Zom-B (Zom-B Series #1)

Zom-B (Zom-B Series #1)

4.0 48
by Darren Shan

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When news reports start appearing of a zombie outbreak in Ireland, B's racist father thinks it's a joke-- but even if it isn't, he figures, it's ok to lose a few Irish.

B doesn't fully buy into Dad's racism, but figures it's easier to go along with it than to risk the fights and abuse that will surely follow sticking up for Muslims, blacks, or immigrants. And when

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When news reports start appearing of a zombie outbreak in Ireland, B's racist father thinks it's a joke-- but even if it isn't, he figures, it's ok to lose a few Irish.

B doesn't fully buy into Dad's racism, but figures it's easier to go along with it than to risk the fights and abuse that will surely follow sticking up for Muslims, blacks, or immigrants. And when dodging his fists doesn't work, B doesn't hesitate to take the piss out of kids at school with a few slaps or cruel remarks.

That is, until zombies attack the school. B is forced on a mad dash through the serpentine corridors of high school, making allegiances with anyone with enough gall to fight off their pursuers.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Shan, author of the Cirque du Freak and Demonata series, enters the zombie genre in a thoroughly bloody fashion with this slow-burning horror piece, which opens a planned 12-book series. This slim volume starts off quietly, introducing readers to narrator B Smith, an English teen who seems headed for a bad end, a born troublemaker following the example of a physically abusive, racist, and thuggish father. Struggling with violent impulses, a desire for paternal approval, and a lowbrow group of friends, B makes one wrong choice after another, leading up to the moment of truth, when a devastating zombie outbreak turns everyday existence into a life-or-death struggle. With the body count rising rapidly and everybody fending for themselves, B’s true colors finally show—at least one of the late revelations should catch readers off guard—setting the stage for the next entry. Character development is impressive for a relatively short book, and Shan executes the transition from normalcy to wholesale terror masterfully. It’s a strong start, but there’s a lot of story left to go. Ages 12–up. Agent: Christopher Little, Christopher Little Literary Agency. (Oct.)
From the Publisher
Praise for Zom-B:
"Shan packs in the bites, and he rips out enough entrails for even the most jaded zombie fan; the cliffhanger ending...closes on just the right note to leave the audience gnawing for more...A series opener to sink your teeth into."—Kirkus Review

"A raw and deeply observant tale of a morally questionable kid trying, and usually failing, to move beyond the ingrained racism instilled by B's father. It is a brave move by Shan to posit such a bigoted hooligan as our protagonist."—Booklist

"Character development is impressive...and Shan executes the transition from normalcy to wholesale terror masterfully."—Publishers Weekly

"Horror with a social conscience...This compelling page-turner builds steadily to the climax then throws the reader off the cliff with a twist that is impossible to see coming."—--VOYA

"A raw and deeply observant tale of a morally questionable kid trying, and usually failing, to move beyond the ingrained racism instilled by B's father. It is a brave move by Shan to posit such a bigoted hooligan as our protagonist."
Children's Literature - Susan Cotter
INTERNATIONAL TRAVEL ALERT: Zombies attacks have been reported in small villages in Ireland, Africa, and South America. Unless it is just a hoax. Antihero B Smith does not even blink; there is much tougher stuff at home to deal with, such as a racist, wife-beating, drunk of a father. As far as B is concerned, it is the zombies who had better watch out. For two-thirds of the book, zombies are backdrop rather than centerpiece. Set in London, the slang is pure British; but the kids do American things like eat fries, play soccer and get Cs (at best) in school. Suddenly, having skipped over mid-size and less remote towns, the zombies rudely burst into B's high school in the middle of the afternoon, a time of day one presumes one would be safe from such monsters. Stiff, unnatural dialog punctuates the free-for-all that ensues. As the kids fall like dominoes, B makes some difficult, bizarre choices. Near the end, mysterious mutants take the time to inform B that while today the zombies are merely taking over London high schools, tomorrow the rest of the world will fall. So you can ignore the travel alert. No place is safe. The most original part of the story are the nicknames of B's friends and classmates, which makes it all the more odd that B does not have one. However, horror fans no doubt will eat up Shan's latest, like some warm, sweet brains from a freshly cracked skull. Yum. First in the "Zom-B" series. Next will be Zom-B Underground.
VOYA - Laura-Ennis Lehner
B Smith is a tough cracker--living with a father like Todd, anyone would have to be tough, if just for self-defense. Todd has a habit of getting drunk and beating up on his family. B takes the beatings, then goes out and bullies other kids, especially those who have a different skin color or a different cultural background. B does not want to hate these people, but Todd’s training is deeply instilled in the teen’s psyche. Into this bleak world enter the zombies; when they attack the high school, B and friends must try to escape the maze-like building but are fighting a losing battle as one after another of them falls to the horrible and hungry undead. Horror with a social conscience--that best describes this first installment in a planned twelve-book series by the self-proclaimed “Master of Horror.” B does not want to be a bigot or bully, but racism prevails in this thought-provoking, cautionary tale about giving up too much of yourself in order to please your parents and win their love. The need for Todd’s love is so strong that B becomes a clone of him, in spite of knowing deep down that it is wrong. This compelling page-turner builds steadily to the climax then throws the reader off the cliff with a twist that is impossible to see coming. It is fast paced and unpredictable, a great choice for teen boys and girls who like the gore and grizzle of a good horror story. Ages 12 to 18.
Kirkus Reviews
Shan's baaa-aaaack. For B Smith, school is a bore and home is a battlefield, with a racist and abusive father around whom to navigate. The years of hate have taken their toll, with B provoking fights against nonwhite students to earn parental approval and hiding friendships that would incur parental wrath. When zombies begin massacring B's fellow students, it turns into a survival challenge, and B must cooperate with a diverse set of survivors to flee the barricaded school. Shan brings back his tried-and-true shock and gore narratives, with gruesome brain scooping and death-defying action sequences. Troubled by divided loyalty between father and friends, B's character is well-drawn though occasionally naïve; B often elects not to make any choice in difficult situations, and Shan doesn't fully explore the consequences of those moments of inaction. The English slang may cause momentary trouble, but tension over immigration crosses the pond easily enough. Shan packs in the bites, and he rips out enough entrails for even the most jaded zombie fan; the cliffhanger ending, now expected by his fans, closes on just the right note to leave the audience gnawing for more. A series opener to sink your teeth into. (Horror. 12-18)
Children's Literature - Toni Jourdan
Life's tough enough for B growing up in England with an abusive, racist father and a mother that B needs to protect by jumping in the way when fists fly. B tries so hard to get Dad's positive attention that making racist remarks and beating up black kids at school is just a normal day for him. One evening the news shows a zombie outbreak in Ireland. Videos cram the internet so no one really knows if this is actually happening or just a publicity stunt for some new film. Besides it is happening in Ireland and as B's Dad believes, it would not hurt to lose a few of them. Most of the book deals with B's day to day survival. B's gang is full of lawbreaking youths with nicknames as colorful as their pasts. Vinyl, La Lips, Copper.... B holds in such anger that it is bound to burst out sometime, since the person that should be on the receiving end lives in the same house as B and seems untouchable. The dialogue is trendy British and Emma Galvin brings B and the rest to life in a colorful, sometimes sorrowful way. When listening to the story it is hard for one to pull away from all the racist remarks and family abuse. It is right in your face, or at least your ear. The zombies play a backseat role for most of the book but when they surface, boy, oh boy, are they on the attack—slurping brains and viciously gnawing on whomever they stumble upon, even though B believes that there is a method to their madness. The First book in what is meant to be a twelve book series. After this one you will wonder where it can go from here, but you will never be bored by this fast-paced thriller. Reviewer: Toni Jourdan
School Library Journal
Gr 7–9—B Smith (gender not revealed until the end) is a punk, a bully, and a thug, easily falling into the trap of racism because of an overbearing father. B silently questions that ignorance but ultimately finds it easier, and safer, to conform to Dad's ideals rather than take a stand, as well as another beating. When the zombies attack, B is able to channel this aggression and anger and help lead fellow students trying to find a safe haven and escape. Finally, B's father comes to the rescue and, for a brief moment, all is well. An unfortunate choice, however, causes B's fragile faith to crumble and even worse tragedy ensues. B's self-loathing and doubt make this more than just your average zombie tale, and the subject will strike a chord with many teens, especially those who may find themselves at odds with the beliefs of their parents. Once the zombies attack, however, the soul-searching is put to rest and the action comes fast, furious, and relatively gory. This is the first book in a 12-volume series (with other titles being released at a projected rate of four a year), and it leaves plenty of questions unresolved. This is a promising beginning, and it's sure to have teens eagerly anticipating the next installment.—Erik Knapp, Davis Library, Plano, TX

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Product Details

Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Publication date:
Zom-B Series, #1
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
5.50(w) x 8.10(h) x 0.90(d)
HL710L (what's this?)
Age Range:
12 - 17 Years


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Zom-B 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 48 reviews.
Suvorov More than 1 year ago
B is a troubled high school student- disrespectful, shoplifts, gets into fights and basically writes off school. But all that is the least of B's problems. B has a horribly racist and abusive father, who physically abuses both B and his own wife. While B does not share the father's racist views, it is easier to fake them than deal with the father's fist. But when does faking stop and become a true characteristic of a person? Reports of zombie attacks elsewhere have been aired on television and most believed them to be a hoax, but when the school is attacked, B and a group of students have to fight their way to safety. ----- Zom-B is a young adult book, but don't think that means Shan pulls any punches. You would expect a book about zombies to be violent, bloody and gory, and Shan absolutely delivers. Nothing is sacred, not even babies, so be warned. ----- The father is truly horrible. Both B and the mother are always on guard for fear of waking the father's wrath and subsequent fist; there is a scene when the father beats the mother. In addition, the father is a racist. This racism is a major theme of the book and turns out to have some really horrifying consequences. ----- With all that said, while it is not the best zombie book I have ever read, it is actually a very good book. The zombie attack doesn't start until about the last quarter of the book, but the buildup is interesting. And prepare yourself for a couple of complete surprises and a really good cliff hanger. In fact, one of the surprises was so good that I went back and scanned parts of the book to make sure I had read and understood it correctly, and then to try and figure out if there had been clues that I had missed. I honestly thought I was confused and read incorrectly. ----- There are a few details that promise to make this a very different and interesting 12 book series. I absolutely recommend this book for anyone who enjoys the zombie sub-genre.
RevWonderland More than 1 year ago
Huh. What? I’m having a really hard time writing this review, because this book left me feeling so confused. I grabbed this book because I was looking for something that would be different from my normal genre. I was looking for a thriller with a lot of action. The blurb for this book makes it seem as if the book is going to be about zombies. And I guess it was, sort of. But the underlying overriding theme of the book was actually about racism. The book opens up with an action-packed story about a small town in London where a little boy wakes up to find his mother has become a zombie and is eating the brains of his father. But this is almost a teaser for the book. Because after this it switches over and the next 17 chapters are a story about a young girl named Becky (nicknamed “B”) who is dealing with some interesting problems at home. Here’s where I start having problems with the book. “B” is never fully developed, we are given a rudimentary introduction to “B”. In fact I didn’t know that “B” was a girl until chapter 24! She is portrayed as a rough around the edges kid. She hangs out mostly with a group of boys and only two girls. But the girls are not part of the group that she spends the most amount of her time with. And she’s the tough one out of the boys! The only other thing we know about B is that her father is a raging racist. He is the leader of a racist movement in their city and holds periodic meetings with other individuals who believe that having a Ku Klux Klan in their town would be the best thing ever. Her father also spends a majority of his time beating his wife, where B is left to defend her mother and stand up to her father. The rest of the characters in the book left me wanting more as well. The most we know how about each of the characters is just a small tidbit of either their personality or their looks. Each kid that B hangs out with has been given a nickname, usually by B. For example “Copper” is a little redheaded kid and “Elephant” was given his nickname after some of his friends saw him changing in the locker room after a soccer game. Other than the small tidbits of information, we never really get to know the characters themselves, or what drives them, or what motivates them. We do get a sense throughout the book that B is a product of her environment. She was raised by a racist father who beats her mother and this life has made her the way that she is. She does not work hard at school, in fact, she spent most of her class time sleeping or doodling in her notebook. But even despite this fact, most of her teachers give her C’s, even on projects that she doesn’t turn it. I found the relationship between B and her teachers extremely unrealistic. Even in the worst schools teachers would not turn a blind eye to a student who not only does not participate but is also a disruption in class on numerous occasions. She spends the majority of her time with an internal conflict. On one hand she loves and respects her father and wants to please him; on the other hand she understands at some level that what he’s doing is wrong. Even though her internal voice is telling her that the racist things are wrong, she still outwardly portrays a belief in white supremacy. If the author was looking to elicit a strong response from the readers, he did it. I was disgusted with the things that B and her father allowed themselves to do. Finally in chapter 17 we get back to some action. Zombies attack B’s school and the rest the book follows their fight to get out – alive. This part of the book was exciting, it made my heart pound and I was flipping the pages as fast as I could. I felt like I had finally gotten the book that I was waiting for. Not some underlying social/political slant but just a fun fictional thriller. The descriptions of the zombies and their actions were incredibly grotesque and detailed. It was as if I was standing there watching the carnage and smelling the blood. The other really neat thing about this book was that it includes these wonderfully depicted caricature drawings of what’s happening in the book at various times. Check out this picture from chapter 9. So all in all I picked this book up looking for an exciting thriller book about zombies. What I got was a socially charged book wrapped in a thriller package. And one last thing to note, without sharing any spoilers, the ending of this book set it up for a sequel. And yet with the way it ends I just don’t see anything from the story left to tell. I would like to say I am curious to know how the author stretches this into another book, but truth be told, I will not be picking up the sequel.
224perweek More than 1 year ago
Darren Shan does it once again. Awesome flipping story! He puts a whole new twist on zombies. Love the surprise with B also. Never saw that coming. This is a reading must for zombie fans of all ages. Can't wait to read book 2.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I have only read the free sample of the book, but I have read the Cirque Du Freak by Darren Shan series and it was amazing. I expect this book to be just as good and so far it does not disapoint.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I have always been a Darren Shan fan, and I thought nothing he did would surprise me. How wrong I was! I read this in one day because I couldn't put it down! Darren Shan never fails to amaze me with his amazing plots and amazing writing.
The_Busy_Bibliophile More than 1 year ago
Holy unexpected plot twists, Batman! I read an ARC of Zom-B, and the first page of the book is a note from Darren Shan, encouraging reviewers to be very careful not to spoil any surprises when reviewing the book. So, this review probably won’t be as “complete” as others I would write, for that reason. I won’t spoil anything, because that would ruin the entire reading experience. The main character, B, is tough-as-nails and not afraid to pick a fight to save face. B has to be tough, growing up with an abusive racist for a dad and a mom who takes the abuse without complaint. B tries hard to shield her from the violence, but that usually ends up with them both being beaten. The whole town think it’s a huge joke when the news starts reporting zombie outbreaks in nearby towns, and nobody takes it seriously. All of the students are shocked when the threat turns out not only to be real, but actually shows up at their school. It took a while for the actual zombie action to start (aside from a little bit in the beginning). There was a lot of backstory about B’s family and friends. We learned how B met them all, how they got their nicknames, how they all get along… It got to be a bit too much for me. I kept thinking, “Let’s get on with the action already!” But once it did, it was fast paced and exciting. The book is short and really zipped along; I read it in only a few hours. There was a lot of chasing and hiding, gore and ickiness and bravery and cowardice. And now, on to the plot twists: there were 3 that I consider major. The first surprise showed up in the beginning, right when I’d gotten into the groove of the book and thought I knew what to expect. The second was a shocker and made me stop to consider everything I’d read so far in a new light. And the ending-I did not see that coming! Every time I got comfortable, Darren Shan surprised me. That’s a great thing to be able to say, especially in a genre that sometimes feels like it’s run its course. The cover is okay and sufficiently creepy; there’s no mistaking it for anything other than a zombie story. I actually prefer the old monotone cover, though. It’s simplicity is a perfect cover for all of the chaos inside the novel itself. The sum up: Campy, gory and unexpected, this is a fun new take on the zombie genre.
Anonymous 6 months ago
So i rented this book from my library because i lovef cirque du freak. If u did the same dont it stunk. Its super unnesisarely violent and like many people said it doesnt even develope the charactors enough fir me to know that b was a girl till very close to the end. I know that some kids read tge ciqye du freak series and saw thias the same author but...NO...NO.... read cirque du freAk but difinetly not this.
BellesBeastlyBookBlog 8 months ago
A news report came in about a town close to Ireland where zombies have attacked people. A lot of the teens in Ireland thought it was a hoax, but later come to find out that it was very true. During a game of soccer in the gym people started running in through the doors. They were getting eaten by the zombies. B, his friends, and others started running toward the exit, only to find out that it was blocked. They lost a lot of people on the way and sacrificed others. What will they learn and how will they survive? Who will live, who will die, and who will be feasting on the others?? I thought the book was very graphic and gory. It was definitely horror. I hated how graphic it was. I would have liked the book more if it was a little less graphic. What's worse is I told myself that I wasn't going to read any more of the series, but at the end of the book is a major cliff-hanger that will make it to where you don't have any choice but to read the second book. Also, it was very confusing at points. I did like how the cussing was sort of lesser, because they used and Irish accent. So instead of saying the "A word" they said arse. I would have gave it a better rating if there was less gore, though.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Once you get past the 1st 98 pages of boring racist crude from the UK, it's a decent Zombie story. That only leaves it to 78 pages, but there are about 10 or so pages of pictures. So that makes it an even shorter story. Zombie parts were the best though.
TKSayers More than 1 year ago
Zom-B is technically a zombie story, but the zombies don't even show up until more than halfway through the book (excluding their appearance in the prologue). This is more a story about B Smith, a British high school student who's not even sure the reports of a zombie outbreak in Ireland are true (maybe they're viral marketing for a new zombie movie?) B is not a particularly likeable character - B is a thug, a thief, a bully, a delinquent, and a borderline racist. To give credit where due, however, B does do the right thing on occasion, and questions the racist viewpoints held by dear old dad. And speaking of dad – B's dad is an overbearing racist who beats his wife and child when things don't go his way (which is part of why B just goes along with dad's racist views instead of speaking up against them). And despite B's delinquent behavior (somewhat explained by a terrible home life and bad upbringing), I still found myself rooting for B (and the other kids in B's "gang") to escape from the high school when the zombies finally show up and start chowing down on the students and staff. Author Darren Shan weaves the story well, and throws in several surprises for the reader (including a couple that truly surprised me – no heavy-handed foreshadowing here, although there were clues if you know to look for them). There are some glaring unanswered questions when the book reaches its conclusion, and I was both elated and dismayed to realize that this is but the first book in a 10 book (so far) series – elated because I did quite enjoy the story and am intrigued to find out what happens next; dismayed only because my TBR bookcase is already stuffed full (and my book-buying budget is much less full). This first book was a quick and entertaining read, so I'll definitely be picking up the next book in the series, Zom-B Underground.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I've just read the sample and I already think its amazing
TheoRee More than 1 year ago
This book was amazing! I loved how B's dad and even B are racist! Some of you are probably thinking that that's an awful thing to enjoy about a book, but that was a very new twist for me that I never would have expected to find in the teen section at my library. This book will have you on the edge of your seat waiting for the zombies to strike, and when they do, they don't disappoint! I've personally been a raving fan of Darren Shan since I found his Demonata series and subsequently his Cirque du Freak series, and I'm thrilled to say that this one is panning out to be just as surprising and full of twists!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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Love this book
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Merrilee More than 1 year ago
I loved this book! I couldn't put it down. Can't wait to read the next one!
Laine-librariancanreadtoo More than 1 year ago
Something is lurking in the dark....what could it be? Who could it be? Are we safe? Should we worry? NAAAAAA!!! Everything is fine. Let's just have fun, let's gang up on people and have the best time of our lives!!! Welcome to B's life. B is kid, who has to do what father says or else mother will get it and wants to live a life with the boys in town that fights B's criteria.  But then something happens. Something....awful...happens. Zombies!!!!!! Welcome to B's life. B is kid who doesn't know if father and mother are alive or ALIVE!!! B is running through the high school away from teachers away from friends just to keep the old brain in the head!  Shan has done it once again. Shan has brought us all scary thoughts before bed but this gets you away from bed and boarding up the house on the way to the kitchen!!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
It isnt darren shan without gore
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