I found the perfect reading companion to Robert Kirkman’s The Walking Dead, and it’s by Hugh Howey. I, Zombie is a must read for any fan of the zombie genre because it gives you a completely new take on the realm of hungry zombies and the compulsions they live with. And underneath the obvious, is an interesting statement on the human condition. Below is a quick book review of the Howey novel and at the bottom, a quickie Brusimm exclusive comment from the man himself, Hugh Howey, and what brought this idea about.
I picked up one of the latest Hugh Howey books, titled I,Zombie. The title does not hide the premise of the story, but neither does it prepare you for the journey you are about to embark on as you follow several victims of a zombie apocalypse and their lives thereafter. Yes, I just said “their lives thereafter” and no, I did not forget to say survivors of the plague.
If you’re a visually-based person and have a low squeamish factor, be warned. There are moments of character description that are well thought out and fully gross!
But be that as it may, I’ve got to give another kudo (one of many) to Mr. Howey. He’s pulled off another creative and original prospect for a story and delivered it in that creatively insightful fashion that marks what I know of Howey’s style. That style being how he takes his every day observations and turns them into galvanizing words of entertainment and enlightenment.
I, Zombie could be considered the perfect reading companion to The Walking Dead TV series.
Have you ever been curious about what could be going on behind those vacant zombie eyes of the walkers that Rick and the gang encounter? Have you ever even considered that maybe the shambling husk of what was a body might be alive inside with the tortured soul of who was turned? Do you remember in that first episode of The Walking Dead, when Rick went back and killed that “walker” mother that was dragging herself across the park? Ever wonder if it was just himself that he was helping, or did Rick free a soul?
Hugh Howey thought it out and through moments of pure joy of descriptive revolt, he made it clear to me that Rick saved a soul.
In I, Zombie, we meet several zombies, or to be more exact, the victims of zombie bites after a zombie plague breaks out in a major city. We get to experience what might happen if their bodies were turned into something insatiably hungry for living flesh while their minds are left intact inside, to be along for the ride they can’t control. We experience the thoughts and observations of different people, as they find themselves along for a ride they can’t control as their bodies do things unimaginable. Each personality inside having to endure events like devouring their own mother or dining on unborn babies.
Howie has one sick, disgusting and wild imagination that did not hold back while he wrote this. One particularly “mind catching” phrase he put together was a moment when one of our zombies is shuffling along in a pack, all the bodies bumping up against each other and she gets an eyeful of the guy in front of her, who has suffered a head wound. Her descriptor of the guy’s head was akin to “looking at a Google image result for festering puss.” Yea… um, thanks for that Hugh!
Yes, there might be moments that test your squeamish factor, but there aren’t many. Just enough to make you wonder if you should be eating at all while reading the book.
This is a wonderful look at an aspect of the zombie story I had never considered. In I, Zombie, each character’s self-monologue fills you in on their life before the bite and how they are experiencing their new existence. As disgusted or grossed out the passenger is, they are along for the ride as their bodies respond to a higher or stronger calling of the infection. A few familiar themes that we experience from the trapped minds were regret for things not done in their lives, their petty differences with others or reflection upon the good times, times that now, mean nothing. A fascinating juxtaposition.
And a great, enticing read, as you root for our un-heroes, as they root for the humans with the guns.
I reached out to the author, Hugh Howey, and asked him what in this god’s green earth motivated this nauseatingly great zombie read. His reply was:
“I’m glad you’re enjoying it and are suitably revolted.
I, ZOMBIE is more than just my take on the popular horror genre, it’s my take on the human condition.
To me, the saddest bits are the stories of people trapped in the lives before they were bit. I feel like many of us live like zombies right now. I know I’m guilty of that. And so I wrote a book of despair, with no resolution, no neat climax, because that’s how our lives feel to me. We just are.
Depressing, right? But it felt good to write about it, to get it out there.”
Howey entertained me immensely with his Wool series. That book series being what I feel is the adult version on par with The Hunger Games. And he’s done other pieces of work. It’s a pure joy to see what comes out of the dark recesses of that mind of his, with I, Zombie being one of his latest.
If you like well thought out science fiction, check out I, Zombie or any other work by Mr. Howey for that matter. I don’t think you’ll be disappointed.
On Amazon: I, Zombie