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World War Z > Finished the Book

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message 1: by Doug (new)

Doug (dougfromva) | 25 comments POSSIBLE MINOR SPOILERS

Overall I enjoyed the book. I don't know that I will read it again, but I will probably lend it out to friends pretty often. I really liked the distance the book brought because horror scares the crap outta me. I don't enjoy it, but lately I've been getting into the whole zombie genre thing with Pride and Prejudice and Zombies and Dawn of the Dreadfuls, and of course Zombieland.

Even though it was fictional, I found the stories of humans fighting against the odds to be uplifting. I read one review that said there wasn't enough suspense. I thought there was plenty because other than the current narrator, you didn't know who else was going to die. I thought Brooks did a good job of keeping me enthralled, though I was able to put it down and finish it in two days instead of one.

I really enjoyed the story about the Otaku and the blind man and how they wove together at the end. I also enjoyed how he threw in "facts" like what Decimation was, to lend an air of verisimilitude to the stories. I did look up decimation and the story he told was true. I wondered about many of the others.

Not one of my favorites, but it was nice to expand my horizons. Overall it felt much more real than I was expecting. The zombies seemed much less campy than I was expecting.


message 2: by Sean (new)

Sean | 53 comments I also enjoyed the book. My only complaint was the artwork inside, which I thought took me out of the book--it looked a little cheap and comic booky, and it felt unnecessary.

Still, I think I've had enough of zombie stories for awhile. Then again, I'll take them over glittering vampires.


message 3: by Brad T. (new)

Brad T. | 217 comments I'd read this book about a year ago but because it was the book of the month I read it again. I am kind of glad I did. This was the first zombie book i had ever read in a string of a lot of them. This brought me back to why I read a whole bunch of them.

For a first zombie book I thought this was a great first. I loved the varied stories that were more about the people than they were about the zombies. The author did a great job of story telling.

Some of you may call me out on this, but the only negative thing I have to say about this book is that it was so modeled after a war story that the zombie element almost became unimportant. It could have been a world war 3 story without zombies. I know that's the point of the book, but I just didnt feel the fear element in this story like i have with other zombie stories. By the midpoint of the book, the zombies seemed more of a bother than a threat.


message 4: by Stan (new)

Stan Slaughter | 359 comments I did enjoy the book - but I also thought it had a war story feel.

I was reminded of the "in the field" reporting during Vietnam with the reporters interviewing returning soldiers.


message 5: by Davewolff (new)

Davewolff | 2 comments I "read" the audiobook version and I have to say that the performances really made the book for me. Most of them were really well done and kept me on the edge of my seat!


message 6: by Mnchur (last edited Jun 16, 2010 07:08PM) (new)

Mnchur | 24 comments Of the zombie books I have read I would put this on the top.

The portrayal of the people heading north to escape the zombies was very realistic. Thousand upon thousands of people migrating north on the false hope that they would escape the worst of it.

The way the author described the "clean up effort" is also very well done. The inch by inch crawl through every part of the country really would be the only way to reclaim the lost lands over the mountains.

over all this was a very well executed book.


message 7: by Taueret (new)

Taueret | 58 comments I read somewhere, when this was published that Brooks was inspired by Studs Terkel's oral histories, so the reminiscent feel of war reporting is probably successful.


message 8: by Philip (new)

Philip (heard03) | 381 comments It was a good read, the doc style storytelling made it feel realistic and gritty. Some good deadpan humor, also- not cheesy. I liked the military references being accurate, it seemed well researched. I listened to the abridged audio version since there apparently is no unabridged version. Maybe someday I'll check it out unabridged and see what all I missed.


message 9: by Kentos (new)

Kentos | 4 comments I found myself entertained by more of the stories that occurred earlier in the outbreak when less was known about the threat and suspense and some terror could be generated. Otherwise, I thought it was a little dull; although the characters were diverse, their voices were not for the most part. I was very thankful for the search function in the Kindle to be able to identify the characters in the Goodbyes section but this might have more to do with my focus and attention than the writing. Clearly, alot of thought and research went into this work but it seemed better planned than executed.


message 10: by Aeryn98 (new)

Aeryn98 | 147 comments I was a little wary of reading this book. Actually I had it on my wishlist forever, since someone recommended it. But I kept passing it by. This club choice gave me the push to read it.
I was pleasantly surprised. Instead of being overwhelmed by hordes of zombies, they actually seemed to take second place to commentary on our society and the human psyche.
I'm not saying the zombies weren't scary. Underwater zombies creeped me out the most. I got really tense when the scuba diver was relating his story. And I'm still wondering where North Korea went (but that was probably because I was reading that part after the North Korea v. Brazil game).

Now maybe I'll try The Blade Itself. I had a hard time reading it the last time I picked it up, but I'll give it a second try.


message 11: by Jlawrence, S&L Forum Mod (new)

Jlawrence | 866 comments Mod
Tauret, Brooks names Studs Terkel's work as one of the inspirations for the book in the Acknowledgements at the end, and I agree Brooks did a great job of making a potentially very goofy subject seem very real through the interview/oral documentary style combined with what seems like tons of research.

I only had two complaints. Like Kentos, I found that, despite the impressive breadth of different characters' situations, the voices of the characters were often too similar. Strangely, when I mentioned I was reading and enjoying WWZ to a co-worker, he said he couldn't make it past chapter 5 or so, because he felt Brooks was terrible at rendering dialect and tried it far too often. I recall maybe a few clunky instances of this, with one of the French characters, maybe, but certainly not an overwhelming amount (Brooks seemed to toss foreign words into speech much more than he attempted actual dialect). With some notable exceptions, the voices usually seemed to kind of approach the same well-spoken tone.

Also similar to what Kentos and Brad said, I felt like the turning point of the war in humanity's favor came too early in the book. We already know humanity won from the get-go, but the actual tension of figuring out how to turn the tide could have been stretched out longer - the Great Panic portion of the book ended up being the most engrossing in terms of suspense because of this.

But that would matter more if the plot of the zombie war was the most important element, but Brooks instead makes social and psychological commentary the main focus, and by combining that with solid story-telling by vignettes, I feel he succeeded.


message 12: by Stan (new)

Stan Slaughter | 359 comments Aeryn98 wrote: "...I found that, despite the impressive breadth of different characters' situations, the voices of the characters were often too similar..."

I expect that all the voices of the survivors of *any* large catastrophe would often tend to be similar.


message 13: by Matty Van (new)

Matty Van (MattyVan) | 55 comments I thought it was good not great, the "oral history" route of story telling was a nice change of pace but I think it would have been a more gripping story if it had 1-3 sets of main characters that it followed on there journey... but like I said I still liked it.


message 14: by Missy (last edited Jun 27, 2010 05:56PM) (new)

Missy (booksofMissy) | 14 comments Hurray for a good Zombie book!

I was nervous about the "yet another zombie book" possibility of this pick. Never mind my fears, this is a cool, fun, and edgy book.

World War Z: An Oral History of the Zombie War is a better post apocalyptic book than Lucifer's Hammer. It is a better pov dialog book than I have read since reading Mark Twain.
It really dose have the suspense of The Hot Zone: A Terrifying True Story.

I am so grateful to Sword and Laser for the pick as I would never have chosen this one on my own.

View all my reviews >>


message 15: by Frank (new)

Frank Paulino (iyokus) | 1 comments As I finished reading this book all I kept thinking was what an awesome mini-series this book could make.

Maybe it was because I was watching Band of Brothers but I kept imagining someone making a series like that but for this book. With survivor accounts at the start of the episode and such, and then each episode focusing on the survival of one of the characters.

It doesn't have to be an episode for every character but a lot of them would make great stories to tell, like the one about the pilot that fell in that Zombie infested swamp and had to run out of there even with a broken ankle. I just kept visualizing that scenario with a good treatment like Band of Brothers and it just blew my mind.


message 16: by Jay (last edited Jun 28, 2010 08:35AM) (new)

Jay Crossler (jaycrossler) | 26 comments I pushed hard to finish the book this weekend... Not because I enjoyed it, but more because it was so painful. I did like the writing and storytelling greatly, and appreciate many of the questions raised. I was just crying like a baby when I read the chapter about the dogs and petstore. So, I wanted to push through to get onto something frivolous and shiny.

One last bought - this was some excellent military writing. Lots of knowledge of doctrine and the real issues the military faces.


message 17: by Veronica, Supreme Sword (new)

Veronica Belmont (veronicabelmont) | 1229 comments Mod
Frank wrote: "It doesn't have to be an episode for every character but a lot of them would make great stories to tell, like the one about the pilot that fell in that Zombie infested swamp and had to run out of there even with a broken ankle. I just kept visualizing that scenario with a good treatment like Band of Brothers and it just blew my mind."

That one kind of messed me up. Really intense! It would make a great miniseries, I agree.


message 18: by Sean (new)

Sean O'Hara (SeanOHara) | 2073 comments The best way to do a film adaptation would be in the style of a Ken Burns documentary.


message 19: by Contrast (new)

Contrast | 6 comments I loved the book! Two five star books in a row for S+L!

The documentary style kept the pace up, allowed you to see the events from many viewpoints, and also took some of the fear out of it (thankfully).

I enjoyed that it felt like "real world" reactions to zombies, not campy "I'll go in that house alone and not call for help first".

The only part that frustrated me was that zombies can live at the bottom of the ocean?! Even zombies must obey physics!


message 20: by Jeffrey (new)

Jeffrey J | 32 comments Jlawrence wrote: "Like Kentos, I found that, despite the impressive breadth of different characters' situations, the voices of the characters were often too similar"

Now that you mention it I can see where this may have been a problem but since I listened to the audio version the narrators really helped. While listening it felt very different, obviously being different people speaking helps but when you are reading your imagination has to fill in the accents. I guess there was an advantage I had not thought about.

Some people have mentioned Pride Prejudiced and Zombies and as that is the only other zombie book I have "read" (again audio version) I really got annoyed by the constant reiteration of the martial arts training. This may have been a flaw because of it being narrated and I would enjoy it more if I read it.

Overall I really enjoyed the book!


message 21: by Thomas (new)

Thomas Masterson (zaphod717) | 30 comments Sean wrote: "The best way to do a film adaptation would be in the style of a Ken Burns documentary."

Yes!!


message 22: by Jay (new)

Jay Crossler (jaycrossler) | 26 comments Veronica wrote: "That one kind of messed me up. Really intense! It would make a great miniseries, I agree. "

My sister's a C-130 pilot in the Air Force, and has been through a lot of the same schools (sans Zach, of course). She's also a bit funny in the head (like all military pilots). It was pretty emotional for me to have read that, as I kept envisioning the situation happening to her -- and the big brotherly protective nerve was feeling kinda raw.


message 23: by Curt (new)

Curt Taylor (meegeek) | 107 comments I did not read this book with you all, as I had read it last year. I got my daughters to read it recently though. They both enjoyed it immensely. One of them told me that she actually threw the book across the room, while reading in bed late at night, she was so freaked out. That says something for a book, me thinks. May have to read again, if I can find it. The style of the book is really genius, given the subject. Would love to see Brooks interviewed by our favorite S&L podcasters!!


message 24: by John (new)

John | 43 comments I "read" the audiobook. Having different actors portray the individuals worked great. It made each story feel unique and more personal. To me that helped bridge the distance imposed by the documentary format. It also added to the richness and depth of an obviously well thought out and researched book. Plus it was a whole lot of fun trying to guess who was reading each part. Gotta say I geeked out a bit when I recognized Mark Hamill's voice.

I didn't realize the audio version was abridged until the podcast. Any idea what we missed from the dead tree version?


message 25: by Matty Van (new)

Matty Van (MattyVan) | 55 comments No idea besides risk of a paper cut


message 26: by Phelan (new)

Phelan Vendeville (pheven) | 3 comments Davewolff wrote: "I "read" the audiobook version and I have to say that the performances really made the book for me. Most of them were really well done and kept me on the edge of my seat!"

I did the same thing and definitely have to agree with you. Henry Rollins was great, and I really liked the guy who did the battle of yonkers narration too.


message 27: by Mpmccorm (new)

Mpmccorm | 1 comments I have to give it credit this is one of the few books I can think of that was able to both horrify and completely pull me in at the same time. I really enjoyed the style of the book, having the story told through interviews with people who lived through the crisis was a brilliant idea, but also leads to my biggest complaint about the book. The book is told through so many "voices" (many of which are very similar) that by the end of the book when they come back for their various "good-byes" you have to struggle to remember who some of these characters are and what their specific story was. When it comes back to the russian soldier towards the end it feels very random and I had a hard time remembering who she was. I would have much rather seen less interviews and have gone back to more of these characters and have their stories told in more detail, The crashed pilot and the dog trainers, the otaku, and the canadian soldier at the beginning of the book come to mind. Despite this compliant I really enjoyed this book. It was a nice new take on a genre that very easily repeats itself.


message 28: by Joseph (new)

Joseph Mitchell | 3 comments I really loved this book, and also enjoyed the audiobook version. I can't wait to see the movie, when they finally get around to making it.


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Books mentioned in this topic

Pride and Prejudice and Zombies (other topics)
Dawn of the Dreadfuls (other topics)