Zombies. The living dead. Creatures who will forever have a secure place in TV, film and most especially literature. We’ve all chuckled at the idea of a zombie apocalypse, but out there in the literature world lies great stories that allow us to see exactly what would happen should zombies infest the world. Now I’m not going to pretend I know everything there is to know about zombie novels, this will be the first I have read, and let me just say I like what I see. So to coincide with the release of the movie, I thought I would take a look at World War Z, written by Max Brooks.
The full title of the book is ‘’World War Z: An Oral History Of The Zombie War’’. This book, if I’m honest has taken me by complete surprise from the very first page! It is a very refreshing look at the age-old ‘’zombie apocalypse’’ story, its not your typical ‘’run for your life there’s a zombie!’’ kind of story its all about what happens after the ‘‘apocalypse’’, which is a part of the story that is rarely if ever told.
The entirety of the book is written as a series of interviews with people from various countries, religions, backgrounds – civilian or military. Each of these interviews helps to explain how the world has changed for the better and for the worse and how each country has coped with the events. Each chapter works as a mini-story explaining the events of the war through that particular person’s perspective. Although each chapters is written by the same man, Brooks makes them each their own person by interlacing every word, every sentence with each of their religious, cultural and social differences, making the book genuinely feel like you are reading about a wide variety of different people from across the globe, which really helps set the book apart from your standard zombie stories, the very story seems like it has been ripped from the mind of George A Romero, and like any Romero script it is a fun filled adventure of zombies and the constant pointing and laughing at societal flaws.
I have so many praises for this book, firstly its taken ‘’Zombie Apocalypse’’ which is an extremely overused storyline, Brookes has turned it on its head and given it a whole new twist. Also, it may just be me that thinks of these things but another positive point about the book is that it is not completely set in America! A lot of books and films will be set solely in America but Brookes has branched out and shown what a zombie apocalypse will look like on a worldwide massive scale, so I applaud him just for that. I would also applaud his writing skills, each interview was factual, interesting and properly represented certain religious and cultural views whilst still maintaining the topic at hand of the zombie apocalypse.
As with all books I do have a few negatives about it, just a few small ones though! The book was not as gory as I thought it would be. It is more of a social commentary disguising itself as a full on gory zombie book, but still packs a fantastic story and contained a few moments where the zombies were very creepy. My only other complaint would be that there was a lack of a linear story line structure which made the events difficult to get into at times, this made the second half of the book a little more challenging.
Minor complaints aside it is a fantastic book, undoubtedly a change from stereotypical zombie yarns, and was both a very interesting and informing book which was pretty awesome at times!
I give this a definite recommendation to those who enjoyed the movie but perhaps left the theatre yearning for a little more substance.
Review by Anne McCullough