In a world where ZOMBIES control banks and governments, only one young man sees the way things are and emerges from the CHAOS and destruction: GUY BOY MAN. While he tries to end human suffering worldwide and in his high school, Guy Boy Man meets a cute PINK-HAIRED girl named BABY DOLL15 who has a UNICORN that follows her everywhere. An EPIC ROMANCE begins, but forces BEYOND THEIR CONTROL are intent on keeping the young couple apart. One of those FORCES may--or may not be!--Guy Boy Man's closest friend, a handsome African-American NINJA named SWEETIE HONEY; another could be four EXOTICALLY BEAUTIFUL, genetically engineered and behaviourally modified EASTERN EUROPEAN girls; yet another, the principal of their HIGH SCHOOL . . . not to mention an impending standardized test known as the ZOMBIE ACCEPTANCE TEST! Will Guy Boy Man find a way to be with Baby Doll15 in a WORLD WHERE EVERYONE IS DOOMED to become either zombies or zombie food??!!
There is absolutely no way to get around the fact that this book is extremely weird. The zombies may or may not be actual zombies. The main protagonist may be a highly intelligent genius or may in fact be an idiot. To say this novel is open to interpretation may well be the largest understatement of the 21st Century so far.
If I was going to try to compare this novel to anything it would be a mash-up between the television show Todd and the Book of Pure Evil and one of those really surreal Japanese cartoons where you know some sort of story is unfolding but you're not quite sure what everything means. Marshall's writing style certainly takes a little bit of getting used to, but once I had accepted the seeming randomness of it all, it started to make a bizarre sort of sense. Everything just felt a little bit inconsistent though. Some of the moments in the story made me laugh while others fell flat. I'm a fan of strange, surreal literature and it's true that there are some moments in this novel that are absurdly magnificent, but others were just too weird even for me.
Pirate versus Ninja is undoubtedly going to split reader opinions right down the middle. Some are going to embrace the chaos and think it is the best thing since the invention of the wheel. Others will more than likely despise it with a passion and not understand it at all. Conversely, I found my own opinion flip flopping.
I've read the book from beginning to end and I'm still pondering how I feel about it. I can appreciate that the author is attempting to push boundaries when it comes to writing, there are lots of instances where he employs additional asides, plays with the meaning of words, and veers off on spectacularly odd tangents; I'm just not sure that all these attempts are entirely successful. Over using the same literary techniques again and again starts to get repetitive after a while. There are some pages where there are just so many sets of brackets I felt like my brain was slowly starting to drip out my ears. Sorry if that sounded a little harsh, but I just think it could have been reined in a bit.
It strikes me that Pirate versus Ninja is the literary equivalent of Marmite, you'll love it or you'll loathe it. Personally I'd urge you to give this a try, if you do find yourself in the group readers who connect with this story I'm sure you'll enjoy it. The only advice I can offer is that you need to prepare yourself for an epically odd, mind-bending experience.
Pirate versus Ninja featuring Zombies is published by ChiZine Publications and is released for Kindle on 15th May. There will also be a sequel, Zombie Versus Fairy Featuring Albinos.