Friday, June 21, 2013

Review Me Twice: World War Z

I said on Wednesday that this is actually my favorite zombie book, so you can probably guess that I have lots of good things to say about it.

The main character is actually quite silent, providing only brief commentary on the stories of others, the people he interviews by travelling around the world during and after the zombie apocalypse. This gives you the medical, military, and assorted civilian perspectives on the events, which is something most zombie stories either give up on (you can't tell everyone's story) or attempt and fail. Brooks did what I think is a great job with this.

Beyond that, the writing is just exceptional. Yes: exceptional. I especially admire the way Brooks can switch voices; his military characters sound military, his doctors sound like doctors, his average Joe from Wenatchee, WA sounds like an average Joe from Wenatchee, WA.

I am expecting to be disappointed by the movie, because - from what I see in the trailers - it doesn't look like the separate voices are kept intact. It looks like Brad Pitt runs around saving everyone else by being pretty and American. I could be wrong, though, and I hope I am. I understand that Brooks worked on the screenplay, and while I don't think that helped in Suzanne Collins' case, maybe this will turn out better.

I really enjoyed this book, but it took a little while to get into.  It starts out pretty slow, and it's told from a hindsight perspective.  Everything has happened, the threat is just about over and mankind is starting to recover.

But, even though it starts slow, I think it's done really well.  There are some heartbreaking stories and some incredibly inspiring ones.  What I think Brooks does the best, is making me believe that it all happened.  He does an amazing job making it seem like this Zombie war actually happened, that mankind really put everything aside and fought the war together, because they had to, because they had no other choice.

Probably my favorite story was a woman who was dropped into a danger zone and had to hit a rendezvous point, all by herself in an infested area.  However, she picked up a woman at an outpost on her radio.  The woman over the radio guided her, kept her steady, kept her sane.

It's only at the end of the chapter we find that the woman at the outpost didn't exist.  Or, at least her existence is very ambiguous.

I'm with Alex about the movie.  It looks like it's going to be taking place in real time as opposed to flash backs, which doesn't give me high hopes for the movie, but I guess we'll see.


  1. I'm with you, Cassy. I had a hard time getting into this one. So much so that I never finished it. That being said, I agree with both of you that this was really well done. I could believe that this apocalypse actually happened. Brooks did a great job with his research, but I think in the end, the reason I didn't get sucked in was that it was too "non-fiction" for me. I got a little bored. Maybe at some point I'll try again because I know I won't be wasting my time. I'll just have to power through :)

    1. And it makes it especially worse because he starts out with all the techno babble. "Here is how the disease works and where it started and the symptoms." I mean, it's all necessary, but if that's not your thing, it's a snooze fest.

      The combat stories are the best, and there are quite a few of them in there. Those are really what make the book interesting.