Shop now Shop now Shop now Up to 70% off Fashion Shop All Amazon Fashion Cloud Drive Photos Learn More Amazon Pantry Food & Drink Beauty Shop now Shop Fire Shop Kindle Listen in Prime Shop now

  • Flu
  • Customer Reviews

Customer Reviews

4.0 out of 5 stars82
4.0 out of 5 stars
Format: PaperbackChange
Your rating(Clear)Rate this item

There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.

on 12 April 2010
Ever wondered what might happen if flu turned people into zombies? No, me neither. Now having read this feisty little tome I can see that it's a question that definitely needs asking. You see, in this tale from Wayne Simmons a flu pandemic wipes out most of civilisation, and those who die coughing up their internal organs don't stay dead. Instead they rise as cannibalistic undead, and roam the streets seeking out the few survivors to satisfy their hunger.

The streets in this particular tale of the lurching dead are those of Belfast, Northern Ireland. The run down council estates of these environs provide a perfectly bleak backdrop to the story. Peopling the remains of this environment, are those who survived the initial bout of zombie plague to serve as protagonists. They are a varied bunch and include an ex IRA gunrunner, a retired army major, and a young skinhead.

Despite the silly sounding idea of a flu pandemic causing a zombie apocalypse, I found this book to be great fun. It has a dark wit running through it, and a great punk attitude; lean, mean and full of energy. I really liked Simmons's writing style too, I found it enthusiastic and straight to the point. Some may not be so keen, however, as it's blunt and frequently involves swearing. For me the at times sardonic tone suited the story perfectly. Not that there is a great deal of obvious humour, but a dark humour permeates the narrative and dialogue.

This book is so lean it could be an advert for Weight Watchers. At 282 pages of almost non stop zombie mayhem, there is certainly no padding. Thankfully the characterisation doesn't suffer from its slightness. You know enough of what you need to know about the characters to make them interesting and rounded. As the story evolves you get a sense of the very different worlds they all inhabited before civilisation collapsed. This works really well in a Northern Irish setting as it evokes - without Simmons needing to make any explicit point - how meaningless the divisions between people are in the face of widespread catastrophe and mass death.

Further into the story we learn of threads that connect some of the protagonists to one another, although they don't all meet. Simmons also reveals a little of the events that occurred following the initial outbreak of the virus, and the response of the authorities. This is typically bleak and unforgiving, but the ideas are not really anything new. What works well is the tension created among the characters, as some suspect the involvement of others in dark deeds. Tension and mistrust amongst the surviving characters is always present. The flu virus is airborne, and unsurprisingly paranoia has become the norm. Again, I like the writing of the characters and crucially, I cared about what happened to them.

This isn't the most original book you're ever going to read. In many ways this book reminded me a lot of the film 28 Days Later. The zombies in this are not driven by rage, but by hunger, and perhaps by a need for warmth. Simmons never actually explains what is driving his zombies, there are just hints in their behaviour. This is true of many other aspects of the story as well, and when I reached the end I still had a lot of questions which hadn't been answered. This left me feeling a little unsatisfied, but because I enjoyed the book, what I really wanted was a sequel. I don't know if a sequel is planned, but it feels like it should have one. I would certainly buy it.

In summary Flu is a belligerent little number. An easy to read, action packed blast of zombie shenanigans, that I thoroughly enjoyed. Above all I found it a fun read, and unlike the zombie hordes within, it certainly wasn't brain dead. There may be a lot that's never really explained, but what remains is a highly entertaining addition to the zombie canon.
0Comment20 of 22 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 30 January 2011
I don't know what I was expecting with 'Flu', but it was better than I thought it was going to be. Really, I was drawn in by the exceptionally creepy front cover.

The characters Simmons created were realistic, but I found some had more depth than others. I particularly liked Lark, Geri and Balaclava guy (it's been a while since I read it and I can't remember his actual name). They were an interesting group of people who grow on you. I wasn't too bothered for Karen and Pat.
Also, the two cops from the prologue come back into it later and it took me ages to realise it was them! I felt kind of stupid for not realising straight away.

The book is an easy and fairly quick read (Especially after reading The Passage by Justin Cronin which is hell of a book!) and it was enjoyable and at times quite gross.

And, maybe this is just me, but the fact it was set in Belfast was kind of amusing, because it's such a random place for the end of the world to originate from.
I did enjoy the book though and it's worth reading.

0Comment2 of 2 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 27 February 2011
I bought this book randomly off Amazon as it was recommended to me. Perhaps it's just me and I've read too many books of a similar genre, but I really did find nothing special or interesting about this.. Standard plot of flu mutated, 99% of population becomes zombies, a few survivors grouped together trying to figure the whole thing out.. oh, and the army and a few old conspiracies involved. On the whole, not a bad book but not a great book - no new ground covered and nothing particularly gripping or memorable about it.. I did find it a bit of a chore to read in the middle. For a different take on the Zombie genre rather than the same old recipe, I'd recommend reading John Avide Lindqvist 'Handling the Undead'.
33 comments10 of 11 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 17 August 2010
To start off with, I liked this book, if was good enough to finish, the story and characters were engaging enough to make me want to read on. That has to be a good thing right? Though not original (lets face it Virus + Zombie = Undead Munchies and Survivors avoiding Becoming Nibbles, or, V+Z=UM-SBN as the formulae goes), that doesn't mean it's bad. As stated before, and by others, I liked this book.

However, there were some issues that I had with it. First up are the sloppy errors, unforgivable spelling and punctuation. Wayne Simmons and the team should have picked those up. The editing felt loose and flabby, given the length of the book, which brings me on to...second, the book was too short, more depth might have pulled me into the Flu world and given much more strength and feeling to the experience.

But lastly, and for me the read bug bear was the constant "as if's" it was as if the writer could not think of an alternative, as if he was struggling, oh, see, he's got me doing it now. It was very distracting. Two or three times in a chapter are repetitive enough, but two or three per paragraph, well, I ask you.

I might read it again, if only to count up the as if's. If you can cope with the errors, and the as if's, and you have the cash to spare then give it a go, myself, I wish I'd got it from the library, and saved a few quid.
0Comment8 of 9 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 3 October 2011
Well it is a zombie book with a difference in that it starts off with a flu so you have your starting cause but not the how or why the flu came about. The story splits between 3 small gatherings of survivors, 2 cops, an ex IRA man and religious young woman and 2 men who had frequent brushes with the law. As well as them we dip in and out of the goverments army men in command and divide between them with.

I didn't mind how the story started out but for me it got really silly with big inconsistancies and stupid behaviour. For example the virus is airborn yet when they are killing the zombies they are covered in gore and blood yet not getting the infection however if they bite you thats it. The army or soldiers turning on each other and the idiocy of one of them whilst carrying out his work was just insane. There are lots more but to tell you would be spoiling it.

The ending, well as with most of these books you never really get complete closure but the way this ended was just pointless unless the author is planning another in the series which explains all of the things brought up but not addressed or explored in this book. As a stand alone it gets 2/5 however if another book came out and explained more about it I might re evaluate my scoring.
0Comment1 of 1 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 1 May 2010
This one of those zombie stories that concentrates on building likable (mostly, anyway) realistic characters, ones that develop and that you care about. The zombies are ever-present but are used more as a threatening backdrop (for most of the story) rather than an overwhelming flood.

The diverse characters are thrown together and left to sort things out between themselves. This is a source of friction and tension which is maintained throughout the book, keeping you hooked. People are double-crossed, commit atrocious acts and die unexpectedly. It keeps you guessing right until the end.

Both sides of the Irish Troubles are represented by a couple of characters and this is handled very well; Wayne Simmons isn't one-sided in his portrayal of either side so there is no political bias.

The zombies are mostly Romeroesque with some subtle differences and evidence of 'evolution' in their behaviour.

It has quite an open ending that cries out for a sequel. I hope we have news soon whether this will be the case.

I thoroughly recommend this book, especially if you are a bit jaded with zombie attacks that only seem to happen in small towns in Pittsburgh.
22 comments20 of 23 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 8 February 2011
FLU is one of those novels that you really wish you starred in. Not only does it have a fantastic lead character, Lark, but is set against the backdrop of a city already rocked by unrest; Belfast. The deadly outbreak of flu that does most in every winter, has mutated into something far more deadly....

Interesting to actually have characters that represent the real people of this world, with flaws, self obsessed personalities and the desire to just bury their heads in the sand. Too many other novels depict their characters being able to lead people into battle, which to me is a rather lazy way to write, FLU manages to place ordinary people in extraordinary situations with believable outcomes and responses.

The most gripping part of this novel is its ability to tap into our worries concerning the various health scares thrown at us every winter, and how quickly any bug of this type could quickly incapacitate the nation. The believability is the fact that this could really happen, and what would we do, how would we behave ?

FLU is the first part of a series and I eagerly await the next instalment, preferably before this winter .....

Drop Dead Gorgeous
0Comment1 of 1 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 26 July 2011
This book passed the time for me and at times I was interested in what was going to happen next, but it never really grabbed me like some zombie fiction does. I like the idea of zombie fiction set a bit nearer to home - just read the excellent Zombie Apocalypse - but it still felt unrealistic and unrecognisable as Ireland.

The characters are very shallow and stereotypical, and I must admit, only a few hours after finishing the book, I am struggling to name any of the characters. It sticks quite closely to the popular concept of zombie, but then one of the characters gets ill with no real explanation or decent follow up.

The ending seems like it was leading in one direction with a reasonably good conclusion only to fall near the end and shamble over the finish line in normal zombie fashion.

This book is not a waste of money and is worth a read, just don't expect to be blown away, or to be gripping the book tightly as you turn each page with baited breath.
0Comment1 of 1 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 3 July 2012
This is your standard people stuck in a zombie apocalypse situation book except it is a rerun of all those movies you've seen and books you've read with any originality removed. It is based in Northern Ireland but apart from alluding to some of the character's sectarian past and the British military having a dubious past it doesn't develop anything out of the Northern Irish setting. The characters are thin and stereotypical either tough, soft, male or female and highly unbelievable. You won't feel anything for them. There's no real plot and the open ended ending just feels like the book finished three quarters of the way through. The worst thing about this book though is that unless you will read absolutely ANY zombie literature this piece of work is actually pretty boring, like reading the screenplay for a straight to DVD zombie film.

I wouldn't recommend it.
0Comment1 of 1 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 8 May 2010
I read and enjoyed FLU. It's well written, exciting and engaging throughout. In places, it did remind me a little of '28 Days Later', but I loved that film so that wasn't a bad thing. In fact, the influences here - primarily George Romero mixed with classic British horror - add up to something greater than the sum of their parts. The modern zombie genre is interesting in that in terms of contemporary literature, it's all happened in reverse - movies into books, rather than the other way around. Wayne Simmons proves with FLU that he is riding at the forefront of that zeitgeist, producing quality literature as well as creating a tale that obviously stems from a deep love of the genre. The result is a gripping novel that adds intelligence and depth to its honoured sources, yet easily transcends homage. No mean feat.

Simmons writes believable characters extremely well and the pace never flags. The Northern Ireland backdrop adds a real strain of authenticity to the story - a real time and place - which I also very much enjoyed. The scenes in the flat between Pat and the girl are excellent, the claustrophobia and mounting despair very well realised. As an entertaining work of zombie fiction, FLU does exactly what it says on the tin, but I got the feeling by the end of the book that Simmons is now perfectly placed to push the boundaries of the zombie genre a lot further. Simmons certainly has the talent and the skill to do that and I'd certainly read more of his stuff. I'm sure we'll be hearing a lot more from Wayne Simmons in the future and judging by the strength of FLU, that's nothing to be sniffed at.
0Comment5 of 6 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse

Customers also viewed these items


Send us feedback

How can we make Amazon Customer Reviews better for you?
Let us know here.