When I was first tasked with reviewing Zombie Attack: Book One: Rise of the Horde I knew all of three things; it was a young adult horror, it was the first of a 3 part series and an American dude called Devan Sagliani wrote it.
Oh, and it has a front cover that looked like something from the cover of a Megadeth or Iron Maiden album! (This is not a bad thing, the cover is pretty cool)!
In a way, I’m quite glad I didn’t have anything else to go on for this book because I genuinely had no idea what to expect when I started reading other than the involvement of zombies. As the book was in electronic format, I also didn’t have a synopsis, so I have provided a brief summary below.
The story surrounds a young man named Xander, a 16 year old left with a large group of survivors at an air force base by his older brother, Moto, who has left to fulfil his role in the armed forces. Set in present day, in the United States, the book takes place after the initial outbreak just as a Zombie horde move through the base, destroying it. Trained in the martial arts by Moto. Xander uses his skills and his sword to escape the Horde with 12-year-old orphan Benji in tow, and heads out to track down his brother. As they travel across the country they find themselves battling against more than just the walking dead as they come up against white supremacists, biker gangs, cannibals, and religious cults.
This book is most certainly a coming of age tale, while it’s backdrop may be a zombie outbreak the story centres on Xander and his interactions with the human survivors. While there is a lot of action, it is these interactions that have the biggest impact on Xander and Benji’s experience and is where the story really lies. The horror in the book is represented by the threat of the human survivors just as much as the zombie horde and while this is something that is used a lot in zombie/post-apocalyptic tales, it is used particularly well in this book.
Zombie Attack! Book One: Rise of the Horde is an easy read. It’s not overly complicated, you don’t need a dictionary at hand to read it and if you are reading it on the way to and from work it’s very easy to pick up from where you left off. It may be aimed at young adults but it also suitable for adults. Often when I was reading it I would forget that Xander was meant to be 16, as his actions and thoughts often reflected an older mindset. Of course, there are points where Xander acts and reacts exactly as a 16 year old should, particularly when he is around the opposite sex.
Sagliani’s characters are very believable and due to his vivid descriptions of the settings and violence that takes place in the book, I found that I could really get into the story, picturing every scene. What stood out about this book was how much I actually found myself eager to find out what would happen next, while the first few chapters were a bit slow I found that I really cared about what happened to Xander and Benji and that really made the book for me. I find it very hard to enjoy a book if I don’t really care about what is happening and this was definitely not the case for Zombie Attack! Rise of the Horde.
I really enjoyed reading Zombie Attack! Book One: Rise of the Horde, and as it is part one of a series I will be tracking down Book 2: The Hungry Dead very soon. While I would definitely recommend this book for teenage horror fans, if you are looking for a good story and don’t have a lot of time, or want a horror book to read before bed that won’t give you nightmares then this book is for you!