Tag Archives: zombies

Broxo (Graphic Novel)

Author/Illustrator: Zack Giallongo

My rating: 3 of 5

Warrior princess Zora has left her home without her family’s knowledge, traveling to the distant land of the Perytons, hoping to win an alliance for their peoples. But she arrives to find a land deserted and desolate . . . or, well, deserted except for the monsters and zombies that keep trying to eat her. Then this boy shows up, all full of attitude, saves her life then just walks away with his huge monster/pet. Obviously, Zora’s going to follow him in an attempt to get some answers. But the boy, Broxo, who boldly calls himself king of the land, either has no answers or is unwilling to offer any. Clearly, something strange is going on here, and despite being warned to leave, Zora’s not about to go without getting to the root of what’s happened here.

For first impressions, Broxo wasn’t a bad graphic novel, but it didn’t really grip me or win my affections either. It’s got a fairly contemporary graphic novel style, as opposed to a classic comic book or a manga style. The visuals work, for the most part, although I must confess that it took me a moment to realize that Zora was actually a girl. In general, the style is just kind of more “boyish” if you will, rougher lines, strong movement, that sort of thing. If this were a manga, it would be distinctly shounen. The colorization supports that same feeling, although this is definitely intentional, with dark, neutral colors being dominant in this desolate place. The characters, again, weren’t bad but didn’t particularly win me over either. Partially, this is because the reader is dumped into the story at a point where everything is happening to the characters, but you’ve got no backstory, no reason to relate to the characters, nothing. So I didn’t really feel for their situation like I should have, at least not until much later in the story. Zora and Broxo’s relations with each other were weird, too–at one point awkwardly distant, at another fighting or working alongside each other as if they’d known each other for years. I guess part of that may be intentional, since they do seem to be at that awkward age where emotions and social skills are just all over the place anyhow, but it still made their relationship kind of hard to understand. And the whole mystery thing was weird, although some of the adventure parts of the story were interesting in a shounen sort of way. So yeah, Broxo definitely isn’t my favorite graphic novel ever, but it wasn’t especially bad either. . . .

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Cell

Author: Stephen Kingcell

My rating: 4.5 of 5

Clay Riddell has finally gotten his big break, signing a ridiculously good deal for his comic Dark Wanderer as well as a sequel. But his euphoria doesn’t get a chance to last for long as the world around him seems to go mad in a matter of minutes. People lose all appearance of reason, attacking each other, biting, running cars into buildings and people. In the following days, as Clay manages to make contact with a few normal people, it becomes apparent that this madness is linked to using a cell phone . . . and these days, who doesn’t use one? Distraught and desperate, Clay and his new companions, Tom and Alice, begin making their way across country in an attempt to reach Clay’s estranged wife and son–while doing their best to avoid run-ins with those who have come to be known as “phoners”. Especially as the phoners’ behavior becomes increasingly concerning and odd.

Stephen King is an amazing author, and while Cell is probably not my favorite of his books, it is certainly both an exciting and a thought-provoking read. It actually reminds me a great deal of Patterson’s Zoo, only better in every aspect. The idea of someone hacking the cell phone system is both chilling and just possible enough to get under the reader’s skin, however improbable the reprogramming of millions of people’s brains using such a signal is. I admired that King limited the story, kept it to a select group of individuals, kept the reader from knowing everything that’s going on, and never revealed the actual source of the problem. It made Clay and his companions’ experience seem much more present and real, more emotionally gripping. And this is certainly an emotionally loaded story, full of adrenaline and horror and sorrow and worry, but also of affection and laughter and joy, surprisingly enough. I enjoyed the characters and found that each brought something indispensable to the story. On a much more detailed note, I loved the allusions to Clay’s comic and his attention to signage and fonts (which is carried through by using different fonts in the text at key moments); I just found that this added a nice extra touch of character development. For those interested in a chilling cyberpunk zombie story that’s a bit open-ended, I think Cell is a great choice, one I would certainly recommend.

 

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iZombie (2015 TV series)

izombieThe CW

My rating: 5 of 5

Warning: Mature Audience (16+)

Medical resident Olivia Moore’s life takes a drastic turn when a boating party she attends goes crazy, leaving most of the party-goers dead . . . and Liv with a taste for brains. To cope with her new undeath, Liv distances herself from everyone close to her and takes up a job in the morgue–what better place to find a ready supply of brains? But she can’t keep her secret from everyone; soon her (amazing) boss Ravi discovers her secret and, instead of freaking out (except in a purely scientific and nerdy kind of way), becomes Liv’s accomplice, ally, and friend. And along the way, Liv discovers something that may just lend some meaning to her life–when she eats someone’s brain, she re-lives some of their memories (as well as taking on some of their personality traits). Useful when you’re trying to solve that someone’s murder.

Okay, no summary of this show is ever going to do the story true justice. It’s amazing, truly. I love that iZombie defies any normal explanation, any attempt to shove it into a genre. Because it’s so much more than your typical show. It’s part cop show, part romantic comedy, part nerdy drama, part paranormal but with a scientific/geeky twist. All inspired (loosely) by a comic series and all executed with aplomb by an incredible cast and infused with the perfect amount of humor and sass. The acting is phenomenal, and the characters are spot on, every single one. Of particular note is Rose McIver’s brilliant work on Liv’s role; the way in which she pulls characteristics from each of the brains Liv eats while still maintaining Liv as a cohesive character in herself throughout is phenomenal–at least on par with Eliza Dushku’s execution of Echo in Dollhouse. I also really enjoy the way Blaine’s character is being developed, going from villain to . . . I’m not quite sure, maybe awkward family member? It reminds me of Spike in Buffy or Crowley in Supernatural, that kind of change, it’s really nice and I’m interested to see where it goes. On that note, the show is currently ongoing at two seasons (with a huge cliffhanger ending on season 2) and a third season due for release next year. The only caution I have regarding this series is that it is definitely a more mature show–sex, violence, language, etc.–so I would recommend at least a 16+ audience. But seriously, iZombie is a show that I would recommend giving a chance even if you don’t think it looks like your sort of thing . . . I had no interest until my brother forced me to watch it, and I’m super grateful that he did.

Developed by Rob Thomas & Diane Ruggiero-Wright/Based on the comic by  Chris Roberson & Michael Allred/Starring Rose McIver, Malcolm Goodwin, Rahul Kohli, Robert Buckley, David Anders, & Aly Michalka/Music by Josh Kramon/Produced by Rob Thomas, Diane Ruggiero-Wright, Dan Etheridge, & Danielle Stokdyk

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Warm Bodies

Author: Isaac Marionwarm bodies

My rating: 3 of 5

He can’t remember being alive. Can’t remember who he was, the people he knew, or even his own name, except for maybe the first letter of it was “R”–that’s what he goes by when he’s called anything. Whatever he was, not R is part of the problem that’s destroying the earth, an inevitable, creeping undeath afflicting the human race. Not that he’s very philosophical about all that besides aimlessly collecting old records when he can find them. Mostly he’s just there, except for when the need for life energy pushes him to hunt down the living–not that he’s particularly philosophical about that either. But on one hunt, when R eats the brain of a boy, he vicariously experiences numerous memories of one living human girl . . . Julie. Who just happens to be in the same room and in extreme danger of being eaten herself. Surprisingly, instead of turning around and doing just that, R finds himself inexplicably protecting her, taking her back to his secret place. And in the nearness of Julie, R finds something happening in himself that can only be described as miraculous. . . .

I wasn’t sure what to expect when I picked up Warm Bodies. Zombie story, obviously, but those come in all shapes and colors, you know? This one turns out to be a fun little paranormal romance, so if you’re into that genre, this story’s a pretty sure hit. Personally, I enjoyed it, although it wasn’t life-changingly stunning or anything like that. Probably the best part of it is the way the author described being a zombie from R’s own perspective–effective while also making it quickly apparent that R is not your average zombie. The zombies Marion depicts here are your slow, inevitable, relatively stupid variety, with a few quirks unique to this story. Pretty chilling for sure. Julie is a good match for the story, with enough guts and personality to brighten the dull landscape. There’s a nice blend of plot between the survival aspect, the change the world aspect, and the romance itself. Where the story  fell a bit flat for me is in the explanation the author picked for how and why the zombie problem started and spread to begin with–and flowing from that, how the problem is solved. Don’t get me wrong, it works with the plot and works well. But it was one of those situations where it’s nearly impossible to suspend my disbelief enough to appreciate what’s happening in the plot. But then, the romance and the way everything works with R and Julie was always the point of the story, not the particular zombie mechanics. So, for what it is–a zombie paranormal romance–Warm Bodies works well and is a cute/creepy story that I would recommend for those who enjoy the genre. Just be warned: gory anatomical pictures at the chapter heads . . . just saying.

 

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Zombies vs. Unicorns

zombies vs unicornsTeam Zombie Editor: Justine Larbalestier/Team Unicorn Editor: Holly Black

My rating: 3.5 of 5

One of the great, longstanding arguments of this century is which is better: zombies or unicorns? Okay, maybe not, but it’s a longstanding debate between authors Justine Larbalestier and Holly Black. To help their readers decide once and for all, they’ve assembled an outstanding group of young adult fantasy/science fiction writers to tell the stories of these creatures.

This is quite a broad collection–the stories range from killer unicorns that eat people to zombie romances, and everything in between. It’s fascinating to see how many different ideas people have for what is, supposedly, the same creature. Overall, Zombies vs. Unicorns is an intriguing and enjoyable collection of stories, although it’s definitely geared to a modern young-adult audience and, as such, contains more sex, drugs, etc. that I really care for personally. Still, if you’re interested in knowing for sure which fantastic creature is better, Zombies vs. Unicorns would certainly be the recommended way to decide.

Team Zombie Authors: Libba Bray, Alayda Dawn Johnson, Cassandra Clare, Maureen Johnson, Scott Westerfeld, Carrie Ryan/Team Unicorn Authors: Kathleen Duey, Meg Cabot, Garth Nix, Margo Lanagan, Naomi Novik, Diana Peterfreund

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