The Blog | 27 July 2013 | Brandon Klein

From freaks and vampires to werewolves and demons, Darren Shan turns his attention to zombies and mutants in his latest series of young adult horror fiction, Zom-B. Although the series is something fans will enjoy, newcomers will find this series frustrating.


Shan reverts back to writing in a first-person narrative, which we saw back in his Cirque Du Freak series. He is truly a master of this narrative device finding the right balance of revealing the narrator’s thoughts while telling the story.


However, that’s about how much praise I have for Shan’s latest series.


Zom-B can almost be considered a reincarnation of the Cirque Du Freak series. The novel begins with the tale of Becky Smith (nicknamed B) and how she puts up with a racist and wife-beating father.


Later on B becomes a zombie when they attack her school.


Before you go – “Gee thanks for the spoiler” – I should point out that Shan is notorious for making the protagonist a monster with qualifications. Whether it’s a half-vampire in Cirque Du Freak or a magician/werewolf combination in the The Demonata series, it’s no surprise that Shan makes B a zombie. And not just any zombie of course.


However, unlike his other novels Shan implements a political voice in the series exploring concepts like racism, xenophobia and discrimination of Islam. Throughout the series B struggles to find the right way of loving a racist father without accepting his ideology, especially when she interacts with people of different backgrounds.


I find the pairing of racism and zombies becoming too cliché especially after watching the first season of The Walking Dead. Shan fails to make an effective connection between brain-craving zombies and racism.


My final thought about the series is the inconsistent pace of the series. While I found every novel of the Cirque Du Freak series enjoyable, I found some of the Zom-B books completely boring.


While Zom-B and Zom-B: Underground were interesting enough, the third book Zom-B: City completely lacked a plot along with very few developments for the overall series.


Shan does make a comeback though with the fourth book, Zom-B: Angels.


The physical structure of these novels is quite small even for Darren Shan himself and he would be better off combining the first three books.


The next book Zom-B: Baby will be out in the UK on Sept. 26 and in the US on Oct. 1.

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