Book Blog Bonanza | 12 December 2014 | Matthew R Bell

So, I've not long completed The Maze Runner series, and my first thought as usual after finishing a set of books was a scary one : what the hell do I read next? And yes, panic ensued. I feared for my sanity. I didn't want to start another series from the start, I didn't have a clue what stand-alone novel I wanted to pick up. I was lost. The terror of falling into a slump started to crawl over me in waves.

And then I caught sight of my beautiful line of Darren Shan novels, and it sparked. Ever since Zom-B Mission I've been desperate to continue the series, but alas, life came round to spoil that, and it slipped from my mind. Until now. I realised with delight that I knew where to go next, I had the money and some time, and what better early Christmas present could I gift myself but books?

And Zom-B Circus is free right now on Amazon you say?

I was definitely there faster than a zombie could have been for fresh brains. Not only that, but I also took the liberty of purchasing the next two in the series for myself, the two - that come - tomorrow!

SPOILER WARNING. - Not too spoilery, but just in case.

So Zom-B Circus isn't a story that focuses on our series' main protagonist B, even though she does make a brief cameo. Our story focuses on Cat. A strong, steel-willed teacher, who finds herself, along with everyone else, thrown into a zombie apocalypse. But Cat is no weak human, no sir. With some questionable actions and instincts to rival the best, she survives, and even prospers.
But for people like her, is there any way to stay safe, or will the universe reach round to tap her on the shoulder when she least expects it?

I finished Circus within the hour. It is only over a hundred pages, and along with my insatiable need to continue the series, I flew through it. But its length doesn't stop it from packing one helluva punch. The story is fascinating. A true look into the mind of someone who will do anything to survive, and a harsh glimpse at the force we humans have called karma. It's a thrilling tale, that not only does wonders for the world building and giving a better look at the enemies of the novels, but it also does a great job of reinforcing B's growth. B Smith isn't in Circus for long, just a fleeting scene, something that would normally be just a fun cameo. In this case, it's anything but. It's B before the apocalypse, the rash, rude and racist delinquent we follow in the very first entry to Zom-B. My point, you ask? Seeing B as she was, like I said, reinforces her character growth we come to see later in the time line. It's brilliant.

Moving along from B, and on to our main viewpoint, we go to Cat Ward. She's a ruthless woman who will stop at nothing to survive, even throwing helpless students, some of whom she teaches, to the arms of the hungry undead, just to buy her time to get away. It's shocking, I actually gasped. I mean, I knew she had a dislike for some of them - I would have too, god, I hope I wasn't like that in school - but for her to do it without feeling a thing was gruesome. But it fit perfectly with her character. And following Cat on her journey, right to the bitter end, was intriguing to say the least.

The story has a strong undercurrent of karma. When you forsake your humanity to survive, making the choices that turn you into a monster, when will that inevitable time come when you pay for your crimes? When empty regret will do nothing for you? It's a question Cat faces, and you'll love how it turns out, in a sort of sad, twisted way.

And last but not least, let's not forget Mr Dowling. He scares the crap out of me. I didn't have a problem with clowns before...... And the circus part of Circus? *Shivers* It furthers my resolve though, I want to know what he is, and what he's up to. Pronto.

So, I am happy to report, no reading slump for me. In fact I cannot wait for the post to come tomorrow - really today, but it's 1AM so - so I can dive right forward again.

It's gonna be one helluva ride. Pick these novels up. 

5/5 stars

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