The Absent Librarian | 09 September 2013 |

Love the cover!

Love the title!

Almost liked the book.

"When news reports start appearing of a zombie outbreak in Ireland, B's racist father thinks it's a joke— but even if it isn't, he figures, it's ok to lose a few Irish. B doesn't fully buy into Dad's racism, but figures it's easier to go along with it than to risk the fights and abuse that will surely follow sticking up for Muslims, blacks, or immigrants. And when dodging his fists doesn't work, B doesn't hesitate to take the piss out of kids at school with a few slaps or cruel remarks. That is, until zombies attack the school. B is forced on a mad dash through the serpentine corridors of high school, making allegiances with anyone with enough gall to fight off their pursuers."

The premise of the book and the prologue where great. I started the first chapter with anticipation..and then waited, and waited, and continued to wait for the greatness I was sure was to follow. I didn't find it.


Zom-B is described as the first in a 12 book series about B Smith, "a teenager who must struggle to find a place in a world of racism, zombies and darkness." This book is obviously meant to introduce B's background and set the stage for the character development. The majority of the novel was spent on B's home life and behaviour issues. The Zombie attack didn't make an appearance until much later. Were it not for the prologue I might have forgotten it was part of the plot entirely. When the zombies did finally show up, it was so fast and violent that the feel of the book finally approached what was promised. Then a single line from the page made the whole thing seem ridiculous! Apparently, the action packed fervor taking place on the page - which provided tension, horror, and feelings of urgency as a good Zombie novel should - took place in such a short time frame that it ruined the book for me. All that running and fighting, thousands killed, converted and now spilling out to spread the attack, in only 60 minutes? Nonsense.


The underlying themes of 'B's' life - racism bullying, finding your own identity - were well done. For that alone I would be interested hearing about the rest of the series, but am unlikely to read it myself. I do give kudos for the twist involving who one of the characters really is. I enjoyed the use of reader assumptions to deliver the surprise. The story has good bones and interesting (if not always likeable) characters but certain aspects such as the secretly racist principal and compressed timing of the conversions quickly remind me as a reader that this is just words on a page. I prefer and expect fiction to deliver me into another world. Suspension of disbelief is not enough to overcome these sections of Zom-B.

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