Hugh Howey
Hugh Howey

Bestselling author of Wool and other books. Currently sailing around the world.

RrustyDawg’s I, ZOMBIE Review

A RrustyDawg review of “I, Zombie” (guaranteed spoiler-free!)

A quick note of explanation:  As some of you are aware, I was the winner of Hugh’s charity auction on ebay.  While the featured attraction for that auction was a coveted proof set of the upcoming UK release of “Wool,” there was also a proof copy of “I, Zombie” included.  Being ever efficient, Hugh boxed everything up and mailed it out the same day that the auction ended and it arrived on my doorstep this past Monday.  Since Hugh gifted me with this great prize, I felt a small way of saying thanks would be to offer up my review of this book.  So here we go:

First off – I am obviously a huge HH fan and since you are too, I aim to provide you with meaningful, spoiler-free information to aide you in deciding if this book might be one for you to read or avoid.

I could take the funny and easy way out and simply say, “There is no hope.”   Hugh put it right there on the cover.  Heck, Hugh was even so generous as to post a couple of sample chapters on his website.  NO HOPE!  I had read the teaser chapters myself, but I was honestly not ready for the book that I just read.

What do I mean by that?  Well, I was prepared to read a book written from the point-of-view of the zombies as they eat their way through the brains and bowels of the living.  I was prepared to be sickened (thrilled) by graphic depictions of human destruction.  I was prepared for mayhem!   And rest assured, I got plenty of all of the above.  So what wasn’t I ready for?  I wasn’t prepared to read a zombie book that isn’t really about zombies.

What?  Um…Rrusty.  The title of the book is “I, Zombie” and you just said it’s NOT about zombies?!?

You read that correctly. In another week, some of you will probably take issue with me and argue that I am a complete idiot (get in line behind my wife and three kids), but this is my review and I say this is not a zombie book.  It is a book in which all of the characters happen to be zombies.

(One one thousand, two one thousand, three one thousand)

Now that I’ve given you enough time to re-read that last sentence and become completely confused, let me clear up what “I, Zombie” is.  You know that little demon in the back of your mind that you won’t even admit lurks in your secret inner thoughts?  He’s real, he’s not nice and Hugh is about to hand him a six pack of Red Bull and let him bore some holes through the “prim and proper” parts of your psyche! This is a book about humanity at its very core.  People who have had every shred of their personal facade stripped away and are left staring face-to-face with themselves.  That my friend is WAY scarier than zombies!  The whole experience is one I thoroughly enjoyed in a sick, twisted, and thoughtful sort of way.

“I, Zombie” is very unlike any other book I’ve read from Hugh.  I would compare the style of this book to an anthology or a collection of short stories in that it is not a flowing series of events, but rather is a group of individual stories that are not tightly interrelated.  The characters are in the same city and suffering the same affliction, but otherwise each one stands apart.   I think most Hugh Howey fans will like this book, but if you cannot find satisfaction from stories without a single shred of a hope then I suspect you will be disappointed in this one.

Also, this book does have very graphic depictions of human carnage.  No avoiding that when zombies are involved.  This book doesn’t just hint at the details…it wallows in them!  Horror fans will rejoice, but even though I am a huge horror fan, there is one particular scene in this book that even made me cringe (Yep Hugh…in the office building…you’re gonna burn in hell for that one).  If you really dislike tales containing graphic violence, I don’t think your love of everything Hugh Howey will be strong enough to get you through his masterfully descriptive language.

One final thought – don’t avoid reading “I, Zombie” because you aren’t into horror books.  Avoid reading “I, Zombie” because this is a thought-provoking book…and some of those thoughts may be things you buried a long time ago and never wanted them to return!  You have been warned.

And if you still want the book, you can pre-order it now! (Ed.)

19 replies to “RrustyDawg’s I, ZOMBIE Review”

That’s kinda what I figured, and it sounds amazing, Hugh. That’s mighty high praise. Very few books can do that to a person.

I’m Ruby, and I approve this message. ;-)

Seriously, you nailed it perfectly without giving anything specific away, you old RrustyDawg, you!

People who want brilliant writing about what it means to be human will love it despite the fact that the lead characters happen to have intestines stuck between their teeth. And the people who love horror and gore will love the intestines and may be pleasantly surprised by the complexity and nuance of the story to be told.

Nah….it’ll be huge Hugh! Major success. I’m excited YOU even though I don’t like blood and guts.

Yuck! Hugh warned me (I’m weak) not to read it and I think I’ll wait for his love story and more Wool. I did listen when he read a few chapters and I must say I am very tempted.

Have at it guys…….

I probably won’t be able to stand all the commotion after it releases and buy it anyway.

Rrusty…excellent review! :-)

Thanks for posting this to the front page, Hugh! And thanks everyone for the compliments. I have started an “I, Zombie” reviews thread over in the forum and encourage everyone who reads the book in the coming couple of weeks to add their reviews – good or bad – to the thread.

“You know that little demon in the back of your mind that you won’t even admit lurks in your secret inner thoughts? He’s real, he’s not nice and Hugh is about to hand him a six pack of Red Bull and let him bore some holes through the “prim and proper” parts of your psyche!”

I am very afraid!!!!! Excellent, Excellent review!

Thanks, Charla. That was my favorite line of the review. I chuckled to myself when I read what I wrote.

RrustyDawg,

You are my very favorite reviewer now. Charla quoted the best, but the whole review was charming.

I’m scared to read the book because I’m a punk, but I must because it’s a Howey and this is my life now. He writes and I must read. I’m resigned to my my fate.
I, HOWEYFAN.

Rrusty, I believe that is the finest review I’ve ever read. I tend to be a lurker, but I have to compliment you. Your writing is honest, clever, and captivating. I can’t wait for my blood spattered copy of I, Zombie to arrive :D And to read future reviews by you.

Send him more stuff for this great review ! Can’t wait to read it…Got to finish the one I’m on first.

I have to agree and disagree. This book is about zombies, but it’s about the zombie in each of us. The most horrifying aspect of zombies is that each of us has the potential to become one. What becomes more horrifying through Howey’s characterizations of zombies is the question of what parts of us might have already turned.

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