Saturday, 22 February 2014

Review: I, Zombie, by Jo Michaels

I, Zombie is a bit unusual, for me. It is, as the title suggests, about zombies and is aimed at a young adult audience.

The story is split into 26 (or so, I forget if the author managed to find a Q chapter heading) chapters based on the alphabet. It begins with a scene from halfway through the story, which paints the main character as a zombie. After this we shift back to the beginning and go through the plot in chronological order.

This approach works very well. It took me a short time to work out that the protagonist was actually a zombie, and having the story told from the perspective of the undead was a nice change of pace. Moving from that back to when she was a healthy human also works well, as we see her descend into decay and the impact of zombiefication on her friends, family and self.

The writing style’s nice and easy to read. The tone generally is relatively light. There are moments of slightly grim physical descriptions as bodies fester away, but nothing too bad. I must admit that at times I would’ve preferred a grimmer approach. This isn’t a criticism of the book, as it’s clearly written for and labelled as young adult, but my own preference is for a darker slant.

One aspect I wasn’t too fond of was the main character’s special ability. I feel that would’ve made more sense just as an unusual development of the disease. The world generally is painted realistically, so having something supernatural before the zombies arise felt a shade off.

Going by the Amazon approximation of pages, it’s a little bit shorter than Journey to Altmortis (95,000 words), but it felt shorter, in a good way. Whenever I sat down to read it I’d take a fair chunk out of it, and it didn’t take me long at all from start to finish.

So, if you like zombies and/or young adult books I would recommend I, Zombie.


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