Bullying, Prejudice, and Zombies REVIEWING Zom-B

Welcome to The Real World According To Sam! Today we are talking about another YA horror book to add on to the growing list of Halloween-esque reads for this month. I've been scoping out my collection and my local library's for the creepy, the dark, the horrific, and without reading ahead of time to make the selections, these are what I have picked. Let's explore another book full of zombies and see if it provides enough creep factor.  


Author: Darren Shan
Genre: YA Horror
Year: 2012



When news reports start appearing of a zombie outbreak in Ireland, B's racist father thinks it's a joke -- but even if it isn't, he figures, it's ok to lose a few Irish.

B doesn't fully buy into Dad's racism, but figures it's easier to go along with it than to risk the fights and abuse that will surely follow sticking up for Muslims, blacks, or immigrants. And when dodging his fists doesn't work, B doesn't hesitate to take the piss out of kids at school with a few slaps or cruel remarks. 

That is, until zombies attack the school. B is forced on a mad dash through the serpentine corridors of high school, making allegiances with anyone with enough gall to fight off their pursuers.


Darren Shan is best known for writing the Cirque du Freak series. I remember those being very popular when I was in middle and high school. I did read the first book in the series, but don't remember it very well. I know I didn't hate it though. So when I saw that the library had this book by the same author, I thought I would give it a try for Halloween. 

Zom-B is the story of a character that goes predominantly by B. B, lives in England and has an abusive, racist father. The majority of the story follows B interacting with friends, classmates, and trying to navigate the two environments B is living in. In one, B's father is abusive towards B's mother, is against Muslims and people who aren't Caucasian, and takes B to white supremacy meetings. In the other, B is trying to be a good person who stands up for what is right. Ultimately, B is a character who is having a hard time figuring out what line to be on. 

This book provides a lot of ugliness and uncomfortable situations to purposely make readers confront them. It makes this more inviting by throwing in the issue of zombies taking over, creeping ever closer to the protagonist. The protagonist is very rough around the edges and while you want them to choose good, you can see that very often they run the risk of turning into the exact thing they don't want to. They teeter on being a horrible person, being an actual bad person, and hoping they can be better. It is a constant internal struggle and it provides a decently interesting view of how some ideologies can spread so vigorously, despite personal effort and outlook. 

However, this book is so short, that it feels over before anything has really fully happened. There are some high intensity moments, a lot of ugly, and then we get a strange ending with a twist, that makes the story turn into something it didn't seem to be at the start. I know I am being a bit vague, but I don't really want to give anything away. This book is just so short and twists so quickly, that it makes you have to do a double take and wonder how you got to that point. I don't think the twist and the events were elaborated on too well. This feels largely like an outline of the beginning of a longer series. You know there will be another book by the end, but it kind of feels like you were rushed to that point. 

Generally, I found this book really interesting, but also lacking in depth and description overall. I felt rushed, but I can see the importance of the main points being made. I want to see what happens next, but I won't be too crushed if I don't get the chance to. All in all, I liked it enough for a super fast read with some creepy elements (zombies), but I wouldn't recommend it very highly compared to other books I have read that have more substance and weight to them. I give Zom-B a Lone Star rating of ✯✯. It is somewhat enjoyable and opens the door for a longer, interesting story, but it ultimately feels lightweight in length and writing compared to what it is aiming to do with its themes. The scariest thing in this book is the racist path that the protagonist seems to be going down, and not so much the zombie element that drives the plot. Scary? Yes. Scary enough for this month? Not fully with this length and execution.

This concludes another review here at The Real World According To Sam, where I bring the books straight to your screen and even provide my own two cents about them. See you tomorrow!