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The Aussie Zombie

Zombie, post-apocalyptic and dystopian books are like shoes - you can never have enough.

Undead - Kirsty McKay The first time I saw Undead I knew I wanted to read it - set in the UK, a bunch of teenagers surviving a zombie apocalypse with some black humour thrown in? Totally my thing. Plus the cover is pretty cool and has coloured pages which I am a complete sucker for.

Undead begins with two characters, Bobby and Smitty being left on the school bus whilst the rest of the class goes into a roadside restaurant for lunch. Smitty is the bad boy of the class, and Bobby is the new girl who doesn't quite fit in after spending several years living outside of the UK.

I'm a little torn as to whether I liked the characters or found them too much of a cliche - I liked Smitty and Bobby's snarky interactions and although the characters are completely different to each other, they do find a way to work together and seeing them develop into a team was interesting. However, the cliched beautiful bimbo and ugly geek did kind of grate on me a little - having their roles reversed would probably have made the characters more appealing and been more fitting with the tone of the book.

For the first 100 pages I was having a lot of fun reading Undead - the black humour and the slightly oddball beginning to the zombie apocalype made it feel different to the usual YA zombie novel. The characters were unique and the situation was so wierd it was almost funny, but the humour and quirkiness lost its appeal after a while and I started to get bored. It did pick up again towards the end, but it made the pacing feel very uneven, and unfortunately I found it quite easy to put the book down and difficult to find the motivation to come back to.

I also felt that some parts of the plot didn't fully connect with others, particularly how and why the virus was released and although McKay does try and pick those threads up later in the book, it felt like they were made less of in order to add more quirkiness.

Of course with any zombie book there is some element of gore and horror, but it's pretty minimal in Undead - as a book for readers who don't like the intensity of most zombie books it's going to be a positive, but for me it felt like it was belittling the situation a little and then I just couldn't take it as seriously as I wanted to.

Overall, Undead started as a fun read that lost a little steam along the way. It's still a book I'd recommend to readers who don't enjoy the dark intensity of many zombie novels, but are looking for something a little more lighthearted and different.