04 October 2013

Review: World War Z by Max Brooks

World War Z by Max Brooks

Published: 2006

Pages: 420 (paperback)

Genre/s: Zombie, Horror

Source: Own library


We survived the zombie apocalypse, but how many of us are still haunted by that terrible time? We have (temporarily?) defeated the living dead, but at what cost? Told in the haunting and riveting voices of the men and women who witnessed the horror firsthand, World War Z is the only record of the plague years.

My Thoughts

A few weeks ago, I wrote a post about why I love re-reading books, and I mentioned that in the last year only one particular book was really disappointing when I revisited it, and that book was World War Z.

When I first read it, I was only just beginning to explore the zombie genre.  I recall being captivated by the journalistic style, meeting a range of different characters, and experiencing the whole arc of the zombie-apocalypse.  I was interested to see exactly how I would feel going back to read one of the books that started my obsession, and perhaps in that way my expectations were set incredibly high.

World War Z moves through the initial zombie-virus outbreak, the apocalypse and into the recovery of the human race, via interviews with various survivors who experienced the apocalypse in a multitude of ways.  There are doctors, military, politicians and a few average joes that give their own perspectives.

The problem with all of these perspectives is that it's difficult to get to know particular characters, and that some of the POVs are very heavily focused on only one side of the story. In that way, I got bored with many of the POVs, particularly those that became more of an exploration of ways that skeevy individuals exploited the deaths and suffering of other people and the heavily militarised stories.

In any book with this kind of set up there's the risk of skimming, but I found myself doing it far more than I normally would, and I think that's because there weren't enough 'average joe' perspectives, which is what I find most interesting.  The actual plot itself and the way the story moves through the stages of the apocalypse is quite interesting, but those freaking POVs kept distracting me from that.

I will, however, continue to recommend WWZ as a book for zombie newbies, because it does offer a huge variety of characters and perspectives, it's just not going to be on my list of favourites.  I don't regret re-reading it because I know that my tastes have changed, and it's almost reassuring to know that there are other zombie books out there that do stand up to re-reads.


  1. I'm that way with the paranormal genre. I couldn't get enough of it and all the alpha heroes in the beginning now they make me cringe lol

    I enjoyed World War Z and I try not to read too many zombie books in a row. I love them but they have similar themes. I remember liking this one because it was more about the world's response rather than one group of survivors. But yeah - some were more interesting than others.

  2. It's like an overdose! Or when you have too many tequilas and then can never drink the stuff again.....

    I always try and alternate my zombie books, otherwise they all kinda run together.

  3. I know exactly how you feel, Kat. Honestly, I'm getting a little burnt out on YA so I've been trying to get back into some thriller/horror books that I loved before I became a blogger.

    So it breaks my heart a little to know that WWZ didn't quite do it for you this time around, but I do understand why. It DOES jump from POV to POV and if that's not your style, then yeah, this book will be a challenge. I think what I liked about this book was the fact that you do get so many different views of the same experience. I wanted to work for the UN for a long time so while I do find the average Joe much more relatable, there is a fascination on the governmental level there too.

    Have you listened to the audiobook? Each POV is narrated by a notable famous person and it's pretty great.

  4. I just finished it as an audio so I couldn't skim. It became very tedious and surprisingly moralistic.



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