Manga Maniac Cafe | 11 July 2013 | Julie

Darren Shan’s ZOM-B books are like crack. You can’t read just one, and because each one ends on a cliffhanger, you squirm with anticipation until the next one hits store shelves. While I normally abhor cliffhangers, the release schedule is accelerated, so you get a new installment every 3 months. The story is also so straightforward that there’s not much to forget from one book to the next. B, an revived zombie who managed to keep her intelligence, is fighting to keep her undead life. The world is a dangerous place since the zombie apocalypse, even for a zombie. Danger lurks behind every corner, and only quick thinking and luck keep B from a final, horrible death.


Told in tense, in your face prose, ZOM-B: City follows B from her escape from the underground research bunker to her journey through a devastated London. Along the way, she encounters a handful of surviving humans. None of these guys are right in the head, but after witnessing the end of the world, I guess everyone is entitled to their idiosyncrasies. Some of the living want nothing more than to end her unnatural life, while others, though wary, mean her no harm. As she wanders from one encounter to the next, she pieces together the reality of the new world after the zombie attacks. Billions have been wiped out, the government is ineffective, and martial law is in effect. The remaining humans have huddled together in walled compounds, and the search is on for survivors. B thinks that she can help save humanity – since she hasn’t become a mindless monster, perhaps a cure can be manufactured from her blood.


Shan pushes the envelope with this series. It’s truly horrific; he doesn’t shy away from gore and violence, and he paints an interesting picture of how the survivors would behave. They have all been twisted by their experiences, B included. They have all seen things that aren’t meant to be seen, and there is no going back to a time before the bloodshed and death of the zombie uprising. Mr Dowling is particularly disgusting. This sicko clown accessorizes with human remains. I really want to know his story, and what’s the deal with the mutants? How did the whole zombie nightmare happen in the first place? These short novels are impossible to put down, and I look forward to hunkering down with each new installment. While occasionally disgusting, ZOM-B isn’t so scary that I’m afraid to read it after dark, and plot advances so quickly that it’s hard not to gobble up each new installment in one sitting.


Grade: B

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