Monday, March 4, 2013

Zom-B by Darren Shan (Audiobook Review)

Audiobook Reviews from Audiobook-Heaven

by Darren Shan
narrated by Emma Galvin

Series: Zom-B book 1
Copyright: 2012 Hachette Audio
Duration: 3 hours, 44 minutes unabridged
Genres: horror, zombie, middle grade
Filed in: Audiobook Reviews
Click the image to visit the publisher’s website.

PUBLISHER’S SUMMARY: 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 Micks.

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.

©2012 Darren Shan (P)2012 Hachette Audio

AUDIOBOOK REVIEW: During the last year or so, Zombie fiction has become a booming genre, as if you hadn’t already noticed that. Zombies seem to be invading our culture from every quarter: movies, literature, television, you name it. I’m not a huge fan of Zombies personally, but I do enjoy tales of the post-apocalyptic variety. Since the two commonly go hand-in-hand I thought I would really enjoy Zom-B. Unfortunately, this one didn’t really grab me.

For one thing, Zom-B is not a post-apocalyptic story as I had hoped. In fact it’s not even apocalyptic. If anything you might say it’s pre-apocalypse. The majority of the story is just background information introducing us to the main characters and giving us a feel for why they do and say the things that they do and say. I believe in strong character development; Stephen King always takes his time introducing characters and does a fine job of it, but if the character development becomes the whole story, there’s a problem. The zombies didn’t show up until the very end of the audiobook and they were not very impressive. I know this is only the first book of a series but really there just isn’t enough here to whet my appetite.

Secondly, I had a hard time getting behind main character B. B’s father is a flaming racist, hating every human being who was not born and raised in England, and he also likes to beat his wife and daughter. I suppose B’s upbringing was meant to make us sympathize with her but it didn’t work out that way. Throughout the story B insists, mostly to herself, that she is not a racist like her father but her actions betray her. She is prejudiced against other races and sometimes goes out of her way to pick fights with them, making her no better than her father. B is courageous and I like that, and she did show signs of possibly overcoming her racist tendencies during the climax of the story, but in the end I found myself not really caring if B lived or died.

The one thing Zom-B had going for it was the narration. During the last year or so I have had the great pleasure of listening to three or four Emma Galvin narrations and she is simply great. This is the first time, however, that I’ve heard her read with any kind of accent at all. In the very beginning there was a short scene with some Irish characters and her accent was very convincing. The rest of the book was done in a British accent, which was not as good, but it’s still Emma Galvin and I still enjoy listening to her. If it hadn’t been for the strong narration I probably would have given up on this audiobook halfway through.

Rate this audiobook

Ashes by Ilsa J Bick (Audiobook Review)
The Reapers Are The Angels by Alden Bell (Audiobook Review)
Pure by Julianna Baggott (Audiobook Review)

Special thanks to Hachette Audio for this review copy.
Audiobook review by Steven Brandt.
This audiobook review is based on the unabridged audiobook.
Come back soon for more audiobook reviews from Audiobook-Heaven.


joni said...

Funny, I didn't even know B was female until a late late paragraph.

You might not like Zombies, as I despise and detest them, but get used to it, Zombies are here to stay for the Feast! lol

theguildedearlobe said...

I had a lot of issues with Zom-B as well, but I thought the second book was much better.

If you want more Post Apocalyptic w/ Zombies I would try The Reapers are the Angels and Mira Grant's Newsflesh series.