Book Review: ZA by Molly Looby

*I received a complimentary copy of this book, and I’m leaving a voluntary review*

Plot: Zane Carlisle, his girlfriend, mother, and friends, experience a Zombie Armageddon (ZA).

Longer version: Zane, his girlfriend Callie, her friend Gemma, and Callie’s brother Jay, go on a zombie walk an evening. They put on makeup and costumes, and make their way into town. (Gotta say, very clever way to start a Zombie apocalypse story).

They enjoy their night out for a little bit, until stuff starts taking a weird direction. There’s people running, people screaming. Eventually, in the midst of the confusion, Zane and the gang are attacked. By a zombie.

They run. They call Callie and Jay’s dad, Michael, who when he comes to pick them up, runs over a person. Not knowing it’s a zombie or what’s going on at all, Michael naturally wants to stop, take care of the person, but Zane and the gang convinces him to get them out of there.

The group heads back to Callie and Jay’s family home, to tune in to the news. There’s been an outbreak, the Juvenile Virus. Nearly everyone’s infected, and if you have it and die, your body is reanimated. Zane and the gang find it best to board up the house, and hunker down. For some reason Zane’s mum, Jen, is also there.

Things are fine for a long while. I like the way zombies act in this story, because they aren’t overly super-aggressive. They feel more organic, and old-school, mindlessly wandering, not being able to round-house kick your front door in.

But then Callie becomes sick. Too sick. I won’t reveal too much, but clearly Callie isn’t going to be as much of a protagonist as I first thought.

Eventually they start to run out of food, and they decide to move out. They pack their valuables, fill up the car, and set out. They meet another group of people, people who appear to be a bit dodgy, but they all bunker up in a large farmhouse together. Same procedure. But how long will it last? How long can they keep moving from place to place, trying to find fresh resources?

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I really liked this book. It’s weird. I often really like zombie/apocalypse stories, though I usually hate zombie films and series (looking at you Walking Dead). It’s not a genre I’d say I’m particularly interested in, yet when I read them, I love them.

Like I mentioned earlier, I liked the zombies in this story, because they’re not the focal point. It’s in a sense very little about trying to find about what has happened to the world and why there’s an outbreak. It’s all about the group, the interaction, the survival. The zombies are in most cases easy to kill, which is the way it should be. When people die it’s usually an accident, people get overrun, that sort of deal. One weird thing about them though is that Zane and his buddies decide to call the zombies “Infected”, and then they laugh at another group of survivors who just call them “zombies”. (As if that’s the most illogical thing to do).

Absolutely loved the Last of Us reference. I like it when authors put in small hints pointing at what I presume to be an inspiration for the story, and I like it even more when I get them.

There’s some good deaths, that really puts the whole survival thing into perspective. Nothing’s worse than when all the protagonists are invulnerable and make it to the end. People die and should die. If anything, perhaps more characters should have died.

I felt maybe the ending was a bit of a let down. It wasn’t really, but I could easily have wanted more stuff to happen, or for stuff to happen differently. I’m not sure if there are supposed to be books following this one, which in that case, makes more sense. But it wasn’t as if the ending broke the story or anything. Just a note.

I’d absolutely recommend this to anyone who likes zombie/apocalypse stuff, because even I, who doesn’t really like it, loved it. There’s just something about having a group of people being left alone in the world that’s super exciting to read. Great book, great read.

 

Check out Molly Looby and ZA!

 

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