Children's Books Ireland | 01 September 2014 | Cethan Leahy

Spoilers! – A lot has happened to Becky Smith since London was overrun by Zombies – including encounters with mutants and killer clowns, gladiatorial fights, even zombification, but this could be her greatest test: a trip to London’s suburbs!

 

This is the seventh book in a 12-part series, so not great for new readers (although it does helpfully contain a ‘Previously On’ section), but for fans, it is a worthy episode containing the return of a significant character.

 

The author’s prose is crisp and creepy as usual, finding sinister twists on familiar sights: Children playing in trees and friendly sheepdogs. Shan has built up a stable of interesting characters over the series and they play off each other in entertaining and dramatic ways. The illustrations by Warren Pleece add a pulpy comic book feel to proceedings.

 

As in keeping with the rest of series, there is some thoughtful commentary among the crushed skulls and pools of blood. Racism remains a major theme as Becky discovers herself on the receiving end of prejudice and the latter half of the book explores how easily fascist groups can take advantage of disenfranchised groups.

 

But like the ever decomposing undead, this entry has a few weak points. The actual mission itself is relatively unexciting and the book occasionally feels like its setting up pieces for future installments. That said, it ends on a whopper of a cliffhanger and will leave readers craving for more.

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