World War Z: a review

June 11, 2011

Arts & Literature, Reviews

Written by Zombie Theology

World War Z
By Max Brooks

Synopsis: The book is composed of short interview pieces, compiled by a journalist, describing the history of World War Z, or the war against the zombies. While the interviews are from various individuals in several different locations around the world, they are put together in such a way that the story progresses through them. The book is divided into major sections covering the outbreak, the initial reactions of the living, the regrouping and war that the humans wage against the zombies, and the aftermath (those are not the names of the sections, just the general subject of each).

My Opinion: I know I should have read this book a long time ago. It’s hard to be a proper zombie fan without having read this book. The first zombie book I ever read was The Zombie Survival Guide, also by Brooks, but I just never got around to this one, until now. There were things I liked a lot about it and things I thought could have been a lot better.

I liked that he covered the zombie apocalypse from many different angles. If you are only following one character, especially if you don’t have an omniscient narrator, you only have to know what is pertinent to that one character’s story. Brooks has to explain this thing from many different perspectives. This means he would have had to learn enough about biology, weapons, warfare, world history, theology and so on to at least sound convincing when writing each of the “interviews” I’m not an expert in any of these areas, but as a regular guy I thought he sounded pretty convincing.

The big thing I didn’t like was that all the characters seemed to have the same voice and the same vocabulary. I had a hard time believing these were different people. Some swore more than others, one even thought she was still a little girl, but even that didn’t come off convincingly. So he succeeded in being able to speak intelligently about several different expert subjects, but he failed at the more important task of making me feel like I was hearing from different people.

There are lots of cool discussions about history and warfare and peace and violence and different cultures and consumerism and all those fun subjects that zombie novels get to deal with under the surface. All together I could see why it has ranked among the top of the pile for zombie novels. It may not be the “best” zombie novel for the enthusiast, but I would say that it is very digestible (pun fully  intended!) so it will appeal to lots of readers who may not otherwise be interested in zombie novels at all.



4 out of 5 Brains: worth fighting the horde over

we at pray for your sanity and survival in these dark days

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One Comment on “World War Z: a review”

  1. KevinR Says:

    I met Mr. Brooks at the Spooky Empire Ultimate Halloween Weekend in Orlando, Florida a couple of years ago. Great guy!


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