Monday, July 8, 2013

Mini-Reviews - World War Z by Maz Brooks and Plague Zone by David Wellington

Blurb for World War Z - An Oral History of the Zombie War

The Zombie War came unthinkably close to eradicating humanity. Max Brooks, driven by the urgency of preserving the acid-etched first-hand experiences of the survivors from those apocalyptic years, traveled across the United States of America and throughout the world, from decimated cities that once teemed with upwards of thirty million souls to the most remote and inhospitable areas of the planet. He recorded the testimony of men, women, and sometimes children who came face-to-face with the living, or at least the undead, hell of that dreadful time. World War Z is the result. Never before have we had access to a document that so powerfully conveys the depth of fear and horror, and also the ineradicable spirit of resistance, that gripped human society through the plague years.

Ranging from the now infamous village of New Dachang in the United Federation of China, where the epidemiological trail began with the twelve-year-old Patient Zero, to the unnamed northern forests where untold numbers sought a terrible and temporary refuge in the cold, to the United States of Southern Africa, where the Redeker Plan provided hope for humanity at an unspeakable price, to the west-of-the-Rockies redoubt where the North American tide finally started to turn, this invaluable chronicle reflects the full scope and duration of the Zombie War.

Most of all, the book captures with haunting immediacy the human dimension of this epochal event. Facing the often raw and vivid nature of these personal accounts requires a degree of courage on the part of the reader, but the effort is invaluable because, as Mr. Brooks says in his introduction, “By excluding the human factor, aren’t we risking the kind of personal detachment from history that may, heaven forbid, lead us one day to repeat it? And in the end, isn’t the human factor the only true difference between us and the enemy we now refer to as ‘the living dead’?”

Note: Some of the numerical and factual material contained in this edition was previously published under the auspices of the United Nations Postwar Commission.

My thoughts:

I recently saw World War Z in the theater. Going in, I had mixed feelings about it, because I didn't see how it could make the book justice. I liked it, despite the fact that its only common points with the book were the title and the presence of zombies. I had enjoyed the book very much when I first read it 2 years ago and had to read again after watching the movie. My husband had the same idea, except that he put in the audiobook, and there was a moment when I was reading along while the audiobook played! (I recommend the audiobook, by the way; the many voice actors make the stories truly come to life.) Its format of short-ish interviews is not for everyone, but I found it really fascinating. Yes, the interviews often end too fast and leave the reader wanting more, but I enjoy stories that make me imagine what wasn't spelled out for me.

With no new episodes of The Walking Dead until Fall, I went looking for a new zombie book to read, and stumbled onto Plague Zone by David Wellington.

Blurb for Plague Zone

There are a million zombies in the Seattle Plague Zone. Tim needs to find and kill just one. In the midst of world-wide apocalypse, there are still some things a man has to do. Like get vengeance for his lost family.

My thoughts

I'm not going to link to this book, because frankly I didn't think it was very good, and I did something I rarely ever do: I didn't finish it. I could have forgiven the numerous typos. I know all too well how hard it is to track every last one of those pesky fiends. I could - maybe - have forgiven the hero's insane quest for revenge by telling myself he'd lost his mind. I could have forgiven, with more difficulty, that he seemed really close to cheating on his wife just before he discovered she was dead (really, what kind of man just goes and runs his fingers down a near stranger's back?) I could even have forgiven the hero for not imagining, not having the crazy hope for even one second that he might not have lost his entire family. The breaking point for me was when the hero's son, who had been so far referred to as being 10, suddenly turned out to be 6 years old. I shut the book, and immediately deleted it from my Kindle. If the author doesn't care enough to keep track of his own characters, I'm not sure why I should.

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