World War Z by Max Brooks

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Rating: 8.5/10

I wasn’t sure if I was going to like this book when I started. Even though various people whose opinions I value had told me that it was worth the time, I was skeptical. The whole zombie genre has been getting pretty tired to me and the last thing I wanted to do was read yet another stereotypical zombie book full of blood, guts and brains. Imagine my surprise when it was nothing like I thought it was going to be.

Finally, there is a zombie book about the aftermath of the zombie apocalypse! There is so much work done on what happens during but these works hardly ever mention what the world is like after the brunt of the war.

This book is divided up into many different points of view in interview format. In these interviews, people talk about their role in the zombie war and how that has affected them. I really enjoyed the fact that there were no two stories that were the same. Brooks really encapsulated the fact that everyone is different, especially the differences between cultures and how people and governments of those regions would theoretically handle something like this. Everyone in the book came from different backgrounds. Some worked for the military and some were just civilians who were lucky to find a way to survive.

This book is full of characters you are able to sympathize with and sometimes relate to, but there are also people you end up hating. Especially those people who found a way to profit from the tragedy and obviously didn’t care that people were dying all around them.

Also, Brooks’ description of what the various governments chose to do with the situation is distressing, but also eerily believable. I found myself truly becoming afraid for the future because everything that was done is not beyond belief. At the same time, there are moments when you really begin to question your own moral compass when you are made to really think about the decisions others chose and realize that there really was no other way.

One of the most fascinating parts of this book was not just the stories about what happened during the war, but how these people were dealing with it after the fact. Many had to struggle with the implications of their decisions during the war and many, many more had to learn to live with the loses of everyone they knew and cared about in the world. To me, this was what really set this book apart from all other zombie based books. While the stories during the war where heart-wrenching and sometimes infuriating, it was even harder to read about the affects on these people. Some are able to find something to keep them going on a planet completely destroyed, while others struggle daily with suicidal thoughts and sometimes insanity. It was sometimes really difficult to read and there were a few times when I had to take a short break from reading the book because of its distressing nature.

The only issue I had with this book was that I wanted a little more on how the environment was affected by this war. From the descriptions of the war it would seem that the planet was basically destroyed and I wanted to hear more about how those that survived were handling the issue of trying to salvage what little they had left of the planet. There is some discussion of it in the end but I would want maybe two more sections on it.

This book is not for the faint of heart and is definitely not one that you will just read and then go on to the next one with a simple, “That was pretty good”. This book will stay with you for a long time after you read it. In fact, there are a couple of the stories that still haunt me. It has that much of a realistic feel to it. I highly recommend this book to anyone remotely interested in the zombie genre (cause it’s practically its own genre at this point). I also encourage those who are just a little tired of the zombie fad to at least give this book a chance. It’s a new look into the subject and is worth the read.

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