Thursday, December 11, 2008

Monster Island

Monster Island: A Zombie Novel
Written by: David Wellington
Paperback: 288 pages
Publisher: Running Press
Language: English
April 2006, $13.99
Genre: Fiction

It's one month after a global disaster. The most "developed" nations of the world have fallen to the shambling zombie masses. Only a few pockets of humanity survive — in places rife with high-powered weaponry, such as Somalia. In New York City, the dead walk the streets, driven by an insatiable hunger for all things living. One amongst them is different; though he shares their appetites he has retained his human intelligence. Alone among the mindless zombies, Gary Fleck is an eyewitness to the end of the world — and perhaps the evil genius behind it all. From the other side of the planet, a small but heavily-armed group of schoolgirls-turned-soldiers has come in search of desperately needed medicine. Dekalb, a former United Nations weapons inspector, leads them as their local guide. Ayaan, a crack shot at the age of sixteen, will stop at nothing to complete her mission. They think they are prepared for anything. On Monster Island they will find that there is something worse even than being undead, as Gary learns the true price of survival.


It shouldn’t be a big surprise to anyone that I dig zombie fiction. Whether it is the Walking Dead comic series or Max Brooks’s World War Z, or something else entirely I am a complete believer that zombies make everything better. *smirk* I had seen the Monster Trilogy on the bookshelves for some time, but never got around to picking it up and finally did when Halloween rolled around. Alas, I never got around to it during the bewitching hours. Instead I got a nice little macabre fix during the holiday season. Yeah me.

This isn’t your average zombie novel. Sure there are the rotting corpses I know and love, but this time Wellington spun a couple a twists for me and ones I enjoyed whole heartedly. One of the things I liked is being dropped right in the middle of the action. The crisis has already occurred, the horror of the beginning of the end already in the past tense. Enter in Dekalb, a man who tries to stick to his principles and hopes to get back to the daughter he loves so much. Nothing always ends the way you would like it to and sometimes you are put into situations where those principles are tested. Dekalb is a good man and the story is divided between him and Gary’s point of views.

I did want Gary’s character to be fleshed out a bit more, no pun intended, because I wanted more reasoning, more back story to his character so he wasn’t so two dimensional for me. Not that he’s not a great character to read because he is, I just wanted more. Without ruining the story, Gary’s story in the latter half of the book changed so suddenly and so quickly (mostly after the megastore) that it seemed rushed and too easy especially considering his previous vocation.

The descriptions are great, everything I want in a zombie novel or film. Beyond the zombie depictions, the prose as a whole is a joy to read. The pace is quick without being frenzied, dialogue realistic, and enough mystery remaining so that not everything is explained away or described leaving the reader to use their own imagination. The book isn’t without its flaws. Some may find Mael laughable, others may think some of the situations overly absurd. Some might even say, ‘Hey that’s a lot like Stephen King’s Cell’. But I really enjoyed it. I think Wellington is a great storyteller, has a knack for great characters and I cannot wait to read more of the Monster Trilogy as well as start his Vampire series.

3.5 out of 4 happy bibliosnark bookmarks


SciFiGuy said...

I've had this sitting on my TBR pile for awhile and I think I need to dig it out now. Read his vampire series which is great and recommended.

thebonebreaker said...

Great Review!

I love Wellington's work [especially his vampire series!]

He also has a werewolf one out, which I haven't read yet. . .

SQT said...

Have you read Mark Henry? He has the most irreverent zombie fiction ever. Actually, whether it involves zombies it's full of snarky fun. I think you'd like it. Oh, and don't let the covers fool you. They're not paranormal romance. Not by a long shot.

Smirking Revenge said...

SQT, I have Happy Hour in my TBR pile, but have yet to get to it. I did peruse the first chapter or so and snark is definitely involved. Also, dig the footnotes. My kind of humor. May have to pick that up next.