“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.
I have a slight obsession with all things zombie apocalypse so I was very excited to read this book. I can see why this book got the attention and praise that it got but it didn't entirely work for me.
The story takes us around the world 10 years after World War Z ends. It is a collection of interviews of survivors and their tales, taking us from the first zombie case, through the "Great Panic" and all the way through the end of the war against the undead.
Brooks came up with a unique and intriging way to write a zombie book. With the craze about zombies and vampires you have to write a story that sticks out. This one definitely does stick out because of the style it is written in but it falls short in the writing itself.
WWZ is more a collection of stories than anything else. There is no flow between the stories, nothing ties one to another. Yes, they are all about the war on zombies but that is where the comparison ends. There are a lot of characters throughout the book but not one of them has any depth. There are just too many, there is no way to get a feel of who the people are. They tell their story then BAM on to the next one. Some of the stories do end up pulling you in but most are completely forgettable.
The biggest flaw in the book for me is that even though there are so many characters telling you their stories, they all have the exact same voice. You cannot tell the difference between a grunt talking about his time in the field and a young woman who fled to the north with her parents. There are a few exceptions to this, such as the traumatized woman with the mind of a 4 year old, but they are far and in between.
The story, also, lacks a scare factor and those scenes that terrify and cause tension that you expect in zombie books. Again, there are some exceptions to this but not many.
It is a very interesting read. Great idea and great imagery plus there are a lot of underlying issues throughout that make you really think about the world, the government and social status. There is a lot lacking in the book too. It's a good book just not a great one.
3 out of 5 stars
BUY IT HERE: World War Z: An Oral History of the Zombie War