Reviewed by Ambrea
As the greatest conflict in history, the “Zombie War” changed the world and everyone in it—and one man is intent on retelling the memories of those days, preserving history that may one day be forgotten. He begins his interviews at the start what history now knows as “The Crisis” and follows the narrative thread from one country to the next (China, America, South Africa, England, Israel, and even Antarctica), until the present day when humanity is no longer faced with extinction from the walking dead.
Admittedly, I’m not much of a fan of zombie lore. I rarely read books about the walking, shuffling creatures that haunt so much of primetime television, but I became absorbed into World War Z for the simple fact it isn’t your typical zombie horror story. The author, Max Brooks, creates a series of interweaving interviews, providing a narrative that stretches across all of human existence and experience. Not only do readers have the opportunity to witness different stories, we have the chance to see what happens in different parts of the world and how various countries encounter the same threat.
World War Z is fascinating and inventive. I mean, the novel answers questions I didn’t even know I might have about a zombie apocalypse. For instances, what happens to astronauts trapped on a space station? Do zombies float—or do the sink and walk on the ocean floor? Can a person fool a zombie and get away with walking in their midst? And what happens to the global economy after everything goes kaput?
Brooks answers all these questions and more, providing an amazing breadth and depth to his novel that, confidentially, I didn’t expect. Although I never did receive a complete explanation as to how zombies were first created or where the apocalypse really begins (there’s plenty of supposition between characters, so I wasn’t completely left in the dark), World War Z is so fully comprehensive in its examination of the Zombie War that I never noticed it lacking.
Truth be told, World War Z is probably one of my favorite books. There is, of course, the requisite amount of gore and human desperation—murder, cannibalism, suicide, genocide, zombie carnage and so forth—but it tells a story of survival, recovery from a wound that’s incredibly deep. It shares a dystopian future guaranteed to give a reader chills, but it manages to weave a story that’s intricate, extraordinary, and vaguely hopeful.