21 July, 2018

REVIEW: I, ZOMBIE by Hugh Howey

Title: I, Zombie
Author: Hugh Howey
Series: -
Genres: Horror, Zombies
Publisher: Broad Reach Publishing
Release: August 15th, 2012
Source: ebook
Pages: 222

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This book contains foul language and fouler descriptions of life as a zombie. It will offend most anyone, so proceed with caution or not at all.

And be forewarned: This is not a zombie book. This is a different sort of tale. It is a story about the unfortunate, about those who did not get away. It is a human story at its rotten heart. It is the reason we can't stop obsessing about these creatures, in whom we see all too much of ourselves.


EXPECTATIONS: I don't really know what I expected. A horror story, yes. Maybe a zombie apocalypse story too, yes. That's what I get for not reading the blurb before I took a book. But you know what? My expectations may not have been met, but this was much better than anything I could've expected to begin with.

THE WORLD: USA, one of those island cities that seem easy to cut off in apocalyptic movies. And this is definitely that kind of scenario. The very, very start. It began with a handful of sick people scattered around. Everyone went about their business, passing them moaning on street, assuming they're drunk or just a problem for someone else. Don't come near them, lest they cough on you! And then a shuffle of them came. Slow, grunting, disoriented. And so very definitely no longer human. Terror took over, people fled, killing each other in the process, leaving each other to die, leaving each other for fate worse than that. And then today comes. Choppers buzz above, with military and scientists watching, doing nothing. Unseen heroes with limited ammunition grant mercy to women and children first, for they don't know just how many they can put out of their misery before they will die too. And all the while them, these zombies, these undead, are screaming inside their own skulls, unable to stop their hands from shoving rotten meat down their throats. Not even broken limbs stop. 

CHARACTERS: The book is told from many perspectives, but they're all people who are either already zombies, or will soon become them. Each one experiences something different, and for the most part, it's very interesting. My favorite was the woman with apple sized hole in her cheek. She started her story expressing how painful it was on her teeth to be constantly battered by winds, and how there was nothing she could do about it, other than eat the rotting guts of someone long dead before her, mentally gagging and screaming in terror. It was a scent of another human, living flesh, that made her get up and start moving forwards. Her, and many others, I might add, for they all can smell it, can feel it, they all crave it. And yet no one's in a hurry to stop them with any more than barricades in metro stations and bridges. Another interesting character was a prepper. A.k.a. someone who was prepared for zombie apocalypse even before it happened. There are such people in real life, right now, ready to survive. But whether they will or not remains to be seen, for this one definitely didn't. 

ROMANCE:  Some of them can recall their loved ones. Some of them ate them. Others simply got lost from them.

GOOD: It was terrifying. I never could've imagined that a zombie story from a zombie perspective can feel even scarier than a zombie story from a human perspective. Imagine a world where once bitten you can either a) succumb to that horrible fate, or b) go seek out a group of zombies in hope they will eat you all, and leave only bones behind. And then imagine the drive your body feels, ones that makes you walk, crawl, swim towards the scent you can almost taste in the air. Your body is broken, your legs have bones sticking out of them, but here you are, dragging your lower half behind you, because your arms are ready to pull you through hell just so you could have another taste of it. 

BAD: Not all stories are interesting. Some are very mediocre, others are outright boring. Like, I wasn't at all fond of reading about the child-zombie, even though she told a great story of how it all started. 

OVERALL: Tension rose with every chapter, because somewhere on the third part of it you started noticing that they're all drawn towards something. And then such a marvelous description was given of how cancer spreads, and how once it reaches vital organs - it doesn't matter whether you cut it out elsewhere any longer. We witness a sun rising where sun has no right to rise - a bomb dropped on a city, a city sacrificed, like an infected limb, for the sake of the rest of the humanity. And we know it's too late. It was the most amazing horror story I have read, ever.

What do you think about I, ZOMBIE?



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