I read 133 pages in 25 chapters. It took me 2 weeks to do that. That’s about a third of the book. I’ve not yet finished all the 68 chapters. I read this along with The Caves of Steel and The Naked Sun both by Isaac Asimov. It puzzled me that I’ve been reading this book on and off for over two weeks now. I read the other two Asimov books over a weekend each.
This was my first zombie book. I’ve watched a few zombie movies and I love zombie video games. Then it hit me. The book is in present tense. Most of the books I’ve read use the past tense. For example, “She looked at him” vs “She looks at him”. So I searched online if I was the only one. Turns out it throws some people off. Some people won’t read a book if it is in the present tense. I did not expect this to affect me so much. It was very slow going with this book.
This book feels like its written for a movie. The way the child Melanie looks around. The way the vehicle breaks down. The way Sargent Parks addresses his soldiers. I read about the author and he has written a Hollywood screenplay. I don’t know what a screenplay looks like. This book one felt like someone would be able to picture how movie scenes would look like. Sure enough, there is a movie made out of this book.
The author himself comes across as well read. He mentions Dali’s Autumn Cannibalism painting. He mentions Tales the Muses told, 1965 by Roger Lancelyn Green.
The author does a great work of describing the feelings of everyone involved. The characters are well thought out. You can feel Melanies’s emotions and Miss Justineau’s frustration. Sargent Parks starts out as ruthless but the author reveals why this is necessary. The zombie action is amazing!
The story seemed to drag out a bit with the kids daily activities. How they started at pictures. How each teachers reacted to them. There was the drunk teacher. The was the aloof teacher. And of course caring and loving Miss Justineau. The fight sequences are in excruciating detail. The author takes his time to describe how Dr. Caldwell and others fight them.
In retrospect, you find it refreshing that Miss Justineau cared so much about them. She looked at them as you would any other child. This is despite most of the population being wiped out by the zombies. Maybe there is a lesson in that.