REVIEW: World War Z by: Max Brooks
World War Z could be considered a “gateway” book into the world of zombie literature. It is written in such a way that it is newbie friendly and helps to ease the reader into zombie culture. This book is also a great companion piece to Max Brooks’ other popular zombie book The Zombie Survival Guide. For those who read the Survival Guide first, World War Z takes the ideas presented in the former and shows them being implemented. WWZ takes us through the greatest war ever fought against zombies. It is written as a compilation of stories from interviews of survivors. These short stories give us key moments throughout the war against zombies from patient zero, to the gradual spread of the virus, to the panic and the complete implosion of society. To add to the realism of the novel, footnotes have been given to provide us with further information. In the eBook version, if you click on the in text reference, you will be taken to the footnote being referenced.
WWZ is a refreshing step away from the ever popular novels of today that consist of sparkly vampires with codependent girlfriends and consistently half naked werewolves. Although it’s not excessively gory, its pace was still enough to keep my attention. The zombies were an ever foreboding presence. I appreciate a book that offers the reader something to think about, and this book has just that. In the Survival Guide was a constant tongue in cheek sarcasm behind the writing, in WWZ gives a critical commentary on the state of world politics and government tensions. One of the things I really liked, which also added a depth of realism, is that the atmosphere in which the whole outbreak happens is very relevant to our current world. The political leaders of the novel that allow the spread of the virus could easily be our current administration.
The most important aspect of any novel, to me, is the characters. I can’t enjoy a book if there is no character development or the characters are shallow. Even though the stories of each of the characters are short, I still was able to get to know who each of them were. Each character had an individual voice that easily separated them from the others. There is enough of a back story for each of them that it builds empathy without becoming overbearing. There were stories given from the perspectives of people from different social classes and countries, given a world view. Maybe it’s because I am a girl, but there were a few of the stories that were fairly emotional and showed a bit of humanity.
Overall, I really liked this book. I have actually read it twice, which is how I rate books – if they are worth reading again or not. I found it to be engaging and tense throughout. I found myself caring about the characters and their struggle. Max Brooks is a great author because he can take a zombie story and not only make it practical, but fairly believable. He doesn’t use overly complicated adjectives or overbearing language. However, in the eBook version, there are a few minor typos that, while annoying, don’t detract from the narrative. This is a great novel for those who have a new interest in zombie fiction or even a veteran zombie aficionado.
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