This is by no means the strongest volume in the series (nor my favourite) -- think The Hobbit in comparison to the rest of The Lord of the Rings -- buThis is by no means the strongest volume in the series (nor my favourite) -- think The Hobbit in comparison to the rest of The Lord of the Rings -- but I gave it five stars anyway because it is the book that launched Roland on his unforgettable, addictive quest. It's a teaser, but absolutely integral to understanding everything that comes after. Don't miss that experience.
And my absolute favourite opening line (say it with me Constant Readers): The man in black fled across the desert, and the gunslinger followed. ...more
3.5 stars I worried about starting this one. It's tough for a book with so much hype surrounding it to meet reader expectations, but it's doing that a3.5 stars I worried about starting this one. It's tough for a book with so much hype surrounding it to meet reader expectations, but it's doing that and more so far. Sigler's writing style is lean and mean. Several scenes rank among the grossest I've ever read, to the point where I'm laughing and cringing at the same time. Funny and scary, my favorite combination.
This book is 90% plot-driven. It moves from one action sequence to the next, and I usually tire of that type of story-telling pretty quickly. But not so with Sigler. What a ride. His powers of description are enormous. If Hollywood doesn't option this for a movie I'll be gob-smacked. So this book won't change your life or anything, but it's a fun, high-octane read, and there's nothing wrong with that.
I can see why this book remains one of the most instantly recognized zombie novels of all time (and continues to be a fan favorite and a darling among I can see why this book remains one of the most instantly recognized zombie novels of all time (and continues to be a fan favorite and a darling among "the critics"). It's cool, it's action packed, it's epic and amongst a sub-genre that is in desperate need of something "fresh", World War Z delivers a gut punch to the solar plexus fueled by a tantalizingly original approach.
Most zombie tales (either literary or cinematic) are told using a very small canvas from the narrowest point of view of a handful of survivors. It's shockingly intimate, immediate, but limited in scope. When there is a zombie outbreak in the heartland of America or in the City of Angels, we never know how the rest of the world is faring. Is it only happening here? Is it happening everywhere?
Max Brooks takes a truly global approach to the zombie apocalypse. He assumes that if there is a zombie outbreak, it's going to spread fast and become a global pandemic. His cast of characters are not a terrified group holed up in the Mall of America -- they are citizens of the world -- Greenland, China, Israel, India, Canada, Germany...never has the zombie apocalypse had such an international complexion.
The other aspect that gives this novel its unique voice are the voices, of which there are many. The great zombie war is over and now the veterans of this war -- the ultimate survivors -- are left to describe how the war was won on all fronts over all parts of the globe. How were the zombies driven into submission? How were their numbers decimated so that humankind could avoid extinction? Brooks doesn't shy away from the minutiae of military tactics and strategy, foreign dossiers, mass exoduses, government corruption, cannibalism ... this is probably as realistic a portrait of the rise of zombies and their eventual defeat as you could ask for.
And it's awesome, so why not 5 stars? While I am humbled by the scope and sprawling vastness Brooks uses here, the nuts and bolts technical aspects of the novel continued to hold me at arm's length from the action. This is an oral history after all -- everything has already happened, so we get the action in the past tense as remembrances. We know how this ends so I felt there was a tension and urgency lacking in the overall experience. I missed the "in the moment happening right now" voice. While the details held me in awe, I didn't feel especially frightened or held in the grip of a terror unfolding -- this was terror that had already unfolded. It was more a clinical experience than an emotional one.
Having said that, the audiobook is WONDERFUL and added a dramatic effect that I think would be sorely lacking by just reading the text alone. It was fun to hear the familiar voices of Alan Alda, Henry Rollins, John Turturro and Rob and Carl Reiner. Mark Hamill definitely has the most memorable part, but he does not sound like Luke Skywalker (thank goodness!). He was great actually. I never would have guessed it was him.
Anyways, despite my inability to give this book five stars, it does come with a huge recommendation. What Brooks does with this is an awesome achievement, and in the zombie genre, it's a game changer. There really is nothing else out there quite like it!
This book started out brilliantly with a wonderfully unique premise. The writing is e-x-c-e-l-l-e-n-t, but somehow the story loses its momentum at theThis book started out brilliantly with a wonderfully unique premise. The writing is e-x-c-e-l-l-e-n-t, but somehow the story loses its momentum at the end and speaking of endings, I found this one to be very unsatisfying. However, I enjoyed this book enough to try something else by Kevin Brockmeier....more