A review of Darren Shan’s “ZOM-B Angels.”

Warning: spoiler alert; do not read if you have not read the first book of the series.

Becky Smith finds herself with a group of “Revitaliseds,” speaking, thinking undead creatures like her. We first met Revitaliseds in “ZOM-B Underground.” They are all teenagers (the reason for which we learn later, and it isn’t because the target demographic for these books is young adults!) under the tutelage of a Dr Oystein, a dapper, cultured adult Revitalised who seems to be on the side of the angels (indeed he calls his group of undead teens “Angels”). He is accompanied by characters from previous books in the series, mainly “Underground;” Reilly the bunker guard, Mr Burke the teacher, and Rage, who B loathes and distrusts after he killed a scientist and left his Revitalised compatriots for dead in “Underground.”

Together they are on a mission shaped and defined by Dr Oystein, and as B trains as an Angel in how to conduct gathering, scouting and rescue missions in London, and in martial arts under the determined Master Zhang, she begins to learn some of the origins to her condition and that of the apocalypse that has ravage the world.

This has less gore and action set pieces than its counterparts (although it has its moments), and concentrates on filling holes in the back story, bringing established characters together, and introducing us to pivotal new ones. Instead of a huge gory show down, the closing chapters relate the horror of the origins of the apocalypse. We finally learn the origin of this plague, the mutants and Mr Dowling (although only on the word of the Dr Oysetin), and it’s a satisfying piece of exposition. How far you buy into it will depend on how much you have invested in the series so far.

It’s a good and gripping read and really propels the story arc forward. As yet we do not know the origins of “Owl-man” but I have my guesses. I am definitely hooked and will carry on with this inventive and fun take on the undead.

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