Zom-B is technically a zombie story, but the zombies don’t even show up until more than halfway through the book (excluding their appearance in the prologue). This is more a story about B Smith, a British high school student who’s not even sure the reports of a zombie outbreak in Ireland are true (maybe they’re viral marketing for a new zombie movie?) B is not a particularly likeable character – B is a thug, a thief, a bully, a delinquent, and a borderline racist. To give credit where due, however, B does do the right thing on occasion, and questions the racist viewpoints held by dear old dad. And speaking of dad – B’s dad is an overbearing racist who beats his wife and child when things don’t go his way (which is part of why B just goes along with dad’s racist views instead of speaking up against them). And despite B’s delinquent behavior (somewhat explained by a terrible home life and bad upbringing), I still found myself rooting for B (and the other kids in B’s “gang”) to escape from the high school when the zombies finally show up and start chowing down on the students and staff.
Author Darren Shan weaves the story well, and throws in several surprises for the reader (including a couple that truly surprised me – no heavy-handed foreshadowing here, although there were clues if you know to look for them). There are some glaring unanswered questions when the book reaches its conclusion, and I was both elated and dismayed to realize that this is but the first book in a 10 book (so far) series – elated because I did quite enjoy the story and am intrigued to find out what happens next; dismayed only because my TBR bookcase is already stuffed full (and my book-buying budget is much less full). This first book was a quick and entertaining read, so I’ll definitely be picking up the next book in the series, Zom-B Underground.