Sophia’s #CBR5 Review #55: World War Z by Max Brooks

World War ZI’m not usually the kind of girl that picks up a lot of books about zombies, yet I have been surprised and delighted by the choices lately. First I read, Warm Bodies by Isaac Marion and then I found World War Z (2007) by Max Brooks. Sure, these two weren’t too hard to miss–when a post a day was popping up on Cannonball and the Hollywood advertising machines were grinding away. But both were so unique and enjoyable in their own way, I almost feel like I’ve become a fan of the genre.

World War Z takes place directly after a 10-year war with zombies that began sometime in the near future. The world is recognizable and familiar as the one we live in now. The story is told through many short stories of the survivors. Their experiences are all harrowing but vary drastically. Because the zombie apocalypse is a world-wide problem, Brooks allows his book to have an international focus. The story starts in China, one of the solutions to the crisis has its origins in South Africa, and even though the United States plays an important role throughout the book, some countries that you wouldn’t expect are highlighted.


loulamac’s #CBRV review #37: ZOM-B by Darren Shan


ZOM-B is the first book in a series of twelve charting the zombie apocalypse. Because I love all zombie-related stuff, I will be reading all twelve, even though the book isn’t that great. It’s silly, but I liked it.

The main character is B, a teenager who living with an abusive dad and doormat mum. Like any teenager, B is dealing with the usual pressures of growing up and finding a place in the world – school, the dynamics of friendship groups, and clashes with parents. What B isn’t prepared for is a zombie attack. When reports from Ireland start to surface of the dead coming back to life and eating the brains of the living, B’s community, including parents, friends and teachers, writes it off as a hoax. It’s not, and before long B is battling zombies in the corridors at school.

It reads like The Walking Dead meets Grange Hill. Every bit as gruesome and gory as you’d expect from a zombie story, but the setting of the world of teenagers, with their angst, bravado and issues with their parents is incongruous. This incongruity is charming, because of course kids would be affected by a zombie attack every bit as much as the adults these stories usually focus on. So that makes it refreshing. It’s not very well written, but that doesn’t really matter. It’s disposable, short and fun.  My only gripe is that when humans become zombies they grow long sharp bone protuberances from their fingertips, all the better to crack skulls and scoop out brains. What can I say? I’m a zombie purist.

Captain Tuttle’s #CBR5 Review #41 – Pride & Prejudice & Zombies – Dreadfully Ever After by Steve Hockensmith

I’m not sure if P&P&Z was intended to be a trilogy, or if there are any more books forthcoming, but I certainly wouldn’t protest if there were more in the pipeline. The further adventures of Lizzy and Darcy, along with the rest of the Bennett gang and the nasty Lady Catherine de Bourgh are always entertaining, at least when a plague of the undead is involved.

Here, we pick up four years or so after the events of P&P&Z, with Lizzie and Darcy having some marital issues. Lizzie hasn’t been able to work as a zombie slaying warrior woman since they were married, because that’s not what respectable married ladies do. Jane & Bingley keep having kids, whilst the Darcys haven’t been able to – although given Lizzie’s thoughts on the subject, maybe she’s just been able to shut the whole thing down. Darcy gets bitten by a zombie kid, and is infected with the dreadful disease. Lizzie has nowhere to turn for help, except to the one person she doesn’t want to turn to: Lady Catherine. But she loves Darcy too much to just behead him and have done with it, so she makes a deal with the devil and off Darcy goes to Rosings Park.

Lady Catherine has a mission for Lizzie, as well as Mr. Bennett and Kitty, in London. Mary gets wind of it, and heads there on her own. The doctor who runs Bedlam Hospital may have a cure for the dreadful zed disease, and Lizzie is supposed to get it for Darcy. London has been divided into sectors, some of which are reasonably safe, and some of which are hells on earth. Lizzie and family are undercover as nouveau riche, and fall in with an interesting crowd.

The usual story happens from there, with the wit and subversion that one expects from the Quirk Classics. Anyway, at the end, most of the bad people are dead in some way, and Lizzie and Darcy are back together again, and killing all the zombies they can manage. Kitty finally gets some respect, and even Mary gets kind of what she wants.

Every time I read one of these books, I end up kicking myself for not thinking of it first. The idea was brilliant, and the execution of the series lived up to the promise of the premise. Guess it’s on to Sense & Sensibility and Sea Monsters after this.

Captain Tuttle’s #CBR5 Review #39 – Pride & Prejudice & Zombies – Dawn of the Dreadfuls by Steve Hockensmith

I really enjoyed P&P&Z, and was pleased to find that there were more (yes, I’m way behind on this stuff, but I’m trying to catch up, give an old lady a break). Dawn of the Dreadfuls is the prequel, telling us all about how the Bennett girls became the fierce warriors that they are in between the lines in Austen’s novel. We learn a bit about what went before, and how Mr. Bennett was involved in the initial zombie wars.

There has been a period of peace and rest, and England has returned to normal. They’ve even stopped beheading all of the dead – which was a bad move. No one knows how the strange plague has returned, but it has. Lizzie and the gang first experience this at the funeral of a local man, who sits up in the middle of the ceremony. His wife thinks that he was declared dead prematurely, but Mr. Bennett knows what’s up. He deals with this one, and realizes that soon enough the rest of the dead will be rising. He sends word to everyone who needs to know, including his old master as well as the army.

The army sends a rag-tag group of novices, led by an armless, legless Captain Cannon. He lost his limbs to zombie injuries in the war, and somehow lost his heart to Prudence (who became Mrs. Bennett). Master Liu sends Geoffrey Hawksworth to train the Bennett girls. Geoff takes a fancy to Lizzie, and vice versa. He’s a great teacher, but his battle skills haven’t been tested.

The smashing finale is at a ball at Netherfield, its owner prior to Mr. Bingley still in residence. Lord Lumpley has earned his name, and then some. He also earned his end, so to speak. All the townspeople are holed up in the big house, which is surrounded by zombies. No big spoilers to say that the Bennett family lives through it, otherwise there wouldn’t be any more books.

Like P&P&Z, Dawn of the Dreadfuls is a fun read. Maybe Austen purists are bothered by it, but as a huge Austenite, I really enjoy the off-shoots. At least the well-written ones.

denesteak’s CBR5 #3: World War Z by Max Brooks

I love zombie movies — I think they are fun and weirdly campy in its horror, and the statement zombie movies are often trying to make is always so hit-you-over-the-head obvious that I enjoy the effort put into trying to diversify the message. But I’ve never read a zombie book. And World War Z is a pretty awesome beginning, I’d say, to changing the way I can appreciate how the zombie genre has evolved.

It’s essentially a series of oral accounts, put together by a government chronicler, to map out the zombie war that ate the Earth raw for about 10 years. It begins with how the zombie pandemic may have started — in China, of course — through the eyes of a Chinese doctor who saw how a young patient had been transformed after he was bitten and had to be tied down with rope to prevent him from hurting others. And then Brooks’ chronicler goes into accounts of how it could have spread — first by the Chinese government’s refusal to tell other governments about the zombie pandemic, and then with the governments’ ineptitude to secure its borders to the flood of fleeing non-bitten, and sometimes already-bitten humans. There was also a organ trade that could have spread the pandemic further. Scientists’ recommendations on how to contain the infestation are ignored, making the problem worse.

Read more at my blog.

loulamac’s #CBR5 review #22: World War Z by Max Brooks

imagesCA2HV7YNThis book is so brilliant. Read it! This instant! Is that not enough? Do I need to write more? Must I pad this glowing endorsement over three paragraphs? Go on then.

I picked this up for two quite different reasons:

  1. I am a zombie nut, I love it all from Romero to The Walking Dead to Shaun of the Dead. I embrace zombies as a low-brow horror staple, an indictment of modern consumerism, and a commentary on the lack of individuality seen in modern western society
  2. Some of my mates worked on the Malta portion of the making of the film (apparently Brad is a very nice man).

Whatever your reasons for coming to this book, I promise you won’t be disappointed. This ‘oral history’ is tense, gory, heart-rending, scary and funny. The fictional compiler has travelled the post-zombie holocaust world, gathering the stories of soldiers, politicians, historians and ordinary citizens. It’s brilliantly written, with every ‘interviewee’ coming across as a believable person who has lived through unimaginable horror and loss, and survived to tell the tale.

I suppose my only criticism of the book lies within its narrative conceit. Because the contributors have all survived the massed ranks of the global undead, the sense of jeopardy and Armageddon that are so central to Romero and Darabont’s work are lacking. However, none of that matters when you’re in the grips of a tale about the fall of Tokyo, or the use of canine units in winning back USA from the zombie hordes.

Did I mention that this book is brilliant and that you should read it?

Teresaelectro’s #CBR5 Review #3: Thicker Than Water by Mike Carey


Thicker than Water is the fourth tale of Felix Castor’s trials and tribulations in modern day London. Fix as his friends call him is a freelance exorcist with a problem with authority and penchant for chaos. Demons, ghosts, zombies and werewolves are very real and aren’t hiding in the shadows these days. Nevertheless, Fix can barely make enough money to pay his eccentric landlady and confidant Pen.

This time, the case is personal – a bully from his past named Kenny Seddon has written “F..Castor” on a bloody car window where said bully had a party with a couple of straight razors. Fix is already on the Met’s radar for past indescretions and is promptly dragged into the case. One cop in particular really hates Castor, which thrusts him upon an unwanted walk down memory lane to clear his name. And if that wasn’t enough, his estranged brother who is Catholic Priest striving for sainthood is somehow mixed up with the case and refuses to show his cards.

Read the rest of the review on my blog.

Even Stevens’s #CBR5 review #9: Warm Bodies by Isaac Marion


R is a zombie. He can’t remember his full name, what he did or who was when he was alive, or even how he died.  The only sounds he can make are grunts and groans, but inside his head is swimming with thought and emotion. Yes, he eats people, but it’s only logistical, he needs to continue existing. And what is this existence anyway? Well, he finds his reason when he and a group of other zombies attack a group of humans and he sees Julie. He helps Julie escape the ordeal alive, and helps her blend in and protects her.  He and Julie forge a strange, tentative bond that is tested once they get out into the real world.  R doesn’t want to go back to normal zombie life, and he feels like maybe, just maybe he’s learning to be human again.

I love supernatural stories, vampires, demons, ghosts, I love em all. Zombies fall under that category, but they’re toward the bottom of my list and quite frankly with zombie craze spawning a ton of books, I was a little tired out. I had seen the premise of Warm Bodies and thought “Eh, not for me. Just another attempt to wring the last idea out of a tired genre.” However, the positive buzz for this book lasted a lot longer than most others and it stayed on my radar. And then the movie came out and it looked charming and funny, so I finally broke down and read it. Sometimes, friends, I am an idiot. I was an idiot to wait that long to read this book because it is great. It was absolutely wonderful and fun to read from start to finish.

First of all, R is a very likable narrator. There is a lot of dry humor, and wry observations about human nature and not-so-human nature.  His relationship with his best friend “M” (and M himself) is probably my favorite part of the book.  The set up is a simple one, but Marion makes sly observations about our nature and how we identify ourselves and those around us through the zombie apocalypse.  There are some bittersweet moments (for instance, the thought that they may never see a plane in the sky again) that remind us that even if the story has a happy ending, there is much that has been sacrificed, many that have been lost.

There are quite a few opportunities for clichés to rear their ugly head, and indeed I often expected them, but Marion deftly steers clear of any sappiness or unnecessary theatrics.  This book is funny, thoughtful, and likeable and I found myself rooting for M and Julie the entire time.  There was a subplot with the “Boneys” that I wish had been fleshed out a bit more, but it’s really a very minor complaint about what is otherwise an excellent story. I recommend this to anyone looking for a fresh, fun take on the zombie apocalypse.

Malin’s #CBR5 Review #23: Warm Bodies by Isaac Marion

3.5 stars

Meet R. He’s a zombie. He can’t remember the rest of his name, or even who he used to be, but it was someone who died wearing a suit and tie. He spends his days, along with countless other zombies, shuffling along in an abandoned airport. Every so often, he and his fellow zombies will shuffle into the city to find food, eating some of the desperate survivors hiding out in boarded up buildings. They eat the flesh, but the brains are the best part, as they allow the zombies a brief moment to relive the memories of the person whose brain it is.

R is a bit different from the other zombies at the airport. He keeps collecting things he finds when they’re out hunting for food. Little trinkets he brings back to the 747 he’s made his home. He likes to listen to music. He prefers vinyl because the sound is purer. One day, when he, his friend M, and a bunch of others are out hunting for food, R eats the brain of a young man called Perry, and when M tries to kill Perry’s girlfriend Julie, R stops him. He finds himself inexplicably drawn to Julie, and takes her home with him to the airport. More on my blog.

Caitlin’s #CBR5 #18: Ex-Heroes by Peter Clines


It’s a superhero story set during the zombie apocalypse! I had to read this, and I would have been the saddest girl in all the land if it had sucked. Thankfully, it was actually pretty damn good. I liked the original superheroes and how the narrative included flashbacks to origin stories and the beginning of the outbreak.

You can read my full review here.