Teenreads | 13 October 2012 | Sally M Tibbetts

Reports keep appearing over the TV and on the internet, concerning some zombie attacks in a little Irish town known as Pallaskenry. B Smith watches the TV in horror thinking this can’t possibly be happening. His father reassures him that it’s all a stupid Irish joke. He’s not going to argue with his Dad, especially when he’s been drinking. He’s certainly been the recipient of the back of his hand more than once for disagreeing with him. Even his mom gets knocked around if she speaks up to defend her son. B finds it easier to just go along as normal even though he’s plenty worried. Maybe it will all blow over and they will discover that there really is some kind of sick joke going on. After all, Pallaskenry isn’t that close to London; there’s really nothing to be concerned about --- or is there?


B’s Dad rules the household with an iron fist. Of course, he loves his son, but don’t cross him. If you’re not white, he has no use for you. Although B really doesn’t agree, he has to act as if it’s all okay --- otherwise he gets a beating. Actually, he finds it disgusting that his father is racist. But the awful thing is that B is also known for bullying kids who aren’t white at school. B is surprised at himself when he does these things, but he just can’t seem to stop. His dad is always proud when he comes home with these reports. The world is one big confusing place for B.


Another issue is the dreams he’s been having; actually, they’re nightmares. He sees this strange, tall man with weird eyes, and somehow, the man knows him. Then zombies begin to attack him, and the man doesn’t care --- he seems to direct the whole thing. When B wakes from these dreams, he’s drenched in sweat, but if he were to cry out or speak to his Dad about this, it wouldn’t be pretty.


And then it happens! Zombies begin an all-out attack at his school. There are brains and blood splashed everywhere. It is beyond any nightmare he’s ever had. B and his friends run wildly through the school trying to find a way out, but all the doors are locked. He watches in horror as his friends are torn apart and their brains sucked into rotting zombie mouths. When he is trapped and has given up all hope, gunshots ring out. His dad is there to save him! They begin their escape together but…


Oh wait. I can’t tell you how this all ends. I can’t tell you what happens because you wouldn’t even begin to believe me. When I closed the book I just sat there shaking my head in disbelief. I think you will too.


Adding to the gruesome atmosphere of the book are the fine black and white illustrations done in a kind of fifties graphic novel style. In fact, if they make this into a movie they might want to ask Quentin Tarantino to direct it because ZOM-B has more blood and gore than you can imagine. For sure, Darren Shan has outdone himself with this one. Shan’s fans will be delighted, and if you’re into the zombie scene (who isn’t these days), you’ll totally love every page. Even better is that ZOM-B will be a twelve-book series, with one book coming out every three months. Get ready for a few nightmares!

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