BuyZombie | 30 August 2013 | Theresa Derwin

Darren Shan, successful children’s horror author, has just released Zom-B: Angels, part four of his 12 part zombie series for kids (and discerning adults). The time for avoiding spoilers is over, so beware! Here they come.

 

In the first novel, we met young B, who at he end of the novel has been turned into a zombie and we learn that she is a girl, which comes as a surprise given the way in which it was written.

 

In Zom-B Underground, we read about the teenager’s first encounter with the strange Mr Dowling. At the beginning B is trapped in an underground military facility, part of a series of experiments on the zombies. But B is not like your normal everyday zombie, because B Smith can think and feel and reason. She is a complex character, reminiscent of the likes if Danny McCoyne from David Moody’s Hater series; flawed, yet likeable. At the beginning of Zom-B: City, B has escaped the underground bunker but will only survive the city if she can find human brains, and she can only retain her thoughts and humanity if she feeds on these brains. The cruncher is however, that B has a finite time limit on her continued existence. No matter how many brains she consumes, B will die within 18 months. So, B decides to use her time wisely. She is searching the city for a government presence, looking for scientists who can use her blood to find a cure. But along the way, she has to survive against all odds.

 

The end in particular, like its two predecessors, ends with a cliff-hanger. The great thing about this series is that the books are released frequently enough so the reader doesn’t lose track of what’s happening, the price is affordable, and if you do forget what happened in the previous books, Shan provides a two page summary reminder titled ‘Then’.

 

As with every installment so far in the Zom-B series, City, the 3rd book in this engaging 12 book series ended with a climax. And as with all the other books, if you don’t want to read all the other books (though I suggest you do) there is no need to read the preceeding books. Shan gives a short, snappy summary of what has happened before at the start of each installment under the section entitled ‘Them’ .

 

In the abandoned building B flees to she meets Dr Oystein, a coherent adult zombie like herself; with thoughts, memories and freewill. Dr Oystein has been expecting B and knows her real name. She isn’t the first to arrive at the County Hall refuge centre and the doctor calls the zom-heads Angels. The future saviours of humanity – revitaliseds. From the doctor, B discovers some of the things she was told underground were all lies, such as her limited lifespan. On her arrival B is put inside the ‘Groove Tube’ for a number of weeks, which is a formula that heals her injuries – a synthetic substance to stimulate the recuperative effects of eating brains.

 

Their greatest enemy and threat is not the humans, but Mr Dowling, the evil ‘clown’.

 

There is a particular piece of art work on p.34, which is splendid and will leave the reader ‘hungry’ for more. Shan absolutely nails the narrative tone, presenting a confused yet slightly egotistical and brave teenager, who has to adapt to shocking news at every turn.

 

Through an Arab character, Shan manages to educate his young reader about Arab Christians and the Crusades without it coming across as a lecture.
In short, this is an intelligent, thoughtful, funny and adventurous book; a must read for any zombie fans out there.

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