Saturday 17 November 2012

Book Review - Zom-B / This is Not a Test

Author: Darren Shan 
Series: Zom-b #1
Genres: Apocalyptic, Paranormal | Young Adult
Release Date: September 27th 2012
Publishers: Simon & Schuster
No. Pages: 214
Source: Borrowed
Buy From: Amazon | Book Depository | Barnes and Noble | Waterstones
Zom-B is a radical new series about a zombie apocalypse, told in the first person by one of its victims. The series combines classic Shan action with a fiendishly twisting plot and hard-hitting and thought-provoking moral questions dealing with racism, abuse of power and more. This is challenging material, which will captivate existing Shan fans and bring in many new ones. As Darren says, "It's a big, sprawling, vicious tale...a grisly piece of escapism, and a barbed look at the world in which we live. Each book in the series is short, fast-paced and bloody. A high body-count is guaranteed!

Let me first just start of by saying that I'm a huge fan of Darren Shan. I have been since the very first time I was read a chapter of a book in The Saga Of Darren Shan. In my eyes, he can do no wrong and I recommend him to just about everyone, even those who don't necessarily read. But I have to be honest, once I heard he was doing a Zombie book I was a bit cautious, especially as I had read it had some adult themes (I'll get to that). But once I read it I was once again amazed at how Darren Shan not only manages to make you feel you are in the story but your the main character living it.

This book is centred around a group of kids fighting for survival once a zombie outbreak hits the town. The main character  B. Smith  is nothing more than a racist and a bully. B has no time for school and has a total disregard for others feelings, something we see over and over again. Is it B's fault though, when they grew up with a father like Todd? someone who makes it his life goal to try and rid England of anyone who isn't white British while going home and beating his wife at any chance?. And while yes, I found Todd to be horrible and horrific in his views most of the time, there is a part of me that likes/feels sorry for him. There is a lot of reason's behind his racism, something that anyone living in England should have picked up on, what with our recession and backwards benefit system looking after anyone but its own. (now I'll stop there, because even though this is my blog and I'm entailed to say what I think, I cant voice my views and opinions without someone accusing me of being a racist myself. Something I'm not) I think Todds character is very clever, and Darren Shan even more so for writing him the way he has and addressing something happening everyday in England.

This book took a while to get to the zombies, when it did I wasn't left disappointed, but felt like the build up was pretty pointless. Even though I thought it was brave of Darren to write about racism I felt like it was very out of place in this book. I liked the characters, the nick names and the idea behind this book. I love the twists and turns and the cliffhanger, as always.
I'm looking forward to the next one, I just hope its focused more around the actually Zombies

This is Not a Test
Author: Courtney Summers
Genres: Dystipian, Zombies | Young Adult
Release Date: June 19th 2012
Publishers: St. Martin's Griffin
No. Pages: 326
Source: Borrowed
Buy From: Amazon | Book Depository | Barnes and Noble | Waterstones
It’s the end of the world. Six students have taken cover in Cortege High but shelter is little comfort when the dead outside won’t stop pounding on the doors. One bite is all it takes to kill a person and bring them back as a monstrous version of their former self. To Sloane Price, that doesn’t sound so bad. Six months ago, her world collapsed and since then, she’s failed to find a reason to keep going. Now seems like the perfect time to give up. As Sloane eagerly waits for the barricades to fall, she’s forced to witness the apocalypse through the eyes of five people who actually want to live. But as the days crawl by, the motivations for survival change in startling ways and soon the group’s fate is determined less and less by what’s happening outside and more and more by the unpredictable and violent bids for life—and death—inside. When everything is gone, what do you hold on to?

This is not a test like Zom-b was yet again centered around a group of teenagers, fighting for survival after a zombie outbreak hits their town. And just like Zom-b its not exactly what I would call a Zombie book. More a book with a zombie background.

The main character in this book is Slone, a young girl with an abusive father and absent sister. Slone had planned for years to run away with her older sister Lily, to be free of their father. But when Lily decided to do it alone, without warning, Slone is let alone with no one else who understands. Contemplating suicide when the outbreak happens, she finds her self barricaded in the local school with 5 other teenagers only difference with her and them? they actually want to live. She tries to cut herself off from the rest, something that isn't as subtle as she thinks, but when she finds her self falling for someone unexpected, part of her wants to survive. For him.

The teenagers are constantly battling with the outside, and themselves. And this book is filled with a lot of hard subjects such a abuse, suicide and death. the only thing I didn't like about this book was the way Slone was always constantly talking about killing herself. I know that's the way she was from the start, it just got slightly annoying

First Courtney Summers book and I'm happy to say it wont be my last. I thought it was very well written and I loved that she had managed to mix contemporary with paranormal. I would have loved to see it as a series, but it worked really well as a stand alone.
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