Zom-B is the first in a new twelve book series by Irish author Darren Shan who is famous for creating YA horror novels. These are set to be fairly short books and there will only be around three months between each instalment's release with Zom-B Underground set to hit the shelves in January followed by Zom-B City in March.
The book begins with an intriguing prologue titled ‘Then’ which quite graphically details a zombie attack on a boy named Brian Barry. The book then switches to 'Now' and the real story quickly begins to explore more familiar horrors than those of a post-apocalyptic world. Although the main characters have heard reports of zombie invasions in Ireland they initially shrug them off as some sort of hoax and the zombie action doesn’t really kick in until around half way through the book. In the mean time Shan explores the everyday life of our main character B Smith.
B is extremely difficult to like, she is disrespectful, steals, fights and bullies her so-called 'friends'. However she is not the only one, there are a whole host of unlikeable characters in this book most notably B’s father who is a racist and bully who beats his family. Throughout the book B battles with her conflicted feelings towards her father and his attitude towards others. She struggles with his opinions and actions yet is unable to hate him because of course at the end of the day he is still her father. Although she knows his views are wrong B still adopts them at times and becomes a bully herself, even stating at one point that her father 'would be proud'.
The book is a quick read with an easy to follow format which I felt was aimed at younger YA readers. You won’t just find words in this book though, there are also a few illustrated pages from Warren Pleece, as shown above, which are interspersed throughout.
I really didn’t want to have to write a negative review of this book but overall I felt disappointed with Zom-B. It wasn’t at all what I was expecting and unlikeable characters aside the writing style, although easy to read, wasn’t to my personal taste. Of course being the first in a twelve book series Zom-B is essentially only the initial set up to something bigger and has a twist ending, which honestly I had suspected would be the case from very early on. Admittedly the ending does make it quite tempting to read a book from B's post Zom-B point of view however even with that temptation I don’t feel like it captured my attention enough to encourage me to continue with the series.
If you are interested in reading more about Shan’s thoughts on the characters he created for Zom-B and his experience writing from their viewpoints there is an interesting article on his website which can be found here.
This post was written by regular reviewer Erin, get to know her here.
Photo © Erin Elise