Wednesday, September 2, 2009

BkRv: It was the worst of times, it was the best of times

Max Brooks
@NONE :: website


FIRST LINE :: It goes by many names: "The Crisis," "The Dark Years," "The Walking Plague," as well as newer and more "hip" titles such as "World War Z" or "Z War One." I personally dislike this last moniker as it implies an inevitable "Z War Two." For me, it will always be "The Zombie War," and while many may protest the scientific accuracy of the word zombie, they will be hard-pressed to discover a more globally accepted term for the creatures that almost caused our extinction. Zombie remains a devastating word, unrivaled in its power to conjure up so many memories or emotions, and it is those memories and emotions that are the subject of this book.


SUMMARY :: from the B&N website
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.
Let me be the brutally honest with you: The first night that I started WORLD WAR Z, I read maybe 6 pages in, called it a night, and subsequently dreamed about a zombie outbreak downtown where maggots were spewing out of said zombies. Not the most pleasant of dreams, no, and the funny thing is that this would have to be the first "scary" dream that I can vividly recall.

So let me warn you now: WORLD WAR Z, while not outrageously spewing blood or maggots, is probably not for the weak of stomachs or imaginations.

Max Brooks (or whomever the narrator may be) takes us on an investigative journey where he tracks down all human survivors of the Zombie War and documents their stories. They come from all over the world, but their experiences with the zombies remain horrific and almost death-defying. They discuss various aspects of the Zombie War, starting from the location of Patient Zero to discussing how governments tried to hide the ever-growing-out-of-control situation to barely managing to survive the Zombie War.
from page 34 :: From 1973 onward, if nine intelligence analysts came to the same conclusion, it was the duty of the tenth to disagree. No matter how unlikely or far-fetched a possibility might be, one must dig deeper. If a neighbor's nuclear power plant might be used to make weapons-grade plutonium, you dig; if a dictator was rumored to be building a cannon so big it could fire anthrax shells across whole countries, you dig; and if there was even the slightest chance that dead bodies were being reanimated as ravenous killings machines, you dig and dig until you strike the absolute truth.
As I read World War Z, I could not help but compare this to a literary zombie movie. It would be very interesting indeed to listen to the audio version because I am sure it would be even more disturbing! Like I said, I literally had a nightmare after barely touching the book! Parts of the book flew over my head - the government/military lingo, the logistics - but other parts really stuck out to me where I can seriously see this happening if the Zombie War is on the brink of exploding into our lives.
from page 67 :: We were in the hallway when I heard Jenna scream. I ran to her room, threw open the door. Another one, big, I'd say six and a half feet with giant shoulders and bulging arms. The window was broken and it had Jenna by the hair. She was screaming "Mommymommymommy!"

What did you do?

I...I'm not totally sure. When I try to remember, everything goes by too fast. I had it by the neck. It pulled Jenna toward its open mouth. I squeezed hard...pulled... The kids say I tore the thing's head off, just ripped it right out with all the flesh and muscle and whatever else hanging in tatters. I don't think that's possible. Maybe with all your adrenaline pumping... I think the kids just have it built up in their memories over the years, making me into SheHulk or something.
The discussions involved, the survival stories, the panic among everyone, the gold-diggers who made money on such panic, the silly celebrities who turn it into a reality show, the crazy humans with Stockholm syndrome and pretended to be zombies - Max Brooks weaves such an intricate and believable story that can satisfy any zombie lover and/or history buff. My boyfriend, while not as crazily Team Zombie as I am, loves The History Channel and I know in my gut that, even if he's zombie-skeptical, he can appreciate the details crafted together.
from page 273 :: For the first time in history, we faced an enemy that was actively waging total war. They had no limits of endurance. They would never negotiate, never surrender. They would fight until the very end because, unlike us, every single one of them, every second of every day, was devoted to consuming all life on Earth. That's the kind of enemy that was waiting for us beyond the Rockies. That's the kind of war we had to fight.
I will admit that I may never re-read WORLD WAR Z again. Once is enough for me, but perhaps I may check out the audio version or re-read after several years or so. Very detailed, very intricate - definitely something to keep in hand just in case.


ZOMBIE RATING :: I hope that this is self-explanatory, BUT the zombies are coming, the zombies are coming, THE ZOMBIE ARE COMING! f(o_o)f


  1. This book has been on my wish list for so long. Isn't there a companion guide that goes with it too? Anyway, Zombie week has brought it back to the top of my list. 41/2 stars, pretty good! Thanks for the review!

  2. This is easily the best zombie book ever written.

  3. Hmmmm, this one sounds....interesting. I'll see. I may decide to read it. Thanks for the review.


  4. Oh yeah, came back to say: DAY BY DAY ARMAGEDDON is an excellent zombie read, too. And the MONSTER ISLAND series by David Wellington.

  5. This book sounds awesome, but also pretty scary. I'm not sure I could read it, I'm such a wimp! Great review though, Cecilia!

    The first line of this book reminded me of some "creatures" in some books by Robin Hobb. I know you're a Lisa Shearin fan, so you're also a high fantasy fan, perhaps you'd like to check out Robin Hobb's Farseer Trilogy, the first being Assassin's Apprentice (Amazon UK - not a great description elsewhere). I never thought of it before, which is ridiculous, but one of the subplots of the story is around what happens to certain people who are referred to as Forged Ones - they pretty much are zombies, but "zombie" is never used. You may enjoy it. They're certainly some of my favourite books. Just thought I'd suggest it :)

  6. I've read this and I just couldn't get into it. My boyfriend, however, loves it! I guess its not my type of book

  7. I had been intending to read this one for awhile! I will definately pick it up now!

  8. OMZ, I love this book! I liked the military lingo and logistics, they made it seem real. The survival stories were so amazing! Fave book. Hands down. Great review!
    P.S. I had nightmares too. I think it's a given with this book because it's a complete immersion.

  9. I love audio books. I might just go straight to audio book with this one. Thanks for the review!

  10. Nice review. You got me interested in reading this now but it might be a little too scary for me.

  11. I heard of world war z but knew very little- and now I'm really interested.


  12. This sounds scarry haha:P I don;t hope that if i read it i get those zombie dreams!!!

  13. Yeah I don't think this is the zombie book for me. I have a bit of a weak stomach so I think I will pass. Great review though!

  14. You know, I've had this book on my shelf for AGES and I can never get through it all. Ever. It's excellent and everything, but I just don't have the stomach for it.

    Every time I think "okay, i'm being silly, i can do this"... yeah, i'm wrong.

  15. oh. and that was me as Mya up there. can't say i didn't warn you.

  16. Ugg! Sorry to say, I am new to the whole zombie scene. I don't think I'll be trying this book...ever. Yes, I am running for my life here.

  17. This book sounds amazing. I can't wait to read it!!

  18. Sounds positively gory! Not sure I'll ever have a strong enough stomach to read it though...

  19. Def. recommending this to my male friends! Thanks.

  20. elnice: There is a companion book - The Zombie Survival Guide, same author!

    TJ: True that. Very detailed and totally believable! I will have to check out your recommendations :)

    Book Pixie: It is no quick read, that's for sure. More like a movie in print form!

    Jo: I have to finish the Farseers trilogy soon - it has been so long, and Robin Hobb is one of my favorites! I'll pay better attention to the Forged Ones now :)

    throuthehaze: I can see how that works. As I read it, I could picture my boyfriend loving it because it had loads of historical and military details!

    Dani: I hope you enjoy it! :)

    JT Oldfield: Me too. It is now going into my survival kit ;)

    Zombie Girrrl: Yeah, I totally did not expect a nightmare from the get-go. Freaky!

    Llehn: This would be a perfect audio, especially since it is a bunch of dictated stories.

    Jenny N: Picture a zombie movie in text form. Or a post-zombie apocalypse movie. If that scares you, then I'd stay away!

    SassyCC: It is totally worth a read if you love zombie movies!

    Nina: Not a book I'd read at night, that's for sure!

    katie: I hear you! My stomach is made of steel when it comes to zombies :)

    dissectingperfection: Yes, I had to read it in several sittings. Sometimes it got too much for me that I had to walk away and read something lighter.

    Haiku Amy: Ha, I would run fast too if zombies were all over the place! ;)

    Alexa: I hope you enjoy it!

    pepsivanilla: This is a book that overactive imaginations will make the goriness worse.

    YA Vampire: Yes! Guys will probably dig this if they love the History Channel. :)

  21. LOL! I'm scared of this book now...even the title sounds scary! I wonder if I'd be able to handle the blood and gore here...


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