Read most of this book in one sitting, it was so good.
It had just as many great twists as the first Zom-B but was more fast-paced and scarier. Plus it introduced a truly scary new character (who promises to feature prominently in the next in the series) as well as a lot of mystery and many questions I can't wait to dive into the next installment to have answered.
Underground takes off where Zom-B left us. I don't really want to say anymore in case I spoil it, but this book has given me high hopes for the series - much more so than the first did.
I still had issues with actively disliking Becky (and at one point I outright hated her), but she does redeem herself (in my opinion) a little towards the end. I think it's a real credit to Shan as a writer that I loved this book so much and the series in general despite the unlikable protagonist.
an't wait for Zom-B City to come out in March.
on 4 January 2013
WARNING: This review will contain spoilers for Zom-B, the first book in Darren Shan's new series. Seriously, if you have not yet read that book then you should click away from this review right now.
Waking up in a military complex, months after zombies attacked school, B has no memory of the last few months. Life in the UK has turned tough since the outbreak, and B is woven into life- and battle- in the new military regime quickly. But as B learns more about the zombies held in the complex and the scientists keeping them captive, unease settles in. Why exactly was B saved? And is there anyone left in the world to trust?
With Zom-B Darren Shan left himself a seriously difficult act to follow. Those two twists towards then end have had everybody talking (and if you say you guessed both of them then I'm sorry, I simply do not believe you). That twist regarding B made me feel guilty for making assumptions about the character, something I am sure Darren was trying to achieve with his readers. And then he followed it up with B being savaged by the zombies that were rampaging through the school. Way to kill off what we were led to assume was a main character! Or did he?
OK, it isn't creating a spoiler to say that no he did not kill off B. She is alive (sort of) and well (ok, maybe not glowing with health), and wakes to find herself in some kind of large room, surrounded by zombies who are facing up to a team of figures dressed in black leather and motorcycle helmets, wielding spears and flamethrowers. She soon discovers that she is a prisoner in an underground military complex, and no longer human. In fact, she is a zombie herself, although not one of the mindless brain munchers (known as reviveds). Instead she is one of the revitaliseds, having retained her intelligence, memories and the morals/conscience that we saw developing in the first book. Unfortunately for B she also has zombie fangs, sharp bones sticking out from her fingers, hair that won't grow and the inability to sleep.
The powers that be have no idea why some people become revitaliseds, so for the time being B is a glorified lab rat. AT the same time, they keep B and the other revitaliseds completely in the dark as to the state of play above ground, so they have no idea if the county and/or rest of the world has been taken over by zombies, or whether it was a small outbreak of a mysterious disease that the authorities now have under control (considering there are another ten books to come in this series, I'll leave you to guess which is the more likely scenario). Before the end of this second instalment we begin to work out that B and her new 'friends', despite being signed up members of the undead, and far from the villains of the piece. And we also discover that there are far more nasty things than zombies emerging from the pen of Darren Shan. Have a close look at the cover of the third book, Zom-B City, although if clowns creep you out then perhaps you shouldn't (yes, that is an eyeball on its nose).
Like many Shan-fans I expected Zom-B to be full of gore, and apart from the opening and closing chapters, I was wrong. However, the blood splatter is back with a vengeance in Zom-B Underground, with possibly some of Darren's most gory and violent scenes to date. It should be remembered though that this is a YA series, and Darren is writing for a slightly older audience than he did with his vampire and Demonata series. As with the first book in the series the author continues to make his readers think, with the continued themes of racism and bigotry. This was introduced in the first book, with B agonising over the attitudes of her father, and how much of her own personality was due to his nurturing. In this book Shan cleverly continues the 'debate', but this time it is the zombies, and more specifically B and the revitaliseds on the receiving end of abuse, bigotry and intolerance from their human captors.
Two books in and this series is shaping up to be an absolute cracker, with Darren Shan at the very top of his writing game. Zom-B City is scheduled to be published in May, and two more instalments later in 2013. If you know a teen boy who loves horror films and games, but is a reluctant reader, then these are a sure fire way of getting him turning those pages. I for one can't wait to read the next instalment as I have far too many clown and Owl Man related questions I need answering.
on 9 March 2013
I've always liked apocalypse type stories that try and tell another side of it. When I heard about a series focusing on the life of a zombie I jumped at the chance to read such a thing. Now the second book's around I'm hooked on it and am already pre-ordering the third.
Unfortunately, while they are great to read I have the same gripe as some others about size. I got through this book in less than three hours, a single sitting, and felt disappointed. At least it didn't end abruptly like some other cliff-hanger books.
Overall, it's been a good series so far and I'd recommend it to fans of the zombie-horror crowd or those who are getting bored of the massive overuse of zombies in all media recently. It definitely doesn't play out like a standard zombie story. So, apart from the length, I have no problems though I do appreciate the fact that Shan finds this the best way to deliver it.
on 12 January 2013
I have read the entire book and it was fantastic. I'll keep this simple as anything could spoil the plot to anyone yet to read it. I enjoyed the first book of this new series (Zom-B) and was very excited for this one, wondering what has happened to B and if they are still alive. Darren Shan gives a helpful opening which refreshes us on whjat happened in the first book and sets the stage well for Zom-B Underground. This book introduces a new set of characters from soldiers to other teeneagers and scientists and the plot is much grittier than the first. With a good story, well-written charcaters and enough things to get you thinking, Underground does not fail to not only gets the series going but also gives more depth and detail to it after the sort of introduction the first book was.
I reccomend it if you enjoyed the first and I will definately be reading the next book Zom-B City.
on 26 May 2013
I chose this rating because it is simply fabulous with all the things a horror freak like me wants. I would not recommend it to anyone under the age of 11 as it is very gory even more gory than than the first one. I could not stop reading this as I was always wondering what would happen next as every word was a cliff hanger. It is also a very quick read. One of his finest yet!!!!
on 8 June 2014
***SPOILERS FOR BOOK ONE IN THE SERIES!!!***
I’ve been a long time fan of Darren Shan’s writing. I remember picking the first few titles from the Vampire’s Assistant series when I was at the beginning of my university days and devouring them. He’s the undisputed master of teen horror and the Zom-B series is Shan at his absolute horrifying best.
I read and loved Zom-B, the first book, last year so feel free to take a look at my review here, if you are so inclined! After enjoying Zom-B so much I was hoping the second installment, Zom-B Underground, would be just as enjoyable and I’m really excited to say this one is even better and bloodier than book one. Isn’t it brilliant when a series just gets better and better?
In Zom-B Underground we learn a lot more about the zombies and how they came to be, as well as getting an insight into how the country is dealing with the outbreak, though I’m sure this is going to be explored in a lot more depth in further installments. The potential for this series is phenomenal and I’m so excited to see what Shan does with the next ten books. There’s so much scope for the Zom-B series to explore the origin and ongoing effects of the zombie outbreak and Shan does hint at this in Zom-B Underground.
B goes from strength to strength and really grows as a character throughout this installment, an admirable feat of writing when you consider just how much B changed in book one alone. To compare the moral, heroic B we see in Zom-B Underground to the sullen, angry teen in Zom-B just goes to show how fantastic Shan is at characterisation.
Aside from B we are introduced to a few new characters in Zom-B Underground, who are some of the most memorable figures I’ve come across in a while, especially Josh and Rage. They may not be the most pleasant characters but you sure as hell won’t forget them in a hurry. One of Shan’s greatest strengths is creating believable, flawed characters and this is certainly true for the cast of Zom-B Underground.
I absolutely can’t mention characters without touching on Mr Dowling, who is one of the most utterly horrifying creations in YA horror. I won’t reveal too much about him but he’s the complete embodiment of everybody’s childhood fears. I like to think of myself as a hardened horror fan (though I love a good scare) and, gee whizz, he freaked me out.
Despite only being two books in, the Zom-B series has become known for its twists and surprise revelations throughout the story. The twists in Zom-B will BLOW YOUR MIND and I wasn’t sure that anything in Zom-B Underground would be able to shock me as much. However! While the ending of Zom-B Underground isn’t as much of an outward surprise as book one it really stayed with me afterwards and I love the choices that Shan made.
The ending of this one felt so filmic; it’s completely different but it reminded me of how I felt the first time I watched the ending of Saw (yes, the franchise went to s*** but the first one is still brilliant). I thought I knew where things were going, I thought it was a well-executed but fairly run of the mill horror and then OMG HUGE GIANT CURVEBALL. EPIC MUSIC. DRAMA. WHAT IS GOING ON? And that is also how I felt at the climax of Zom-B Underground. All it needs is some epic music played over the top (I’m thinking Clubbed to Death?) and you have yourselves a book blockbuster, folks.
on 23 October 2013
B had a hard life and death certainly isn't proving any easier. Raised by a violent racist father, plagued by moral uncertainties and in serious danger of failing to gain any GCSEs, a zombie apocalypse could perhaps have brought a little life relief to B's life but that's unfortunately not how things turned out.
Following the events of last year's Zom-B, B is well and truly dead (and has a gaping hole in the chest instead of a beating heart to illustrate the point) but is far from resting in peace. Indeed, in Zom-B Underground poor B has to adjust to life as a member of the rampaging undead. Well, maybe not rampaging exactly since being killed by having your still beating heart ripped from your chest would put a dampener on anyone's mood, but B is certainly still a walking, talking member of society despite an absence of life per se.
However, while the majority of zombies that are trundling the streets of London are concerned with nothing more than killing folk and munching on brains, B seems to have retained her original personality and powers of reason. This puzzles both B and the team of military scientists that have imprisoned B in a hi-tech underground bunker. It turns out that B is not the only teen to escape full conversion into a mindless zombie and so the scientists have rounded up a group of these "revitaliseds" in order to see if they can be of any use against the more common or garden variety zombies. In Zom-B Underground B therefore has to adapt to a new lifeless status while figuring out how to get along with the other zom-heads (that's what the cool kids are calling the revitalised) and what the scientists might ultimately want from them.
Zom-B Underground is a grisly, brutally realistic account of life as a conflicted zombie. B is arguably far nicer as a zombie than as a person but is still far from being a saint. B does now seem have a lot more difficulty picking on zombies than when picking on school nerds and racial minorities in Zom-B but ultimately still has a serious temper and some major killing skills. Perhaps losing a heart caused B to gain some humanity? It's a weighty question that doesn't really get discussed but may crop up again later in the series.
One thing is for certain though, even in undead society, B is still an outsider. While B and the other zom-heads have retained their mental faculties in a way that the regular zombies have not, B seems to be the only one able to control her bloodlust. The rest of the gang that B is matched up with positively revel in torturing and killing regular zombies and so Zom-B Underground is often a real splatterfest. Despite taking place entirely in a supposedly secure, controlled bunker, in Zom-B Underground the high body count from Zom-B is maintained. It's not wise to get to attached to any of Darren Shan's characters.
There is a lot of action, fighting and extreme eating involved in Zom-B Underground but ultimately not a great deal happens. B gets to grow as a zombie character, there is a tiny bit of insight into the government's response to the zombie crisis, and a Machiavellian potential Big Bad is introduced. All of these elements could have been developed much more but, perhaps unsurprisingly as it is only book two in a planned twelve book series, Zom-B Underground doesn't get stuck into the details of anything. Hopefully future Zom-B books will have more depth to them since it has the potential to be an excellent, gory series.
on 20 April 2013
As an avid 'Darren Shan' fan my son loves this new 'Zom-b' series of books. I purchased the first one from a high-street retailer at full price '£7.99' for the paperback since then i've purchased the next two books from amazon both were less than £7.00 for the hardback and free next day delivery. Who could ask for more???
My 14 yr old son thinks these are the best books ever and he owns almost every book wriiten by Darren Shan
so he should know....
on 5 February 2013
Since I was a boy and my cousin recommended the Cirque du freak series, I've been hooked! Although lacking a little bit in terms of quantity and quality compared to the Demonata series and the predecessor, it's still very, very good. I bought it, it came in a day, I read it in a day, I got sad because I have to wait 3 months for the next one. The book's great and the speed of the service and quality of the product were great.
on 5 January 2013
Amazing, huge fan of Shan, and follow in his first boo is another which is just a good. To be fully honest I was disappointed in the begin due to way it began and I didn't like the what happens to B (SPOILER) an turns into a zom head but, going further into the book I enjoyed it further more