the gross factor. These books are very graphic. Then it was the 'Lord of the Flies' factor where kids are governing themselves.... and then so much more happens on a political, religious, romance, OH MY GOSH this book has so many levels of depths. There is so much going on in one city at the same time and so many memorable characters. The zombies even begin to evolve in this book, and in a logical progression.If you are going to pick up one zombie series at all, it NEEDS to be this one. No questions asked.

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