Pretty Deadly Reviews | 01 February 2013 | Bekka

this series is one of the strangest and more interesting series I've discovered in a long while, and I really, really enjoyed the first one. The second one was even better.

 

These novels are my very first experience with Darren Shan. And while I can't say that I will be seeking out his Cirque du Freak novels any time soon, I definitively know that I will follow the Zom-B series to the end. Shan has succeeded again in weaving multiple themes into the classic zombie book. Of course there are gruesome brain-eating scenes, and yes there is a zombie horde towards the end. But Shan is also able to ask very serious questions while making your heart race. So while I couldn't turn the pages fast enough, I also couldn't help but really think about the central questions, and that's not an easy feat, I don't think.

 

B has been turned into a zombie. But not just any zombie: she and a select few other reviveds, have gone even further: they have their consciousness back, all their memories and feelings and personalities. The scientists call them revitalizeds, and they call themselves zom heads. I've never read a book or seen a movie where the zombie was aware before, so this was a whole new, exciting territory for me to explore. I love how Shan sort of tried to explain it with science (though let's be honest - no explanation is going to be believable enough.) It was interesting learning the different things that made B a zombie - her heightened hearing and sense of smell, among other things - and watching her interact with other zom heads and zombies.

 

This time around, I fell in love with B. She is atoning for her past sins in the last book, and her guilt and remorse are so real. She struggles with her old habits, and of course her love/hate relationship with her father. It's been so long since I read about a heroine who was so self-aware. She knows her faults, she knows her mistakes. And while she isn't perfect, she really is trying to be a better person in death than she was in life, and it is so admirable. B also has a square head on her shoulders; she makes level-headed decisions most of the time, and it's very refreshing to read about a prisoner-type of character who isn't going completely insane and knows they have to cooperate in order to make a better life for themselves.

 

There was plenty of action and gore to satiate the classic zombie fans. Shan's descriptions of the brain-eating, the zombie swarms, and a certain character that pops up later on in the book, are spot on and so, so vivid. After reading Zom-B though, I really didn't expect any less. But more than this, more than the typical crazed zombie book, Shan asks important questions about what it means to be human, how to fix and atone for your past deeds, and doing the right thing, versus doing the easy thing.

 

This is the perfect series for a reluctant young reader. They are short and fast-paced with enough action, suspense, and mystery to keep you turning the pages. But Zom-B Underground is also very thoughtful, poignant, and universal.

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