Starburst | 06 May 2013 | Scott Varnham

You have no idea how odd it is to type the sentence, ‘in a series about zombies, things have taken a turn towards the supernatural’. But yes, after tackling a zombie invasion and military and artistic nut jobs, this fourth volume in Shan’s zombie saga take a turn for the religious in a twist that will have rationalists hunting for a sane explanation when there might not be one. (Mind you, in a universe where God definitely exists, the religious explanation would indeed be the sane one.)

 

B’s mentor in this book is a scientist called Dr Oystein, who is there to shed light on some more interesting parts of the zombie attacks and debunk some of the lies that B has been told by the military. The revelations include: who the mysterious Mr Dowling is (fair play, we didn’t see this one coming), how the zombies came to be (this is interesting and goes back further than you’d think; we’ll say earlier than Vietnam and leave it at that) and one last, rather unsurprising answer to the question of how come B is among the revitalised (the answer to this is also in Book 1 if you look hard enough).

 

Although this volume is light on bloodshed (in fact, we can’t remember if a single person dies over the course of this book, but that’s to be expected) it still thrills the reader with some suspenseful scenes and the occasional bit of zombie-bashing, and it’s nice to see that B is subverting the character of the all-powerful chosen one, come to redeem mankind of all its sins. (It’s nice to see that avoided in a book involving religion, we must say.)

 

All in all, we’re pretty glad we read this. It’s always nice to return to the worlds that Shan creates and we’re very much looking forward to Book 5, which should be with us in a month or two. Hopefully the wait won’t feel like the coming of an eternity of darkness.

 

8/10 stars.

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