Wednesday, October 8, 2014

RrraaAAWWrrrr (Or: Why Zombies?)



I've discovered somethings strange about my reading habits:  I absolutely never read horror because I'm a weenie pants...but apparently I love zombies.

This isn't limited to my reading habits. I don't watch scary movies, but over the years almost every scary movie I've ended up stumbling upon by accident (or by force) have been zombie ones. I'm not sure if my tolerance for zombie movies has eased the path for my love for zombie books or if it's the other way around, but either way I find it curious. Perhaps I can handle zombies better because they are another form of an apocalypse, and I do tend to love my apocalyptic storylines.


But why zombies? I mean there are loads of reasons why I CLEARLY shouldn't like them

1. My inability to handle anything remotely scary (admittedly, I usually have a good week of zombie dreams after encountering them in stories. But they're more adventure than terror?)
2. My inability to handle anything graphic even if it isn't supposed to be scary. (Guys. I can't even watch Bones right now. Anytime they get to a gross part I have to mute the tv and look away from the screen)
3. It's a zombie apocalypse. It's usually really bleak. Did I mention how long I usually procrastinate when I know a book is going to be depressing?
4. It's probably unhealthy for me to get this obsessed with survival techniques and government conspiracies.
5. The more I read/watch zombie things, the more I am 100% certain that it would be a miracle if I managed to survive past the first wave. I don't run. I don't kill anything.  ANYTHING.  Those giant gross roaches? I put them outside. My mortal enemies? (Aka house centipedes. Seriously.  These things are freaking TERRIFYING) Nope, not even them. So giant decaying people? Not likely.


So...what's the appeal here? I have a few theories.

1. I see zombie apocalypses as an equivalent of situations like we have in West Africa right now. That and crazy mob/survivalist situations. I'm obsessed about trying to plan for these situations.
2. My love for government conspiracies.
3. ...you know the more I'm thinking about this, there's clearly something wrong with me. Who thinks about these sorts of things all the times in preparation for a situation like that?!
4. I've just read some REALLY phenomenal books, and they have happened to be zombie ones.



Sabriel (The Old Kingdom, #1)Lirael (The Old Kingdom, #2)Abhorsen (The Old Kingdom, #3)


Growing up, the Abhorsen trilogy by Garth Nix was one of my absolute favourite series of ALL TIME. (Clariel!!! So soon!! I'm FREAKING OUT.)  It's definitely not your traditional way of zombie telling. In a way, it's the perfect combination of everything I love - zombies, fantasy, hint of romance, awesome side characters, great character arcs, and straight up badass heroines. And how awesome is it to combine magic and zombies? It's also the only zombie series I've read that doesn't have a medical reason behind the zombies (or an implied one). It also has fairly sentient zombies, in that the head zombie is well...there's a head zombie. So while this book falls on the edges of traditional zombie telling, really the only qualification needed to be a zombie book is undead things.  



Feed (Newsflesh Trilogy, #1)Deadline (Newsflesh Trilogy, #2)Blackout (Newsflesh Trilogy, #3)


The Newsflesh Trilogy is what really set me off on the zombie obsession. Meg gave this to me as my Secret Santa present last year, and as the first books I read this year, they still stand in my top ten books of the year - in fact, they might even be my #1 choice for this year. If I thought that zombie books were going to be purely action packed with little character development or world building, this series completely proved me wrong. I can not emphasize enough how AMAZING this series is. The author makes some really shocking choices - and then commits to them. I've never been so impressed and surprised at the same time (excepting Queen Sarah J. Maas of course). If there is one zombie book to try, this series is IT.



The Forest of Hands and Teeth (The Forest of Hands and Teeth, #1)The Dead-Tossed Waves (The Forest of Hands and Teeth, #2)The Dark and Hollow Places (The Forest of Hands and Teeth, #3)


Technically I've only read the first book in this trilogy, but I've got the next two checked out so hopefully remedy that soon.  If you want your feelings spared at all, this is definitely not the series for you. It's why I haven't finished the trilogy yet - ordinarily I would just read straight through (although I am pleased to say that the first book at least reads like a stand alone and I LOVE the way it ended), but after the first book I definitely can't read these at work.  YOU try explaining to people who walk in the door that "No, no I'm fine, just one of my favourite characters was just killed by a zombie". 

This is just as action packed as the other series, but it's also a lot more reflective, and the way the romance is treated is amazing. When I first picked up the book I was ready to roll my eyes, but as the book develops it's just...I don't want to spoil things, but even if you roll your eyes for the first few chapters, give this book a chance. The relationships - family, friends, and love interests are messy and complicated, and that isn't diminished by the fact that they are fighting for their lives. It's basically a perfect balance for me - definitely action packed, but some of the best and most drastic character growth I've seen in a long, long time.


Hey guess what? Don't google zombie images if you want one for your blog.  #Nightmaresforever.  Also I just realized it's October, aka the perfect month to post about zombies. Look at my subconscious, it's got everything covered for me!  And man this was a long post even after I cut a ton out of it...sorry!  (I may have run at 5:30 this morning so I wasn't late to work. It's clearly messed with the natural order of things and now my brain is out of control.  MAKE IT STOP.)  

Thoughts on zombies? Favourite zombie books I should read?  Shoot! (But remember, only head shots kill zombies.  Friendly reminder of the day).

15 comments:

  1. I'm totally the opposite. I love reading horror novels (big fan of Stephen King) and watch horror movies. And my favorite tv series right now is full of zombies - the Walking Dead :)

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  2. *shudders* I cried myself to sleep after reading Misery - the ONLY Stephen King novel I've ever read (and likely ever read). And oh my god I freaking have nightmares just from pictures of The Walking Dead. I want to watch it SO BADLY because I think I'd love a lot of aspects of it (same for AHS) but I just....nope. Nightmares.

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  3. You have just completely made my day. ZOMBIE BOOK REOCMMENDATIONS!!! I love zombie books, but I've read a woefully small amount. I'm not shy about creepy or horror books either, so that's not a biggie for me. But I loooove the apocalyptic theories and the conspiracies and the freakiness. I think about apocalypse a LOT and how I would survive and stuff. It's just super interesting. And I had nooo idea that Garth Nix series was about zombies! I'm totally adding all of these on Goodreads. XD

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  4. Huh. I never would have considered The Abhorsen trilogy as zombie novels, but now you've pointed it out, it makes sense! Although I can barely remember it, I do recall Sabriel being my favourite (now I want to re-read it again. Naturally.)

    I don't read much horror, although I do read some things that are classified as horror (I don't think they are - like the Sookie Stackhouse novels which are so terrible they're good until the last couple and then they're just bad - sorry, tangent.) I'm here for vampire and vampire related things that aren't Anne Rice novels (I tried, I can't).



    I don't watch horror movies unless it's broad daylight...have you seen Cabin in the Woods? I'm going to assume no, but if ridiculous horror ever takes your fancy...;)

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  5. Yeah I think those are actually the grand total of ALL the zombie books I've ever read, so I guess it's lucky they're awesome?! Oh wait! I forgot about the Aguirre trilogy, which is also pretty good.


    And oh good I feel like less of a weirdo for contemplating society's impending doom in the form of zombies (or like a billion other ways the world can end. DOOOOOM)


    I have to say as Wattle points out below - I didn't really consider them zombie books until fairly recently. I mean not that I don't think you shouldn't totally read them because they are fantastic, but they don't read like zombie novels with apocalyptic government conspiracy shenanigans.


    In any case, happy zombie hunting!

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  6. This is hilarious. I hate the whole zombie genre. Although, in my mind there is a difference between the "risen dead" (a la Nix) and "zombies". I think the part that freaks me out is the contagion part of it. I have a really hard time reading books about everyone dying of some disease and "zombism" falls into that category for me. *SHUDDER*

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  7. Also, if you want to be freaked out about a world wide pandemic and zombies, then read World War Z. Ugh.

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  8. Loved this post! Especially this bit: "Did I mention how long I usually procrastinate when I know a book is going to be depressing?"- I thought I was the only one who did that! *looks over uneasily at Prodigy and Champion*


    I think the next time I want to read a zombie story I will come back to this post. I also want to read Rot & Ruin soon, which got a movie deal. (Have you read Zombies vs. Unicorns yet? I can't help but recommend that to everyone I meet. Oops.)

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  9. You know I'm not sure I've read a zombie book though, as you know, I have been meaning to get on the Abhorsen trilogy for multiple ages now. My only really connection with zombies is realizing that if a zombie apocalypse happens I am pretty much immediately dead - I run slow and not for very long, and I do not make good decisions under pressure. I've offered myself as a human shield to some of my more survival likely friends:). I do have two dogs but they would be more likely to try and befriend the zombies than doing any kind of defense. I'm just going to hope this never happens.

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  10. I think Shannon has a point, with there being a difference between zombies and risen dead, as the series has a very different feel and set up. (But zombies sound cooler so I am unapologetic about my choices lol). Lirael was always my favourite though - so much Dog and Mogget!! (Plus angsty teenage me looooved Lirael lol) Hmm maybe I'll reread that while I'm at work...


    Vampires and I...we have a complicated relationship. I have absolutely LOVED vampire books - Scott Westerfeld's Peeps and Robin McKinley's Sunshine to name a couple - but for the most part they're just not my thing. (Really paranormal as a whole genre isn't usually my thing). It seems to work for me if it turns the tropes of the genre on their heads or if it's treated scientifically. And oh my god I HATE HATE HATE Anne Rice. I'm with you - I tried, and I just can't.


    Cabin in the Woods is something I'm definitely planning on trying - it's Joss Whedon after all!

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  11. I think you're right! I haven't read enough books with the dead rising in them to have a good feel for different categories, but it definitely makes sense. World War Z is on my list - I'm not sure the format will work for me, but it's definitely on my list.


    See, that's what I love about zombies! It's the contagion part rather than the gore and grossness. And I am still not entirely sure why I love it so much, it seems like something I'd hate haha!

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  12. Nope, you are definitely not even close to being alone on that one haha! The problem is when you've read all the fun stuff in your library check out pile and you're like...uhh....nah I'll just return all of these lol. I've come to the conclusion that I may never read TFioS since it's got the triple whammy:
    A. Someone spoiled it for me
    B. It's really, really sad
    C. It's a contemporary novel


    I need to read both of those! As soon as Zombies vs. Unicorns comes back into the library I'm planning on checking it out since I loved Holly Black's other short story collection so much! Oh oh and guess what!!! My library has all the audiobook versions of the Shadowhunters stuff you were talking about! Which is good, because they have like NOTHING ELSE.

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  13. Yeah, I'm not sure the Abhorsen trilogy truuuly counts as zombies (unless your only criteria is dead people coming to life like mine was lol). And yes! All of those things are me too! At least we have already accepted our deaths hahahaha. And aww! Now I want a cute zombie book with dog friends..

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  14. This is is totally me too! I can't stand horror movies and don't really read horror books either, but I have found that I love zombie books! I recently read the first two books in a great zombie series - Broken World by Kate L. Mary. I've loved them!

    Nicole @ Feed Your Fiction Addiction

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  15. Just added them to my TBR pile - I can never have too many zombie books in it!

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