Matthewrbell | 20 July 2014 | Matthew R Bell

I just want to take a moment and thank Darren Shan for the amazing stories he creates. Not only with the Zom-B series, but anything in general. After finishing this instalment I realised how bloody much I love anything he creates. Plus, after I've caught up, well, finished the ones I have of the Zom-B series, I am for sure going back and reading The Demonata series again. Mr Shan's works are fast paced, an utmost pleasure to read and amazingly addictive. The Zom-B series is really hitting its stride, and I can't wait to get more. It's rubbish that I only have one more book in my possession, but not to fret, as soon as I can Zom-B Clans will be mine!

 

Another friendly reminder for this post, even though I take the utmost care to avoid putting SPOILERS in a review, the further along a series it gets, the harder I find it. So if you don't want to know things you shouldn't, don't read on. Go back and start the series because trust me, you'll catch up in no time.

 

B Smith has finally pledged herself to the Angel's cause, and is training like a trooper in preparation. But on a routine outing, a couple of old friends reappear and snatch poor B.Taken in front of a crazy collection of formerly powerful people, B Smith is put on parade for them in a shocking and sick way. She's supposed to be the 'monster', but how do you distinguish when the people you're fighting for throw you to your death?


I loved Gladiator, not only for its story, but for the great characters and the hopeful message it explains to you. The action in the series has definitely picked up in this entry, especially compared to its predecessor, and it makes the novels that much more engaging and easy to read. I tried to take a break for a few days, to prolong this series, but eventually I got pulled straight back to it, and it was only a few hours ago that I even started Zom-B Gladiator. I really get the sense that things are becoming more actiony for a reason, even though we're roughly only halfway through the series, I think that something huge is approaching.


There was a whole array of characters in this novel, something prevalent through a lot of the Zom-B series. But so far Gladiator takes the cake. Every single one of the characters, old and new, were absolutely fascinating. You had your share of heart warming ones, ambiguous ones, and just plain chilling ones - most of which are humans, not the dreaded zombies. The wealth of people added to the series gives the author a lot to play with, and I cannot wait to see how he sets the board with them.


I also really enjoyed the depictions of humans. While the zombies have no choice in their monstrous actions, the human populace do, and when they are more evil that evil itself, what the hell do you do? How can you fight for someone who is worse than the thing you are fighting against?


The thing I truly found the highlight of Gladiator was the theme. It was Becky's journey and development that made the novel shine more than any of the rest. B is suffering with mortality because even zombies can die, but it isn't her own lifespan that troubles her, it's the people she's with. Isolating herself, she decides not to connect with the people around her - even though in her retrospect she realises that she had been bonding with them all along - to save herself the pain of losing someone she loves. Eventually though, the message of friendship is powerfully portrayed, and it was a joy to watch unfold. Even when the chips are down - especially when the chips are down - friends are one of the most important things on the planet. A lot of people will tell you that you can't choose your family, but that's rubbish. Friends are the family you do choose.


Now I'm terrified of reaching the next book because it's the last one I have...............

 

5/5 stars

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