Carousel Reviews | 03 July 2013 | Nigel Hinton

Darren Shan’s 25 million sales worldwide testify to his appeal to horror-loving teenagers. This, the second in a projected series of twelve, is a gore-fest which should sate even the most rabid fan’s lust for blood. Heads are severed, eyes are gouged, arteries spurt, flesh is burned, and intestines slurp onto the floor. One of the less traumatic moments in one scene is reported thus – “Cathy digs the head of her chainsaw into a man’s stomach and grinds it around. Blood and guts spray everywhere….. He shudders and spasms like someone being electrocuted.” In the middle of all the mayhem, though, Shan crafts our intriguing heroine, Becky Smith, a zombie who has been ‘re-vitalised’ and needs to eat people’s brains to stay alive (or dead!). Though she is literally heartless she has a conscience and wrestles with moral dilemmas. Like all good sci-fi/horror, the book deals with the big issues: what makes us human, what is life worth? Add a dash of conspiracy theory involving mysterious controlling mutants, and a terrifying monster called Mr Dowling and you have a recipe for another very successful series.

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