World War Z: An Oral History Of The Zombie War by Max Brooks
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Cleverly written as a ‘collection’ of personal stories across the world put together in the aftermath of a global zombie apocalypse, I thoroughly enjoyed the way Brooks chose to pace this interesting take on the post-apocalyptic zombie fare. There is just enough information to give the reader an idea of what went wrong and how without over-saturating with explanation and ruining the ‘feel’ of the book. There is no starvation for information however, and the ‘accounts’ cover many aspects of the ‘zombie war’. Government and military responses are mixed in with the survival stories of the average civillian, and there is a quite broad variety in the types of stories the reader is presented with.
A personal favourite of mine is one account of a ‘celebrity Big Brother’ type scenario gone terribly wrong, with a group of volatile showbiz types stuffing themselves into a fortified house and broadcasting their day-to-day survival. We can all guess how that panned out, though some predictability in this and other situations retold didn’t dull the entertainment value.
The entire ‘collection’ is presented in a sort of chronological order that covers the beginnings and the global spread, right through the military reaction and the eventual outcome and aftermath. Therefore, while World War Z is not a singular, linear narrative, it follows a timeline that nonetheless carries the reader through the history of the disaster without any confusing issues of when certain events occured. It is also, for the most part, well-paced.
One tiny nitpick I had, and of course, it’s just a personal quirk, is given the wide represenation of other nations throughout the collection, I would have loved to have seen a story from an Australian survivor (the one story ‘set in’ Australia was set in the aftermath and did not actually recount any events there). Instead I adapted a personal theory that Australia remained zombie free! Works for me!
However, if I had one real complaint to level at the book, and honestly it’s the only thing that actually stopped me from giving the book a whole five stars, it would be that the whole thing fell flat at the end. So much to the point, in fact, that I still haven’t done more than lightly skim the last few entries in the book. Once the aftermath phase of the collection is reached, much of the force and suspense falls off dramatically as the sense of immediate peril has ended, and the accounts start to become boring. That said, I thoroughly enjoyed everything preceding this section, and would still recommend it immediately to anyone looking for a good zombie apocalypse piece.
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