Zom-B

Darren Shan, Author
Darren Shan. Little, Brown, $14.99 (192p) ISBN 978-0-316-21440-7
Reviewed on: 10/08/2012
Release date: 10/01/2012
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Shan, author of the Cirque du Freak and Demonata series, enters the zombie genre in a thoroughly bloody fashion with this slow-burning horror piece, which opens a planned 12-book series. This slim volume starts off quietly, introducing readers to narrator B Smith, an English teen who seems headed for a bad end, a born troublemaker following the example of a physically abusive, racist, and thuggish father. Struggling with violent impulses, a desire for paternal approval, and a lowbrow group of friends, B makes one wrong choice after another, leading up to the moment of truth, when a devastating zombie outbreak turns everyday existence into a life-or-death struggle. With the body count rising rapidly and everybody fending for themselves, B’s true colors finally show—at least one of the late revelations should catch readers off guard—setting the stage for the next entry. Character development is impressive for a relatively short book, and Shan executes the transition from normalcy to wholesale terror masterfully. It’s a strong start, but there’s a lot of story left to go. Ages 12–up. Agent: Christopher Little, Christopher Little Literary Agency. (Oct.)
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