Tom has to go to zombie territory, the plague states, with his brother for the first of what are likely to be many trips to come. He’s looking for his sister, a child, a zombie, lost in the outbreak.
Of course his brother, like so many others, is really blasé about the zombies now. There’s no reason to be afraid, he was assured, certainly not reason to carry a weapon.
Then there’s the zombie escape. Tom flees for his life, relying on his father’s connections to rescue him – and a handful of grizzled veteran zombie hunters to keep him and his fellow novices alive.
I liked it, but where’s the rest of it?
That’s kind of how I felt after reading this book. I liked the story, I liked the characters, I liked the world setting. But I think more could have been done with just about every aspect of it. It had a huge amount of potential, some excellent frame work and raised some really impressive concepts and issues and didn’t follow through
The protagonist, Tom, has some major baggage – he was there during the outbreak, he saw his sister turned into a zombie and he blames himself, despite being a child when it happened. Not only does he blame himself but so does his family and a number of other people who have completely forgotten what it was like during the outbreak. Because zombies have been rendered somewhat harmless, a lot of people have no concept of how dangerous they are – and that same attitude means that people scorn Tom for not having the knowledge and skills then that professional hunters have now
This is a really interesting point that is somewhat reinforced by the group travelling through the zombie wilderness, with the contrast between the tourists and the experienced hunters. The tourists are inept, helpless, ignorant and argumentative – not in a comic or over the top way, but in a very human, realistic way; because scared, angry, confused people are some of the most annoying creatures on the planet. They contrast perfectly with the ruthless, very prepared and very skilled hunters and it not only shows how dangerous zombie hunting is, but also how unreasonable the accusations Tom faced were.
And so much more could have been made from that! And his fraught relationship with his dad and his brother! And the way he treats the Hunters compared to the other tourists.
Tom’s mission in the zombie-lands is to find his zombie sister – and, again, so much more could be made of that. His guilt and grief, the question of what to do when they find her, the impossibility of the task – it’s all touched on, but it’s just touched on.