Phoenix Grounds | 10 January 2013 | Sarah Jones

I was going to write a review first for Zom-B Underground, and then I realised that somehow I have not yet posted up a review about the first book, Zom-B.So naturally I had to begin with the first book!

 

Zom-B is the first book in Darren Shan's new horror series where he tackles a new monster for his stories, Zombies! I absolutely love Darren Shan's books. I've even had the opportunity to meet him at a book signing where he was a complete gentleman and acted like he was someone's crazy uncle. He's a great guy! Really funny and his books are brilliant. He takes an established monster, e.g. vampires, demons, and makes them his own.

 

I was a bit concerned when I heard he was going to be writing about Zombies next, as I wondered what could Mr Shan do that was so different from all the other Zombie media out there?

 

What he did was take the basic Zombie lore and add his trademark Darren Shan twist to it. His zombies are very interesting and he has managed to write a book that isn't even really about zombies at first.

 

Zom-B is about his main character, a mouthy, street wise kid called B Smith. The book doesn't really see any real zombie action until nearer the end and for a while you find yourself being drawn into B's life instead.

 

I think his greatest accomplishment with this book isn't that he's taken the zombie genre and given it new life, it was B.

 

B is the kind of kid I used to hate at school; a bully, a racist and obnoxious. But as you read, you learn why B is like that. B's dad is a drunken, wife beating racist who's word is law in the house hold and his wife is meek as anything. You start by feeling nothing towards B because, let's face it, B is a jerk. Yet as we learn more about B you start to sympathese.

 

Darren deals with the issues B copes with in a really sensitive, frank way. He doesn't pull any punches. He talks about racism and shows how poisonous it can be by showing us how it affects B directly. He doesn't flinch from writing scenes that happen in actual school grounds, where kids beat each other up because one of them said the wrong thing or had the wrong colour skin.

 


And then there's the end...

 

Zom-B is one of the few books in a very long time that has made me stop dead and reread the same sentence a few times just to make sure I understood it right. It has a cracking twist at the end that is literally a show stopper. You'll have to read it to find out! It's too juicy to spoil.

 

I absolutely loved this book! If you like Zombie stories or even something that's well written and fast paced, give this a go. And even if you aren't a fan of horror or kids books, read it anyway. Zom-B is that good it deserves your time.

 

Just read the first page, and you'll want to know more.

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