Digibytes | 06 April 2013 | Ciaran Hammond

This review will contain spoilers for Zom-b by Darren Shan. Let me start off by saying Darren Shan is my all-time favorite author. Be it vampires, demons or quests to be the best executioner in all of Um Wadi, the man can do no wrong in my eyes. I also love zombies. So when two of my favorite things collided, well, needless to say I was excited. I knew Shan would come through. And he did.

 

Zom-B tells the story of B Smith, the daughter of a racist, woman-beating father, and her struggle with following in her father’s footsteps. And then the undead start feeding on people and racial differences have to be thrown out the window to survive. For most of this book, the first of a twelve part series, there isn’t a lot of undead around. If I absolutely had to pick a flaw in this book, that would be it.

 

Over the course of the book we’re introduced to B’s friends, most of whom don’t survive very long when the undead eventually do attack, and we learn about B’s struggle to pull away from good ol’ daddy’s racist ways and to keep an open mind. B gets in a fight with a colored girl and B’s dad thinks B’s a hero.

 

Then the weird stuff starts. Whilst out on a school trip to London with the school, a woman screams for help as a man makes off with her baby. B chases after him and catches him, taking back the baby. However, the man isn’t a man. He’s some kind of mutant. Of course B doesn’t tell anyone this. And then the Owl Man appears. Apparently an old friend of B’s father, the owl man is tall and mysterious and somehow knows about B’s dreams of cannibal babies on a plane (creepy, right?). And then, finally, the zombies attack.

 

B’s school is attacked by zombies and B tries to escape with some friends and some not-so-friends. Just when they think they’re done for, B’s dad appears with a group of adults, come to save the day. And that’s when we discover that B’s a girl! I have to say this came as such a surprise that I went through the whole book again trying to find any hint at B’s sexuality, because I was convinced that B was a boy. But no, B stands for Becky. Darren Shan has said that at the end of each book there’s going to be a significant twist and boy was that a great one to start the ball rolling.

 

But that’s not the last of the twists. The group come to a locked door and B is forced, by her father, to throw one of the colored kids to a group of zombies closing in on them. After escaping B is feeling guilty and runs back into the school. Disgusted by what she did, she runs away from her father and safety. As she’s running she gets scratched by a zombie and knows she’s doomed. She reaches a staircase and as she’s running up she hears a voice. She looks up to see the mutant from the museum. He’s a sort of commander of the zombies. Before he gets the chance the let them eat her, Tyler, the colored boy B threw to the zombies comes up the stairs and rips out B’s heart. B dies.

 

This book was such a rollercoaster. You couldn’t tell what was coming at you. The twists were great and it was a great start to a hopefully great series from a great author. I loved this book and I highly recommend it to everyone, especially lovers of horror and zombies and the such.

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