Memoirs of a Teenage Bibliophile | 10 December 2012 | Abigail Galloway

(This review was originally supposed to be autoposted on 8/27/12, but was not posted posted until December due to queue problems.)

 

I found this book in a stack in the middle of the publisher's wing at Book Expo, and I swear I lucked out majorly because when I tried to bring ZenitaD back to get one herself, they'd vanished. It was one of the first ones I read, and the first thing I noticed when I opened the front cover of this ARC was a huge letter on the first page, telling me to watch out when I reviewed because of spoilers. Zom-B is a very interesting book in that it has two very big things you can spoil--one being the ending, and one being something that you just KNOW is something you shouldn't mention as soon as you find it in the book. But the problem is that the spoiler they tell you not to spoil, despite being at the end of the book...well, it's -damn- hard not to. Because of that, I'm only going to provide you with the synopsis provided to me--I'm not sure how I'd sum this book up myself without messing up.


"When news reports start appearing of a zombie outbreak in Ireland, B Smith'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. But when zombies attack B's school, B is forced on a mad dash through the serpentine corridors, making allegiances with anyone with enough guts to fight off their pursuers."


Actually reviewing this book is pretty difficult. It's supposed to be the first book out of what is going to be a 12 book series--the second book is already listed on Shan's website, despite this book not even officially being out yet. When you read Zom-B, it's very obvious that it's only the beginning. The last thirty pages or so, the ending, literally seems to only set up a platform for a new book to begin. It's kind of disappointing, in that regard, because so many things about B's story aren't touched. As a reader, I don't mind series--but I tend to have a problem when there isn't any resolution whatsoever in the first book. There's a difference between book one in a series, and book one being spread out over a 'series'. If you're going to write a series, that's fine, but have the decency to finish one mini plot per book, so it doesn't feel like you just cut one big book into tiny little pieces. When I want broken stories, I read comics, not books, thanks.


That being said, it's a fantastic opening. There are a lot of real issues that are tackled in this book, so don't count it out just because it involves zombies. B's father is a huge racist, and seeing the effect that this has on B is just...wow. There really are no words, and I'd probably recommend this book just for that, even ignoring the actual plot. It's a very bleak look at bigotry, and adding in that 'spoiler' I can't actually talk about...well, it's fantastic.


I can't say much more without spoiling everything, so I'll just say that I would recommend Zom-B, despite the fact that I really wish it wasn't just a beginning. I'm personally going to be getting my hands on a copy of the sequel if it kills me, because I hate cliffhangers--and let me tell you how big of a damn cliffhanger this book has. As to whom I'd recommend this book to? Well, that's a little iffy.


Fans of Darren Shan's earlier works are obviously going to want to get into this one, because it's very much his typical style, I think. I don't think I'd recommend it to fans of typical zombie books, like World War Z, because for all that it is called Zom-B and the later books look like they're going to be very heavily zombie related...well, this one kind of isn't, and I don't want to recommend this to a crowd of zombie lovers until I read the second one and actually know how the zombies play out. But like I said, I would recommend this book to anyone interested in books about the effects of bigorty and hate on children--it's a fictional account, yes, but it handles this issue spectacularly. If Zom-B sounds interesting to you, pick up a copy on September 27th, when it comes out!

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