REVIEW: Zom-B by Darren Shan
by Darren Shan
ZOM-B Series, Book One
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.
MY THOUGHTS: 5 OUT OF 5 FLEURS DE LIS
B is a high school kid who lives in London with a racist, abusive alcoholic father, and a mom who doesn’t stand up for herself. B hangs out with a tough group of friends, and has gotten a bit of a reputation.
When the zombie attacks that happened in Ireland (which B and family did not believe were real) come breaking through the front door of B’s high school, race and reputation don’t mean much. After all, zombies don’t notice skin color when digging through someone’s skull to devour their brains.
Well, I never had trouble getting into this book, but I will admit it had a slow start. Besides the prologue, it took more than half the book for zombie action to even happen. But once it did, HOLY CRAP.
The entire first half of the book was basically showing the foundation of B’s dysfunctional family. The father, Todd, is an extreme racist who believes England should be whites-only. Todd drinks too much and takes his frustrations out on his wife, until B gets between them.
Yet in spite of this abuse, B has a sick desire to please Todd. B regularly bullies a black kid named Tyler, and picks fights for no reason. Even though B knows it’s wrong, the urge to make Todd proud is a strong one.
So, then zombies attack at B’s school one day. I must say, this was a zombie novel done right. Blood and gore are not spared in the narrative, and it’s awesome. The undead hordes quickly consume kids in their path, using sharp nails to drill through skulls like plywood. B and friends form a large group to try to find some escape, but their numbers start dropping quickly. Imagine B’s surprise when one of the strongest, most level headed members is a black boy.
As I said, the first half of the book was slow, but the GIANT twist at the end and the explosive final page, combined with an abundance of zombie gore, more than made up for it in my opinion.
Thanks to Around the World ARC Tours for allowing me to review this ARC.