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I enjoyed the first half of the book quite a bit: a story about how a well-prepared man faces the development/existence of a zombie horde. Sure, the main character was a bit too prepared for a guy with his background and job, but still, it was believable. And the way information on the initial sickness was shared (or not) felt very realistic. (Oh, I am pretty sure the technical aspects of, say, diving, guns, or solar panels, etc, were creatively interpreted, but I didn't mind, since I don't really care what size bullet goes into what type of gun anyway.)
About halfway through, the story took a little turn from a survivalist story to a "spy-thriller" wannabe. Which might have been okay - if this aspect had been more than a "let's have the main character get caught up in some spy-ops in order to show him facing zombies". This entire thread is sorta wrapped up, but the reader is never given any information as to the point behind these events. Perhaps it is a thread intended to be brought up in the next book in the series, but, as it is here, it is just a huge red herring put into the story for no purpose other than to have an excuse for the main character to meet a sidekick and venture into zombieland.
There were some other weak points that became more noticeable as the story progressed: especially in regards to the main character's cat. Even if you assume that the main character would risk his own life to save that of his cat... why would he take it out of its cage and tie it to a string with the plan that it would walk beside him during a thunderstorm/zombie attack... hey, I can suspend disbelief and accept zombies, and even that silly spy-ops thread, but a) what cat would walk beside you as if it were on a leash and b) what cat would walk beside you in a thunderstorm, leash or not c) and why would anyone think a cat would come to them when they called it (regardless that it is during a thunderstorm/abandoned building/zombie attack)?
The ending left even more to be desired. I think it is intended to set up the next installment of the series, but the way the main character "found" other survivors was just a smidge beyond believable (another installment of wonder-cat adventures here). And I really hope that the "love interest" hinted at in the next book is not the same one hinted at in this one because I am really tired of male authors assuming that 17 year old girls would be as interested in 30 year old men as these men are in teenage girls.
It isn't overly gory, there is no sex, and I don't recall any excessive swearing. The narration is good and I think the translation to English was accurate enough. Overall it is a reasonable/average entry in the zombie genre. I won't, however, be reading the next in the series since the best part of this book was how the virus/information spread, and how the world initially dealt with this spread.
38 of 40 people found this review helpful
Most zombie apocalypse stories I've read were set in the USA. Apocalypse Z takes place in Galicia, a rainy region in Northwestern Spain best known for the historic area of Santiago de Compostela. It's a refreshing change that makes for an exciting zombie yarn.
A widowed lawyer and his cat, Lucullus, watch nervously as things go bad in Russia, then the EU, then everywhere. The lawyer blogs his struggles at first, and then is forced to change to paper when the Internet finally dies. He and Lucullus leave home and bravely traverse Galicia, taking out "those THINGS," as he calls them, searching desperately for any kind of safety.
All the regular zombie tropes are present here, but the story is made exciting by the fact that our hero is just some guy--sometimes brave, other times terrified, but able to use the knowledge he has to get by and survive. If you're at all familiar with Spanish culture, another dimension is added: the lawyer is a definite Spanish "type," so the story becomes more of a question of what would this average guy, the guy you see every morning on the train going into the city, what would he do if there were an apocalypse?
Some sections of the story didn't go fast enough for me--our hero was a little waffly at times, agonizing too much over decisions. But he is a lawyer, so maybe the overanalysis is a kind of professional hangover from normal times. Mostly, I was hooked--I had to find out what was going to happen next. And as an animal lover, not listening all the way through wasn't an option: would Lucullus make it? There was no way I could skip the answer to that question!
I can't say enough about the narration, beautifully done by Nick Podehl who did such a fantastic job on The Name of the Wind and The Wise Man's Fear by Patrick Rothfuss. Podehl makes the fear, disgust, and sadness really come through. His Spanish pronunciation is pretty good, too.
If you're looking for a zombie story that's a little different, this one is a great choice: a little less John Wayne and a lot more guy-next-door, Apocalypse Z will keep you listening through to the end. I can't wait for the next volume in this saga!
21 of 23 people found this review helpful
A very enjoyable story with lots of interesting elements and plenty of suspense though it has IMO an overly dramatic and at times odd narration. In terms of the writing there are lots of obvious things which could have been corrected with a decent Editor - silly stuff like "the corridor was pitch black" followed by a detailed description of the corridor, "I was paralyzed with fear" then immediately "strangely calm", "I had grown used to the hideous sights" though "bile rose in my throat and I wanted to throw up", he realizes that he needs to be quiet so as not to attract attention yet shouts with joy, fires automatic weapons and kicks steel doors multiple times with gay abandon - these things may have sounded OK with a different narrator. Because the main character apparently has the learning curve of a plank you kind of want him to die but that still didn't stop me enjoying this listen!
4 of 4 people found this review helpful
I could not finish listening to this. If a teenager had the determination to write a sci-fi/horror novel, this is what they would come up with. This book takes suspension of disbelief to a whole new level. Not only is the main premise ridiculous, but the details: transformers blow up because the electricity supply has failed, his freezer defrosts almost instantly, he listens to the police on short-wave radio, his car engine fails catastrophically because he drives along a bumpy road....it's just ridiculous. To cap it all, the narrator has a whiny American voice and I lost count of the number of times he said: 'life is a bitch'. Sorry, puerile rubbish.
7 of 8 people found this review helpful