Friday, August 21, 2009

My Take On World War Z by Max Brooks

“The end was near.” —Voices from 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.
 This book was as intense the second time around as it was the first, and it totally appealed to my nerdy side because it was delivered as an actual historic event, the author never broke character, not even for the synopsis. Plus it had footnotes1!
 The story of the most catastrophic event to never befall mankind is written from the point of view of the survivors, the result is something visceral and frighteningly believable. Max Brooks traveled the world over to interview the hardened survivors and preserve their experiences of the war in their own words.
 I loved the type of zombie employed by Brooks. They were the result of an incurable virus that turned the victims into autonomous flesh-eaters, and they weren't picky about what they ate. These zombies were out to eat anything alive; people, horses, grizzly bears, everything! The zombies not only brought about the near extinction of the human race, they also caused an ecological disaster. Brooks covered every possible angle. Political, ecological, economical2, but don't get me wrong! This was no dry, faux-textbook. WWZ was never dull!
 I'd say WWZ is required reading for anyone with even the slightest interest in zombies, alternate reality fiction, or speculative fiction3. This book was so far beyond "good" that I can't even think of anything else to say about it! It had an arm load4 of my favorite things: viruses and the havoc they reap, zombie battle scenes, the psychology of war, survivalism, post apocalyptic society, etc.
 My only complaint has to do with what also made this book so amazing: the number of characters. There was a wide variety of voices and points of view, so many in fact that it was a little tough to keep them straight at times. Brooks had no trouble keeping them straight in the narrative, though. They were all very well developed characters with unique, if somewhat explicit, voices.
 I give World War Z...
... Five Zombies!
All in all, World War Z was a thougroughly realistic take on a terrifying (non)event. I also recommend reading his companion book The Zombie Survival Guide which also gets Five Zombies. Two word review for the Survival Guide, "Weirdly practical."5

Happy reading!
Zombie Girrrl

1  You all know how fond I am of footnotes!
2  ...Gramatical...
3  A few of my personal favorites in respect to themes.
4  Perhaps even a barrel full.
5  Or perhaps6, "Bizarrly employable."
6  Synonyms for "perhaps" include: conceivably, maybe, mayhap, perchance, and possibly.


Rhiannon Hart said...

Hehe, this sounds awesome! Definitely going to track down a copy. I love zombie films but haven't come across a zombie book yet that is completely and satisfyingly zombified. Despite what others say, Forest of Hands and Teeth just didn't scare me. Good book though.

Eli said...

Oo this seems interesting. Haven't heard anything before your review, but I might have to check it out. Great review!

Zombie Girrrl said...

I haven't read The Forest of Hands and Teeth yet, but I really want to.

Lauren said...

This one sounds awesome, I'll definitely wishlist it!

I have an award for you here at my blog:

vvb32 reads said...

hooo-eee? grizzly bears! i'm looking forward to reading this one next week.

Rachel said...

This sounds really good. Never seen it before though.

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