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ajkuhn

Words, Worlds, Whorls

A place where I write reviews and keep track of what I want to read or have already read.

World War Z: An Oral History of the Zombie War

World War Z: An Oral History of the Zombie War - This book was torture for me. I was so excited to read it because how does one render an "oral history" in text format? I guess I was thinking something along the lines of a transcript of a Blair Witch-esque horror film. That is pretty much the last thing this book is. A guy goes around interviewing survivors of the Zombie War....What?Right away I am having problems. First of all, we know humanity survives! That immediately takes away any sort of suspense! Second of all, we don't stay with a character for more than 4-5 pages. For someone who enjoys character development and interaction more than anything (like me), this is the worst thing to read. Plus, 90% of the characters sounded too much alike. Some curse, some don't. Some are arrogant, some aren't. Those are pretty much the only distinctions. A few stood starkly out, like the feral girl or the dog handler, but seriously how many times did someone utter a variation of "is this too technical for you?" Enough times that it caught my attention, that's for sure.Then there are the problems inherent when you create a book around something with so much background. When Justin Cronin wrote a book about vampires, he half-ironically had his characters watching Dracula for entertainment. Except then the main character goes "wait a minute..." realizing that the vampires in "real life" act so much like these mythological, sensationalized creatures. By the halfway point of World War Z, I had no idea how the previous zombie canon is supposed to be dealt with when considering this book. Are zombies something they saw films about? If not, where did the term zombie come from? Does anyone know the original lore about zombies from Africa/voodoo? This coupled with the fact that reading about these slow-moving, cannibalistic "horrors" made them more farcical than terrifying really soured my experience. People describe their extreme fright at the sound of the zombies' moans, but I could only laugh because I could not take them seriously as nightmare creatures.All I can say is I know I have a problem with a book when I can read for an hour and have only gotten through 15 pages. I think it's a great read for people who are really into zombie flicks - I, personally, am not one of those people. Kudos to the author for such an innovative narrative technique and the movie adaptation. Nevertheless, if this book hadn't been for my bookclub, I probably would have abandoned it and read something I enjoyed a bit more.