Review of Zomblog, by TW Brown
TW Brown has created a very readible book in diary form about the first nine months of the zombie apocalypse. Our writer is Sam Todd, who is an every day guy who decides he will start a blog to document what is going on in his life and it just so happens that he starts writing it a few days before the start of a plague that sweeps the world where the dead begin rising up to destroy the living.
The pace is swift, with each day passing at a clip of about a page each. Sam goes on the run fairly early in the book and almost never stops, taking breaks along the way at different safe havens, but determined to find a place that he doesn’t feel locked in and kept from the outside world, where both the hordes of zombies and the savage living lurk around every corner.
The action is intense and you barely get the chance to catch your breath. I won’t reveal something that happens more than halfway through the book, but suffice it to say, there are some genuine surprises in store for the reader. I though the author did a nice job of switching things up on us and taking the story in a different direction. Not what I expected.
Since this is a journal entry type of story there is no dialogue and we are given a synopsis of events for each day. Some readers might consider this a weakness if they are not a fan of that type of writing but I believe the author does a good job of revealing things in a way that makes each entry compelling. Of course, the tough part is that since we are living inside the narrator’s head and they are writing these entries at the end of each day, we are often given a sentence or two at the beginning of many entries that gives us a synopsis of the day (or at least hints at one) and then gives us all the details. In other words, some of the suspense is gone because we at least have a hint at who has died or what had taken place (although I will note that the author does a good job of surprising the reader on that account as well and not revealing too much in the synopsis at the beginning of the entries for the most part). That is perhaps what makes this type of book tricky to pull off sometimes. We are not “in the moment” as it were, we are getting the blow by blow after the fact. Still, I think the author did a very good job using this writing style to its fullest potential.
Something I really liked with this book was the author’s use of geography and really mapping out a multi-state environment. The characters are constantly on the move, constantly facing new dangers, new challenges, and again, the reader never really has much of a chance to settle in or expect things to slow down. We get mountains and rivers and a lot of excellent descriptions of the northwestern environment. For someone who has never traveled in that region, the author really showcases the area.
No one is safe in this book, the body count is high, and its clear that the writer is directing both his zombie horde and the vicious survivors who our main character comes up against with merciless efficiency here.
For fans of zombie fiction this is a nice addition to your library. The pacing is good and the action is intense. I am looking forward to the sequel to find out what happens next to the narrator.