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Max Brooks' 'World War Z': A Review
I think this novel signifies the ending of my current zombie story phase. I'd heard that it had spent an insane number of weeks on the New York Times bestsellers list, and that it had been optioned for film, so I decided to see what it was all about. If nothing else, I though the concept of the story was a nice twist on the current doom and gloom surrounding the undead. Honestly, I was slightly disappointed by the book, and I felt that the hype of the book was style over substance. I'm not convinced how closely the film will follow the story, if they don't add some things, or beef it up a little, it's going to be difficult to keep the attention of the audience.
The premise of the book is Brooks, a member of the Indian Postwar Commission, travels around the post zombie apocalyptic world documenting the experiences of the survivors. We see a wide variety of accounts from various people. Some people you'll really sympathize with, while others will evoke hatred from the readers. There are strong men who crumble under the pressures of the war, and fragile individuals who prove to be mightier than their peers. Over all, the moral of the book is good, that no matter how hopeless the situation may be, determination can conquer anything.
Like I previously mentioned, I was actually excited to read this book and get a fresh perspective. What I got was a bunch of sit down interviews. While I can really appreciate someone putting a spin on an aging topic, but I was sorely disappointed with the offering. There were a few interviews that particularly stood out. The blind fellow from Japan and his young ward, the female pilot and her phantom radio and the battle of Yonkers are a few great examples. But for the most part, all the voices sound the same. They all felt like one continuous story instead of individual tales. I would expect a book of this sort to put a little flavor into each different person. I found the story to be a little difficult to read. I realize that he was trying to show some intelligent characters, but the dryness of the encounters left me thirsty for something more substantial.
I will give Brooks credit for taking an old fad and making it fresh again. I'm sure the book wasn't an easy one to write, and give him his due praise for attempting it. I recognize that Brooks tried to make the book seem as close to reality in concept as he could. While I can believe that a global epidemic of this sort would play out very similarly, I'm put off by it's overly political view. It's on that basis that I'm awarding two stars.