Author: Max Brooks
First Published: 2006
Page Count: 342
Film/ TV Adaptation: Yes*
Rating: 3/5 Stars
The only story I’ve experienced that gets close to depicting what a real zombie apocalypse would be like from every angle imaginable.
*Ever changing viewpoints *Frighteningly realistic plot *Detailed story line
*Cuts off mini stories too quickly *Choppy chronology
“Fear is the most basic emotion we have. Fear is primal. Fear sells.” No one knows exactly how or where it started, but once it becomes clear there is a world-wide epidemic unfolding at every country’s’ doorstep, the only thing humanity wants to do is survive. All it takes is one bite to turn a regular human being into a mindless zombie bent on infecting its next victim no matter what the cost. Max Brooks takes readers to every corner of the earth to capture the events of this nightmarish apocalypse from beginning to the hard-fought end of our planet’s greatest fictional war.
The movie version of this book blew me away in theaters so I knew I had to check out the book it was based on. In the same way The Road perfectly captures the utter bleakness and gloom that our world would probably experience if it were to undergo an earth-destroying apocalypse, World War Z perfectly captures the chaos and carnage that a zombie outbreak would wreak on Earth. Every couple of pages or so the viewpoint changes so that the reader can see how different people are experiencing the outbreak and what they did to fight back. Brooks covers everyone, from astronauts trapped in space to a military member on the front lines. Everything that happens in the book could easily be a real life outcome if a zombie outbreak really happened. The author is also very detailed in how the apocalypse plays out from beginning to end so you are never left in the dark about the goings-on of this fictional world.
Even though there were so many reasons why I should have loved this book (I mean, the film got me so pumped for the book and I love all things apocalypse related) but it really didn’t impress me like I imagined it would. To start off, the book and the film are totally different, but that shouldn’t decide the fate of a review; it’s just something you should know. While I like the style the author used to tell the story by switching viewpoints every two or so pages, it made me feel more detached from the story. It helps move the story but it also hinders you from investing in any of the characters because their time on the page is way to short. The author also had the disappointing habit of cutting off his great short stories right when they would be ramping up and, sadly, you would most likely never hear about that character again. This also caused the story to jump around a lot because you were introduced to people from all over the planet from all walks of life. It was hard to know where everyone’s stories fell in the grand scheme of things.
I would say if your into zombie or apocalypse stories, then you should enjoy this and it would be worth picking up. There really is nothing as all-encompassing as this book when it comes to zombie tales. However, you will not find the heart that you see in stories like the plot of The Walking Dead, where the characters’ lives and their battle for survival are just as engrossing as the world they inhabit. There isn’t a great urgency for you to go out and get this book since there are better options out there for someone looking for a gloomy fictional account of earth’s future.
*Film Adaptations: (Starring Brad Pitt 2013)