World War Z

Posted: 03/29/2012 in Books
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World War Z by Max Brooks

I recently deviated from personal “3 bucks or less” zombie book rule in order to check off some items on my “zombie to-do” list. The first item on that list was World War Z by Max Brooks. WWZ has gotten consistently high praise from zombie enthusiasts and combined with his previous work, The Zombie Survival Guide, Max Brooks has reached near-Romero like status in the zombie loving community. I had read Guide way back when, I thought that  it was good, if not a little dry. At the time, I was expecting something different, something funnier. I’ve come to appreciate the humor and the absurdity of writing a book about zombie survival completely straight-faced. Of course, this has now been copied ad nauseam.

WWZ takes the same straight-faced approach. It is set-up as a journalist’s series of interviews with key zombie war survivors across the globe and occupying a number of different roles.

THE GOOD: WWZ is a really interesting read. The amount of detail is absurd and Brooks must have done a ridiculous level of research. Brooks gives as realistic account of the zombie apocalypse as could be given. What the book really becomes is a collection of short stories, as each survivors gives their own perspective based on where they were and what they were doing while the zombies took over. As is such, some chapters are certainly better than others.

THE BAD: What’s really missing from WWZ is any sense of suspense. The stories are engaging, but with the format as it is, there’s no room for suspense. You know that whoever is speaking survived or else they wouldn’t be able to a part of the interview. I know zombie web-nerds are up in arms because the upcoming movie seems to be deviating significantly from the source material, but I honestly don’t think a straight forward adaptation would translate to anything but a hardcore audience.

THE ZOMBIES: Brooks adheres pretty closely to slow Romero-zombies. The interesting twists he takes involve how human survivors react. He includes humans who pyschologically snapped and now walk around acting like zombies as well as feral children who became orphaned by zombies and grew up “in the wild.”

VERDICT: I don’t know if WWZ is as good as all of the praise it gets. There is stuff out there that is as high in quality that you can find for cheaper. With that said, it is a good book and definitely worth checking out.


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