- Title: World War Z
- Author: Max Brooks
- Genre: Horror, Sci-fi, Fantasy
- Format: Audio book
- Source: Overdrive digital library
- Reviewed by: Valerie
- Rating: 5 out of 5
Description: 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 30 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 12-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.
Note: Some of the numerical and factual material contained in this edition was previously published under the auspices of the United Nations Postwar Commission.
Review: This is not just a simple zombie tale. The entertainment value is high, so it would be easy to dismiss this as a light sci-fi/horror read. Upon closer examination, there is no denying the social commentary within. The great thing is that one can read it just to enjoy the thrill of the story or one can go dig in and reflect upon the deeper themes, so the book can appeal to both audiences. Clever boy, Max Brooks.
The story is told in a series of interviews reflecting upon the recent near apocalyptic zombie outbreak. Each character being “interviewed” shares their personal experience(s) of often pivotal moments during the conflict. The author was able to use distinct POVs and speech patterns to create some fairly rich characterizations, without spending any time of character development.
I highly recommend doing this one as an audio book. I originally started on my Kindle, and I was enjoying it. However, when I switched to audio it was like going from black and white to Technicolor in the Wizard of Oz. There is a lot of talent behind the audio production, and it shows.
Each interview reflected upon one small piece of the reality: a doctor’s discovery of early infection, a young civilian’s survival story, a soldier’s view of zombie engagements, etc. Yet, as a collective, these stories painted the entire picture of the incident. There was no need for the author to into detail about the nature of his zombies, relying on current mythology to paint that picture. In fact, what Brooks was telling was a war story, it just so happened to be a war with zombies (which in this reader’s opinion, made it ever so much more cool).
I have already alluded to the fact that the book weaves in some concepts that are more serious in nature than shooting zombies. The book incorporated some harsh realities and tough decisions. I am not going to detail them here. I would rather afford you the opportunity, dear reader, to perceive them as you will upon reading the book (because, surely after this glowing review, you are going to rush out and begin straight away!).
Gentle souls tread carefully, this books contains a lot of violence and tragedy, although that should be obvious since it is about a zombie war, right?