The final instalment of Shan’s compulsive 12 book ‘Zom-B’ serial is a heady brew.
It piles betrayal on betrayal until the undead, feisty teenage protagonist is driven to take the mother of all drastic steps. What follows is a game-changing development that you will not have seen coming. It’s not a ‘twist’, per-se, more of a huge step in an unexpected direction, that nevertheless has imaginative and narrative integrity with what has gone before.
The gory set pieces and sudden and brutal offing of familiar characters, hallmarks of the series, continues to the end. And as usual Shan’s monster’s gallery of mutants is deliriously entertaining, from the flying, piranha tooted ‘babies’ to the horror clown of Mr Dowling. Not to mention the clawed, long toothed brain munching zombies themselves.
The writer also develops political themes on apathy and activism he began to explore in the first book with B and her racist father and her initial reluctance to challenge him, and where that leads. Here this is applied to the apathy and indifference to society as a whole to the injustices and evils in its midst, and where that leads.
Warren Pleece’s narrations have also been a welcome addition in the series. They remind me of the black ink illustrations to the original Doctor Who ‘Target’ novelisations. Simple yet effective snapshots of the action to compare with your own imaginings.
The whole series is great for young adults and older adults alike, and it’s great to see it brought to such a non cop-out conclusion.