Author: M. R. Carey
Hachette UK, 14 Jan 2014 – Fiction – 416 pages
“Every morning, Melanie waits in her cell to be collected for class.
When they come for her, Sergeant Parks keeps his gun pointing at her while two of his people strap her into the wheelchair. She thinks they don’t like her. She jokes that she won’t bite. But they don’t laugh.
Melanie is a very special girl.”
Let’s face it, zombies are in right now. No, really, they are all the rage. I even find myself fantasising about how I would go about surviving a zombie apocalypse; what I would hoard, who I would align myself with, where we would secure a safe-house. Twisted I know. But The Walking Dead is one of my favourite Graphic novels and TV series. But this dark and twisted view of death and perhaps, some form of afterlife, are fitting for this book, being that it was born from a short story commission to the tune of an anthology of dark fantasy and horror with the theme of “school days”.
Aside from the overshadowing living dead and apocalyptic themes, it’s been a long time since I read a book I enjoyed as much as this, since I read a book I couldn’t put down and came home to, needing to know what happens. A book as completely engrossing as this one.
Having said that, not all that much really happens throughout the book, but that is the glory of it. There is so much attention to detail, and none of it is overbearing or too much; none of it boring or arrogant. It doesn’t drag. It’s spot on. The depth of emotions from each character, and the construction of the world around them is spectacular; and yet the language and the story are beautiful and so easy to read. This book tackles the taboo parts of a zombie apocalypse, the questions that we don’t really want to ask while these things that used to be human are stalking us, and we are driven to kill against our will. It questions morals and social structure, it sheds a new light on society and psyche, and explores a different view-point. One that is very, very interesting and perplexingly explored in this novel.
I also really love the way Carey weaves realism into his story, like the links to modern science and the structure and subsequent fallout of the military. But I don’t want to give away too much of the plot, in fact, I don’t want to give away any of it. Every page is truly full of wonderful language, engrossing little pieces of story twinning together to create the overall tapestry of the world it creates, and the wonderful innocence of Melanie. I loved this book.