World War Z: An Oral History of the Zombie War by Max Brooks
3.5 out of 5
I liked this book but it wasn’t quite what I was expecting. If I had to choose between a three of a four it would get a four without question. The novel is a fictitious compilation of interviews from numerous survivors of the Zombie War, referred to as World War Z. I didn’t realise this was going to be the format but when I started reading, it didn’t matter. I thought it was great. Finally, I thought, a serious zombie novel that will deliver. I was kinda… right.
The peculiar structure of having an entire novel made up of interviews was great. I think it was the most interesting way to retell the history of this war without choosing the narrative. It gave the story a professional edge. The interviews were so different, so varied and provided vital segments of information, like a puzzle, which completed the picture of what happened during World War Z. Max Brooks did a fantastic job shaping the distinct voices of each interviewee.
While I believe Brooks did a great job at what he did, I would have preferred a “regular” story. The narrative. The first third of the book I adored. I read it eagerly and fell in love with certain interviews. After the the third I felt a bit… disheartened. It wasn’t because Brooks writing weakened or even the story, but the vital pulse of the story – climax, didn’t exist. There were mini climaxes within the interviews and while the history was dramatic and had climaxes, I didn’t feel that build as a story. It still felt like I was reading a collection of interviews, or a bunch of mini stories. Nothing sustained.
I started to skim read, skip interviews that weren’t as interesting but I read the last couple. It was a great novel if you want to read one written with interviews, it gave it a “historic” edge, like this COULD be a historic document about the zombie war. The plot is slow burning, there isn’t a sudden rush, and I need that rush. I heard the novel is being turned into a movie, I can’t wait. I think that the novel will be much more effective as a movie.
I recommend this novel, even if it’s to try because it won’t please all. If it had a sustained plot climax, this book would have easily been a 5 out of 5. I loved the story. I loved the characters. I loved the detail. I loved the writing style. I just… felt like the execution could have been improved.
Have you read World War Z? What did you think of Brook’s storytelling choice? Have you ever read a book compiled of interviews? A good choice or bad?
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