I've never read a Darren Shan book, but everything I heard about him is positive, so as soon as I saw Zom-B, I had to buy it. A zombie book written by an author with an excellent reputation, set in the UK? Yep, I was hooked in.
Zom-B is a quick read, taking me just over two hours to get through, and definitely has a one-more-chapter feeling. There are also some awesome illustrations throughout the book, which I wasn't expecting but added an extra touch to the story.
Zom-B begins with the story of a zombie outbreak in Ireland, which is initally laughed off by B, the main character of the book, and B's friends.
B is a fantastic character with a tough background. An abusive, racist and possibly alcoholic father, a hen-pecked mother and a bunch of friends that enjoy terrorising local shop-keepers and their teachers, although there's a lot to dislike about B, I couldn't help but feeling sympathetic - Zom-B really shows just how your upbringing can shape your attitude and actions in life, and it all felt incredibly realistic.
The zombie action doesn't start until more than half-way through the book, which would normally have disappointed me, but that's not the case here - there was so much going on with B that I actually didn't mind at all, and started to suspect that maybe this was a zombie story in name only. Rest assured, there are zombies, and when they do arrive things go to shit pretty fast, and in a very gory fashion.
I love reading books set in the UK - to me the language and setting is very familiar and I love the quirks of the English, which have come through very well in Darren Shan's writing. The writing is perfect for a teenage and adult audience - it's fast, straightforward and yet incredibly entertaining.
Zom-B ends on a huge, and quite shocking, cliffhanger but as part of a 12 part series, the next book is scheduled for publication in 2013, so there's not a long wait to see just what Darren Shan can dream up next.
Read more of my reviews at The Aussie Zombie