Monday, May 14, 2012

Lily's Review of World War Z, by Max Brooks

My Rating:
didn't like it it was ok liked it really liked it (my current rating) it was amazing   

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.

 It is common knowledge amongst my closest friends, and family that I have one true fear... not spiders, mice or snakes. Not even death really... but zombies. Or the idea of zombies. They say it is irrational, even a little crazy to have such a fear. But heck, biological warfare could potentially make this a possibility.. anyone watch Resident Evil? You just never know, people. You just never know. 

In this novel I read of my fear. Human survivor numbers, in comparison to the total population prior to the decade long war, could be viewed as near extinction! Max Brooks is an agent for the United Nations, traveling the globe, interviewing such survivors of various nationalities and religions about their experiences during this war. 

The novel opens up with an outbreak in a small Chinese town, where a doctor is taken to 'Patient 0' in the hopes of identifying the 'disease'. It just so happens that it's a very young boy, shackled by the villagers in a shed or hut. This boy is so hungry and savage, it tears its own arm off in order to get closer to the doctor that stares at it in horror. Very zombielicious!!!

This book is presented as a documentary, with Brooks interviewing various people,  including military officials. The documentary style threw me off initially, as I had never read a novel set up this way, but quickly got into the flow of the structure. 

It is jam packed with morbid scenes of swarms of the walking dead taking down entire populations. Then those bodies reanimate, and the numbers grow to astronomical proportions that were too massive to conceive. You are taken along various people's journeys of their incredible struggles to survive, and of deeds they never dreamed they would ever be able to perform in order to do so. Why the plague... you know what, not sure. There was never really an explanation from what I can recall, but to be honest, you are so caught up with the storyline, who cares? The fact is, the dead were walking around. (shudder)

Why only 4 stars though? It is not a testament to the story or the skill of writing, because it was superb. Just a reader's personal preference. Much of this book was very militant, with lots of well researched military weaponry and methods of attack, and which though understandable, elicits some yawning out of this reader. I was way more interested to read some good zombie killing. And ohh yes, folks. Lots and lots that fall beautifully in that category.

I have learned a lot from reading this novel. I learned that I need to read the Zombie Survival Guide ASAP!  And I must get my hands on a paperback copy so I can throw that in a backpack along with a couple of guns, ammo, a couple of knifes, a few cans of beans and Chunky Soup, can opener, bandages.. you get the drift. Let's not forget the very sharp sword on my back, cause I may have to lop some zombie heads through the air. (ERIN, can you NOT just give me one of yours for Christmas? Pretty please?)  AND, I need to track down that Bear Grylls episode of urban disaster survival and commit it to memory.

But if all goes to hell, I will just have to pull the ultimate weapon out of my arsenal.

That's right. I've got Chuck Norris. You are screwed Zombies... You are screwed. 

To make matters sweeter, soon to be a movie at your local theater, starring none other than Brad Pitt as Max Brooks. Alright!


 4 out of 5 zombies. Not too shabby!!



  1. I read this book a while ago, I really enjoyed it . It was an interesting take on zombies.

  2. I love this book. Your review brought back a lot of the joy for me. What especially amazed me about this novel was its comprehensiveness ... so many people of so many backgrounds, and we get to watch each of them in their private and communal struggle against the dead ... and their private wrestling with death and loss, which is ultimately what scares us the most... Just a brilliant book.

    What was your favorite episode in it?

    Stant Litore

    1. I really enjoyed that too. It gave you a wide perspective from all over the world.

      The first scene with Patient 0 definitely packed a punch. Any scene in this book that involved a child was deeply affecting. It's one thing to enjoy a zombie story and cheer for the 'goodies' as they obliterate the hordes, but there is always a deeper feeling of sadness I cannot separate from when you read about a child in one of these novels. It's sombering.

      The Asian young man that was a computer geek that had to escape from his building... My heart was pounding preeeetyy fast reading that one.

      All in all, great book. Felt really well researched. The political and military perspectives on how to protect the people from various countries felt really realistic. This author definitely put a lot of work into this novel and it showed. And I am REALLY looking forward to seeing how they produce this into the big screen.


  3. Thanks for sharing. I have this book but haven't started it yet. Will definitely be reading it soon.


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