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Zombie Apocalypse - Stephen Jones
Member Name: Huomenna
Zombie Apocalypse - Stephen Jones
Date: 06/09/11, updated on 06/09/11 (66 review reads)
Advantages: unusually written but holds attention well, sticks with you after reading
Disadvantages: plague mutating into zombie is unbelieveable, ending a bit weak
I bought this book in Waterstones last week while I was shopping with a friend of mine who was looking for a decent fantasy novel, I was browsing the shelves myself as well when I came across this book. I've never read a zombie book before, although I have seen plenty of zombie films so this held some appeal for me.
The front cover could be described as a bit tacky, but that said it immediately shows the theme of the book ie. zombies in London. As a Londoner myself, this grabbed my attention (can't exactly say it appealed to me as I don't really desire to see zombies in London) and I thought I may be able to identify with the story better, being very familiar with the main setting.
The book is starts off with discussion on a 'festival of Britain' to try and restore some patriotism in the general population, however this involves digging up a graveyard, in which it turns out there is a plague pit. The bodies of these long dead victims, once released into the fresh air, allow the plague to mutate thus giving rise to 'zombies'.
At first no one believes there are such a thing as real zombies - the authorities won't give out any details and even the police aren't informed of what's happening. The population is left to realise for itself what's going on, and this of course facilitates a fast spread through the population, when the truth comes out it's too late to stop it and culminates in a zombie apocalypse.
When I bought this book, I did so off the strength of the blurb. It was only when I got home that I relalised it wasn't written in a traditional novel format and instead of being disappointed, I was intrigued. The book is written as a series of exerpts from diaries, letters, emails, the news, texts, twitter etc and follows in a chronological order. I did worry that this would mean I wouldn't be able to identify with any of the characters and would feel too detached from the situation, but this wasn't an issue in the end and I found myself thinking things like 'no their zombies, don't touch them!' because in the beginning the reader knows more than the characters.
I did find the premise of the plague mutating to result in zombies, a little unbelieveable to say the least as it didn't seem at all scientifically plausible, although I suppose it wasn't written with scientific accuracy in mind and it didn't overly detract from my enjoyment of the book.
Whilst the book does concentrate on England and London, where the initial outbreak occurs, it does touch in places on the spread to other countries and how it has done this (infected people on planes and boats etc.) I particularly liked this aspect of the book as were a zombie outbreak to occur in real life, it would be impossible to stop the spread around the world, unless it was dealt with immediately at source, as infected people would flee to different countries before displaying the signs of infection.
Like the other reviewer of this book on here, I did feel that the ending didn't live up to the rest of the book - without wanting to spoil the plot, I will just say that it felt a bit weak and almost like a cop out.
That said I would still recommend this book if you enjoy zombie movies/books or are interested in reading something a bit different. Since finishing it, it has stuck with me to the point that when I'm walking down an empty street I keep expecting a zombie to appear (especially as it was published in 2010 so as a contemporary book the fantasy of zombies, marges quite well with the reality of today) - ok so I probably have an over active imagination, but to me that is the mark of a good book if I'm still thinking about it for some time after I've finished reading it.
The RRP on this book is £7.99 and it isn't on any offers currently at Waterstones (although I used my points card to get a bit of money off mine). It's available on amazon for £4.55
Summary: A compelling zombie book