One of my favorite reads of the summer, this book has it all: great characters and story; a fun, almost movie-like plot (it will be a movie this fall); and really thoughtful writing. It’s a book I’d recommend this book to both science fiction lovers and non-science fiction readers (similar to, say, The Martian). It’s a zombie book, but like Station Eleven, it’s more than that.
So that’s a lot of hype, and for some this book might not live up to all that. I will say that especially in the beginning parts, this book is on the disturbing side and got pretty hard for me to read at night without seriously creeping into my dreams. It’s a near-future post-apocalypse where the zombies are out in force and the remaining humans are living on a guarded base. There’s a group of children who are “special” — one of those children is Melanie, and the story is told from her point of view. Every morning the children are handcuffed, at gunpoint, into wheelchairs. Then they are wheeled into a classroom. At night they are returned to their locked rooms.
It’s a miserable existence, but the children don’t know any differently, and the teachers do their best to keep it interesting — one of the teachers in particular. Melanie loves Miss Justineau, who makes every day special and exciting.
This is one of those books where I don’t want to tell you much about what happens. I loved the way the story unfolds, and the way the characters of Melanie and Miss Justineau develop. It also raises interesting issues about medical experimentation and humanity. What makes someone a human being, and when do the needs of medical science outweigh human decency?
Some of the reviews on Amazon raise criticisms that the first part of the book has a very different tone from the second part of the book. I didn’t mind that, but I’m open to discussion.
I had few expectations of this book and was glad I went into it knowing very little. So I’ve tried to keep this review just as brief. This is a book that defies genre categorization, raises tons of interesting issues, and is a fun (and scary) read, all at the same time.