28 September 2013

Review: Undead by Kirsty McKay

Undead (Undead #1) by Kirsty McKay

Published: 1 September 2011

Pages: 294 (paperback)

Genre/s: Young Adult, Zombie

Source: Own library


Out of sight, out of their minds: It's a school-trip splatter fest and completely not cool when the other kids in her class go all braindead on new girl Bobby. 

The day of the ski trip, when the bus comes to a stop at a roadside restaurant, everyone gets off and heads in for lunch. Everyone, that is, except Bobby, the new girl, who stays behind with rebel-without-a-clue Smitty.

Then hours pass. Snow piles up. Sun goes down. Bobby and Smitty start to flirt. Start to stress. Till finally they see the other kids stumbling back. 

But they've changed. And not in a good way. Straight up, they're zombies. So the wheels on the bus better go round and round freakin' fast, because that's the only thing keeping Bobby and Smitty from becoming their classmates' next meal. It's kill or be killed in these hunger games, heads are gonna roll, and homework is most definitely gonna be late. 

My Thoughts

The first time I saw Undead I knew I wanted to read it - set in the UK, a bunch of teenagers surviving a zombie apocalypse with some black humour thrown in?  Totally my thing.  Plus the cover is pretty cool and has coloured pages which I am a complete sucker for.

Undead begins with two characters, Bobby and Smitty being left on the school bus whilst the rest of the class goes into a roadside restaurant for lunch.  Smitty is the bad boy of the class, and Bobby is the new girl who doesn't quite fit in after spending several years living outside of the UK.

I'm a little torn as to whether I liked the characters or found them too much of a cliche - I liked Smitty and Bobby's snarky interactions and although the characters are completely different to each other, they do find a way to work together and seeing them develop into a team was interesting.  However, the cliched beautiful bimbo and ugly geek did kind of grate on me a little - having their roles reversed would probably have made the characters more appealing and been more fitting with the tone of the book.

For the first 100 pages I was having a lot of fun reading Undead - the black humour and the slightly oddball beginning to the zombie apocalype made it feel different to the usual YA zombie novel.  The characters were unique and the situation was so wierd it was almost funny, but the humour and quirkiness lost its appeal after a while and I started to get bored.  It did pick up again towards the end, but it made the pacing feel very uneven, and unfortunately I found it quite easy to put the book down and difficult to find the motivation to come back to.

I also felt that some parts of the plot didn't fully connect with others, particularly how and why the virus was released and although McKay does try and pick those threads up later in the book, it felt like they were made less of in order to add more quirkiness.

Of course with any zombie book there is some element of gore and horror, but it's pretty minimal in Undead - as a book for readers who don't like the intensity of most zombie books it's going to be a positive, but for me it felt like it was belittling the situation a little and then I just couldn't take it as seriously as I wanted to.

Overall, Undead started as a fun read that lost a little steam along the way.  It's still a book I'd recommend to readers who don't enjoy the dark intensity of many zombie novels, but are looking for something a little more lighthearted and different.


  1. A zombie book set in the UK? Count me in, I'm so tired of the US zombie apocalypse books! This one sounds refreshing, great review Kat!
    -Kimberly @ Turning the Pages

    1. It was a fun read! I liked the different setting and the fact it wasn't completely serious!

  2. I liked this one a lot. It had that perfect balance of cheese and horror reminiscent of many 80's films. Glad to hear you liked this one as well. Can't wait to hear your thoughts on Unfed.

    1. Yes! I love a good cheesy horror film or book!

  3. Too bad it lost steam be cause I love me some snarky humor.

    Still sounds worth reading if I come across it. I love that cover.

  4. Interesting because I've been eyeballing this book for awhile now. Since you are THE authority on zombie reads, I trust your judgement implicitly. It sounds like this is a good starter book for folks who aren't so into the zombie genre (that's right, GENRE), but not so much for those of us who are more seasoned zombie readers.

    Maybe if I ever get bored, I'll give this one a go, otherwise, I think it'll be a pass.



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