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.