Best Books About Zombie Apocalypse

Best Books About Zombie Apocalypse

Best Books About Zombie Apocalypse

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The zombie apocalypse concept has become a popular theme in literature and entertainment, captivating audiences with its blend of horror, survival, and human resilience. If you’re eager to delve into the thrilling and often chilling world of the undead, several outstanding books can transport you to a post-apocalyptic landscape and explore the complexities of surviving in a world overrun by zombies.

World War Z: An Oral History of the Zombie War By Max Brooks Is Worth Reading Over And Over

World War Z: An Oral History of the Zombie War

The author of The Zombie Survival Guide writes one of the best undead novels of all time in the zombie genre. When he first wrote The Zombie Survival Guide, author Max Brooks presented the Living Dead genre in such a way and unique take that it should be taken seriously. In the guide, zombies were treated with the same seriousness as, say, bears, and the result was a work of literature that wasn’t only funny, but also a darn good read.

One of the hardest things to do when dealing with the mythical or the impossible is to present it in such a way that it feels realistic no matter how implausible.

Brooks’ work nails it, and one of the reasons it works so well is the characters in the story react to the zombie invasion and the end of the world in a very realistic way. So do the governments.

So does the reporter tasked with recording a history of the Zombie War. And here is where the story starts: a promise, by the narrator, to present the facts of the Zombie War as he recorded them, not in the murky way the governments presented it. Here, readers are treated to the very first conflict and must understand that the history presented in this book is the truth, and the governments have attempted to hide some of this truth.

The plague of the zombie outbreak spreads fast, possibly starting in China based on the reporter’s findings. It spreads quickly among ordinary people. Governments react (or don’t), but regardless the plague spreads until the entire world is infected.

Through interviews and firsthand accounts, readers learn the history of the Zombie War much in the same way one might learn about World War II through a non-fiction account. This is one of the reasons the book works so well: by letting the characters tell the story (and letting the reporter intervene when needed), Brooks can get away with some unrealistic situations because a lot of the characters are just as disbelieving as the reader.

The characters in the book do a great job of guiding readers through the history of the Zombie War, and it’s their voices that make this book stand out. Each character’s story is unique and helps put a crucial piece of the puzzle in place to create a cohesive history that runs contrary to whatever literature the governments of the world may be putting out in Brooks’ fictional world.

Sometimes, though, I found myself wishing I would spend more time with a specific character (like the story from Cuba) and a little less time with others. When the characters aren’t distinguished enough, they can blur together, but never enough to warrant putting this book down.

World War Z is a very good book, just a few notches below “great.” Even people who don’t normally read horror about the walking dead can enjoy its diverse characters. Brooks has a fantastic imagination and living in his fictional world is a real pleasure.

The Rising By Brian Keene Is One Of The Best Zombie Apocalypse Books

The Rising: More Selected Scenes from the End of the World

This book follows several characters, each from their point of view, trying to survive in a world quickly becoming overrun by zombies. Some of you may be tempted to stop reading already. Zombies?!, you say? To Hell with that, you say? Well, don’t be so harsh.

There is Jim, trying to reach his son in New Jersey. The Reverend Martin joins him. Next, we have Frankie, a hooker and junkie, who is thankfully nothing like Julia Roberts. There is the obligatory scientist Dr. Baker who is shouldering great guilt. Take a wild guess as to what. Lastly, Skip the soldier. I wish he had chosen a better name.

The Rising is not a zombie book in the traditional Romero sense. Gone is the clever social commentary. Gone are the characters you feel you could know. Gone are the lumbering cannibals with little to no intelligence (not counting Land of the Dead of course, so you can save your hate mail for more important things). No Keene has taken a different route. Unfortunately, he has chosenÖpoorly.

To put it bluntly, Keene writes like he is writing a comic book. The characters are very cardboard. When they do show emotion it doesn’t feel genuine. I felt like I was watching an overacted movie. Keene even attempts at having a few ‘gang banger’ types.

Brian man, you are far too white to be writing gangsta dialog. If you were going for a loose parody, perhaps something 50 Cent could act in a movie version, then you did a bang-up job. Otherwise no dice. While the dialog isn’t as bad as some of HP Lovecraft’s works, it seldom rises above the average comic book fare.

Action is Keene’s strong point and in The Rising, there is plenty of it. There are unbelievable action scenes Jerry Bruckheimer or Michael Bay would be proud of. Even though the heroes and heroines make many ill-advised and suicidal decisions, everything seems to work out just fine.

Keene saves his descriptions for the action scenes and the zombies themselves. Otherwise, the locations and main characters are described with minimal words. If you want to get straight to the action stupid and don’t mind hearing nearly every zombie’s intestines described in great detail, then you probably wouldn’t have a problem with this.

Personally, Keene has missed the point of the zombie movie. Though he does take a different take on their creation and abilities than most, I didn’t find it interesting. If you are just looking for a quick easy read packed with zombie action, then, by all means, get this book. Otherwise, go watch Dawn of the Dead.

The Forest Of Hands And Teeth By Carrie Ryan

The Forest Of Hands And Teeth By Carrie Ryan

This bleak zombie apocalypse novel is proof that young adult literature can be just as poignant, terrifying, and at times, beautiful as anything on adult bookshelves.

In a market swarming with zombie stories ranging from light humor to horror, The Forest of Hands and Teeth is not to be taken lightly. While Carrie Ryan’s debut novel falls into the YA (young adult) category, the typical teenage concerns of unrequited love, angst, and adult oppression are accompanied by more grim issues. Romance, fear, death, and hope are the themes woven into this chilling story.

In a village that exists long after a zombie apocalypse nearly wiped out all of mankind, Mary has grown up dreaming of the mysterious ocean in her mother’s stories. Surrounded by a forest filled with the Unconsecrated, the living dead who are endlessly seeking human flesh, Mary’s town is run by the Sisterhood. The Sisters control everything, from sales and bartering to important ceremonies, like Mary’s upcoming wedding vows to a longtime childhood friend.

When a young girl arrives in the village, despite the Sisterhood’s strange attempt to conceal her, Mary realizes this outsider is proof that life exists beyond the Forest of Hands and Teeth. A breach of the fence protecting the town leads Mary to flee with a few survivors, including her betrothed and his brother, for whom she secretly harbors feelings.

Constantly fighting off the relentless Unconsecrated, Mary and her friends are faced with the seemingly impossible task of surviving outside of the village, driven to make unthinkable decisions. But despite the horrors they encounter, Mary holds onto her dream: to make it through the forest and find the ocean.

From the very beginning, Mary is faced with an overwhelming amount of tragedy and loss that only increases as the pages fly by. Ryan’s lyrical writing brings out the often spiderweb-thin, but always present, ray of hope even in the darkest scenes.

As with any zombie book, the story contains a decent amount of gore, though not overdone. Some of the more disturbing scenes aren’t necessarily because of the blood, but more so the difficult emotions Mary has to deal with. One particularly discomforting scene finds Mary facing an Unconsecrated infant, fighting a mix of pity and horror as she musters the strength to deal with the tiny monster.

With heavy scenes like these, it would be easy for The Forest of Hands and Teeth to seem unbearably depressing. But with Ryan’s ability to describe such dark images with beautiful descriptions, and Mary’s constant hope for the ocean and a better life, this novel is a mesmerizing read.

Best Books About Zombie Apocalypse

Best Zombie Books For Teens

With zombies continuing to enjoy enormous popularity in mainstream culture, from zombie walks to zombie versions of beloved classic novels, it should come as no surprise that teen fiction is also being inundated with stories about the living dead.

The following is a list of some of the best Zombie Apocalypse books for young adults, including brief synopses and reviews.

Generation Dead by Daniel Waters

Available to buy from Amazon

All over the country, a strange phenomenon is occurring. Some teenagers who die aren’t staying dead. But when they come back to life, they are no longer the same. Feared and misunderstood, they are doing their best to blend into a society that doesn’t want them. 

This novel, the first in the Generation Dead series, depicts a typical American high school, with one exception: dead students are returning to life to continue their studies. Things become increasingly complicated for Phoebe, the likable protagonist when she develops a crush on one of the living dead. An intriguing commentary on bullying and high school politics.

Generation Dead by Daniel Waters
Sabriel by Garth Nix

Sabriel by Garth Nix

Available to buy from Amazon

The Old Kingdom is a place of free magic, necromancers and ancient spirits bound to elemental forces. Who will guard the living when the dead arise?

While not marketed as a zombie novel, Garth Nixís Sabriel (the first instalment in the Old Kingdom series) describes the adventures of Sabriel the Abhorsen, whose magical heritage requires her to do battle with the animated dead. This is a good book for teens who enjoy epic fantasy with their zombies.

My So-Called Death by Stacey Jay

Available to buy from Amazon

Just because you don’t have a pulse doesn’t mean you can’t be perky.
Armed with a perky smile and killer fashion sense, it’s up to Karen to track down the brain snatcher and save her fellow students from certain zombie death.

This lighthearted-yet-gory teen novel stars an amusing zombie cheerleader, Karen, who is sent to a high school for the undead after an accident leaves her with a cracked skull and a taste for animal brains. This is not a ‘literary’ novel, but teens aren’t likely to find it boring.

My So-Called Death by Stacey Jay
The Enemy by Charlie Higson

The Enemy by Charlie Higson

Available to buy from Amazon

When the sickness came, every parent, police officer, politician – every adult fell ill. The lucky ones died. The others are crazed, confused and hungry.
Only children under fourteen remain, and they’re fighting to survive.

This post-apocalyptic novel, set in London where all the adults have turned into zombies, features a cast of young adult protagonists trying to protect themselvesóand each otherófrom the ìsickness.î The Enemy will appeal to teenage fans of 28 Days Later and Shawn of the Dead.

Strange Angels by Lili St. Crow

Available to buy from Amazon

Dru Anderson: Night Hunter. Knife Wielder. Heart Breaker.
Dru can sense evil, which helps when she and her Dad are tracking down ghosts, suckers, wulfen, and the occasional reanimated corpse. It’s a dangerous life, but it’s the only one she knows.

While not solely a zombie novel, Strange Angels is an appealing read that stars the teenage Dru Anderson, whose father returns from the dead. Dru, who has been raised to fight the paranormal, is an engaging heroine in this page-turner of a novel.

Strange Angels by Lili St. Crow
Best Books About Zombie Apocalypse

Teen Zombie Books: Here To Stay, or Just a Fad?

With several of the books listed above being the first in an ongoing series of zombie-themed novels, itís unlikely that this trend will disappear shortly. Even Hollywood is banking on the continued popularity of the genre; with a movie version of The Forest of Hands and Teeth currently in the works, teens can look forward to zombie literature written specifically for them making the leap from the page to the big screen.

Other Great Zombie Novels That You Should Have On Your List Of The Best Zombie Books:

Colson Whitehead – Zone One is a post-apocalyptic novel that combines elements of horror and literary fiction. It follows a man named Mark Spitz as he works as a sweeper, clearing out the undead from Lower Manhattan after a zombie outbreak.

Stephen King – While Stephen King is known for his horror genre and supernatural fiction, he has not written any specific novels dedicated solely to zombies. However, he has incorporated elements of zombies or zombie-like creatures in some of his works.

  • Cell: In this horror novel, a mysterious signal transmitted through cell phones turns people into mindless, violent beings known as “phoners.” While not traditional zombies, the concept shares similarities with the zombie genre.
  • Pet Sematary: While not strictly about zombies, this novel revolves around a burial ground with the power to resurrect the dead. The resurrected individuals often return with a twisted and malevolent nature.
  • The Stand: Although primarily a post-apocalyptic story about a deadly pandemic, “The Stand” features an antagonist known as Randall Flagg, who gathers a group of followers referred to as “the Trashcan Man” and “the Walkin’ Dude.” While not explicitly zombies, some characters exhibit zombie-like qualities.

George A Romero – Is often referred to as the father of the modern zombie genre, is primarily known for his work in film, particularly his influential series of zombie movies. However, he did co-author a novel that expanded upon his film universe.

  • The Living Dead by George A. Romero and Daniel Kraus: This novel about the post-apocalyptic world was completed by Daniel Kraus based on Romero’s unfinished manuscript. It offers a fresh take on the main character of the zombie apocalypse, delving into the lives of various characters as they navigate a world overrun by the living dead.

The Angel Crawford series by Diana Rowland. The series follows the adventures of Angel Crawford, a young woman who becomes a zombie and gets entangled in a world of mystery and supernatural creatures.

  • My Life as a White Trash Zombie
  • Even White Trash Zombies Get the Blues
  • White Trash Zombie Apocalypse
  • How the White Trash Zombie Got Her Groove Back
  • White Trash Zombie Gone Wild
  • White Trash Zombie Unchained

The best best zombie novels

These apocalyptic books for zombie fans represent a selection of the diverse and captivating literature and a lot of zombie books available on the zombie apocalypse theme. Whether you’re looking for thrilling action, deep explorations of human nature, or thought-provoking social commentary, these titles offer a range of perspectives on the undead and the indomitable survival skills in the face of an apocalyptic event.

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