The Zombies: Volume One by Macaulay C. Hunter is another zombie novel that takes the perspective of an unusual demographic — teenagers.
“They were six average teenagers . . . until Sombra C.
Schools are closed. Thousands of sick people are locked in confinement points to die. Vigilante soldiers are pacing the streets. A mutation of a common cold virus has resulted in the deadly Sombra C illness, which is spreading through the world like wildfire. Highly contagious, it transforms its victims in the weeks before death into violent, zombie-like creatures.
Zaley Mattazollo and her friends are thrilled when the anti-viral medication Zyllevir is proven to freeze the infection in its tracks. Finally their lives can go back to normal . . . except they don’t. Riots and bombings and assassinations, zombies and Shepherd soldiers running loose: the civil unrest stirred up by Sombra C unravels their world more and more by the day. And then an attack upon their holiday party changes their lives forever.”
I’m giving this novel bonus points on originality for the same reason that I gave Kellie’s Diary bonus points for originality – they look at a zombie infestation from the perspective of people who aren’t usually the focus of zombie media. Focusing on adolescents automatically earned this book a few extra points. I also really liked the fact that Sombra C is presented as the third mutation of a virus rather than having it simply appear out of thin air or be the product of a military project that was suddenly introduced in its most deadly form.
This book has a very unique young adult genre feel. There’s a nice mix of character based drama and plot centered around the teenage characters, but then there is also the overarching plot centered around the expansion of the zombie infection Sambra C and the governments’ failed attempts to contain it. Some of the declarations that quarantines/detainment of those who are infected is a human rights violation actually struck home with some of the recent Ebola debates.
Writing Style 5/5 & Writing Flow 5/5
Although the point of view does shift between six characters, the fact that it shifts from chapter to chapter keeps the book flowing smoothly. It helps, also that the characters all know one another and are related, so they frequently introduce and address one another prior to the chapter that is presented from their point of view. I liked that the narrator’s voice stayed very consistent from character to character. There was a distinct difference between Zaley (a female senior in high school) and each of her friends, which made the writing believable and cohesive.
Character & Scene Description 5/5
Each character and the significant players in their lives (be that family, significant others, etc) each got a fair amount of description. It was possible to get a thorough idea of what each character was like without having to go through the boring ‘Joe has brown hair and blue eyes and lives in a two story house with his mom and grandpa’ style description because they all knew one another. Each chapter offered different pieces of descriptive details about the narrating character, but also about each of their friends who would later get their own parts of the story to tell. Each character was able to grow and develop as the reader experienced each differing perspective.
Overall Rating: 5/5
I really enjoyed this book! I’m a big fan of young adult books in general, and I am glad that there are additional books in this series! The portrayal of the zombie outbreak as a multi-phase mutation of an illness is one of my favorite approaches to the zombie genre and I really liked the way that Hunter was able to transition between the different characters. I definitely would suggest that you read this book! It’s free for Kindle Unlimited subscribers.