Book: Zom-B by Darren Shan (Published September 27th 2012 by Simon & Schuster)
Summary: Zom-B is a radical new series about a zombie apocalypse, told in the first person by one of its victims. The series combines classic Shan action with a fiendishly twisting plot and hard-hitting and thought-provoking moral questions dealing with racism, abuse of power and more. This is challenging material, which will captivate existing Shan fans and bring in many new ones. As Darren says, "It's a big, sprawling, vicious tale...a grisly piece of escapism, and a barbed look at the world in which we live. Each book in the series is short, fast-paced and bloody. A high body-count is guaranteed!"
Characters: The protagonist, B, is not a good person. B is rude, vulgar, aggressive, and often racist. Racism is a HUGE theme in this book to the point where I would go so far as to say that the book is more about racism than it is about zombies (although there are plenty of those, too). B's dad is an unapologetic racist who abuses his family. B's struggle with being racist is as much a struggle against being raised to believe something as it is a struggle with loving an abusive parent. Seriously, these characters aren't good people, but you can't help but like B. They make for a really interesting read and give the reader plenty to think about.
Plot/Pacing: Like all Darren Shan books, Zom-B is short and reads quickly. The zombies don't really show up until over halfway through the book, but it wasn't a problem for me. I was fascinated by B's life and the zombies act as the catalyst that forces B to decide once and for all to follow or reject the racist teachings ingrained since childhood. As for those twists at the end... the first, you'll know exactly what I mean when you read it, totally made me stop and reevaluate the entire book. I'm still not sure what it means in the grand scheme of things and really it wasn't particularly a game changer, but it made me stop and question all of my assumptions. The final twist is to be expected if the premise of the series is to happen. I can't wait to read the rest of this series.
Moments I Loved: B saves a baby from two creepy dudes at the museum. This was a great moment for B after a few pages of soul searching.
WTF Moments: That moment where B's dad says to do something horrible and B listens... yeah.... wow. Just... wow. B's reaction is appropriate, if a little melodramatic, after the fact, though.
Overall: Zom-B is a great start to a new series by an author who consistently delivers books that are both fun and grotesque. Like most reviewers, I do need to mention that this book deals heavily with racism and parental abuse. I personally, don't enjoy reading books where a demographic I am a part of is heavily made fun of or criticized, even if it is part of a character arc and clearly shown to be negative. I would understand if those who have experienced racism don't enjoy reading this book, because it is present on every single page.
**I borrowed an advanced readers copy of Zom-B from Kate (Midnight Book Girl) who received it from the publisher at BEA. I was in no way compensated for my review and all opinions expressed here are my own. Feel free to check out my full FTC Disclaimer on my About This Blog page and Kate's FTC Discolsure statement.**
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