Book Review: World War Z by Max Brooks

( #Zombies, #MaxBrooks )

This is a bit of a departure for me, because I read this book years ago. Actually, I read World War Z at least three times in the last few years, so that should tell you how much I liked it. The reason I am doing the review so late is because I am actually writing this for another website (but cleverly posting it here as well). Enough blog politics, on with the review…

World War Z is so good is because it is not about zombies. Don’t freak out, there is plenty of terror and gore, but the true momentum of the book is carried by the stories of how society failed and rebuilds itself after a major disaster. Unlike most Zombie books (where everyone usually dies), humans basically learn from their mistakes. The world isn’t perfect after the plague wipes out most of the population, but the book gives the reader the sense that the world is going to be a better place as a result of the carnage.

Brooks does an excellent job of rationalizing why certain societies did better during the crisis (island nations like Cuba were naturally protected, while militant societies like Israel were generally well prepared and took action quickly). Instead of the following a traditional linear format, the events are told in a series of survivor interviews. This was a very effective narrative device that I have noticed other genre books adopting (notably Robopocalypse). The interview approach allowed Brooks to convey the terror of the situation without getting into B-grade horror writing. Aside from the concept of the dead walking around trying to eat people, the plot feels very plausible. Brooks also does a very good job of making the book feel like a historical document which adds to the fantasy that this could actually happen.

I have said this in other zombie book reviews, World War Z is by far the best zombie book on the market and is a great read for any fiction/genre fan. WWZ is clever, creative, and scary the best possible way – I highly recommend it.

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