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Monster Island: A Zombie Novel Paperback – April 1, 2006

215 customer reviews
Book 1 of 3 in the Monster Island Series

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

In Wellington's energetic horror debut, the first of a promised trilogy, Manhattan has become Monster Island after a plague has turned all its denizens into shambling, rotting animated corpses, except for a couple who have kept their intelligence and also acquired psychic powers. When an expedition from Africa arrives, composed of teenage girl-soldiers and a former U.N. weapons inspector, the zombie masters mobilize their forces to kill or eat the living humans. Page by page, the story is inventive and exciting as Wellington exploits his familiarity with New York's nooks and crannies as settings for flesh-chomping battles and narrow escapes. As a whole, though, the book satisfies less since the author selectively forgets anything about the situation or the characters that would inhibit further gross-out episodes. Still, the novel offers some provocative thoughts about the purpose of life and death underlaid with some ultra-dark humor. (May)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

This is a zombie novel--a fantastic zombie novel. Most of the world has fallen to the undead, with pockets of survivors clinging to a precarious existence. At the behest of the leader of the Free Women's Republic of Somaliland, a shipload of those makes the ludicrous trip from Africa to New York in a desperate quest for medicine. New York is a wasteland, and everything depends on a small, incredibly dedicated band of teenage girls, armed to the teeth, and native guide Dekalb, formerly a UN arms inspector. Also, in NYC there is Gary, a zombie who, completely unexpectedly, retains live human mental faculties. The questers get ringside seats for some of the apocalypse's finest moments, and no matter how prepared they thought they were, something worse awaits in the depths of New York. When zombies have already overrun everything, that's saying something. There are many layers to this zombie apocalypse, and this book just gets things rolling. Stay tuned. Regina Schroeder
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Thunder's Mouth Press; 1st edition (April 1, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1560258500
  • ISBN-13: 978-1560258506
  • Product Dimensions: 1 x 5.5 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (215 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #441,964 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

David Wellington was born and raised in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. He attended Syracuse University and received an MFA in creative writing from Penn State.

In 2004 he began serializing his novel Monster Island online. The book rapidly gained a following, and was acquired for print publication by Thunder's Mouth Press.

Since then, Wellington has published more than 15 novels, and has been featured in The New York Times, Boing Boing and the Los Angeles Times.

You can find him online at

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

25 of 27 people found the following review helpful By Ben Cramer VINE VOICE on October 3, 2006
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I found Monster Island first and really enjoyed the dark desolate overtones that novel put out. So reading the next book in the series was a must.

While Monster Island takes place after the world has been overrun, this novel takes place before and during. The book starts with a bang and just keeps on going at a pretty good pace. There's not too much talking nor is there excessive action. It's a well balanced novel in my opinion.

The author does put his own spin on the rise of the zombies which jives with his first novel. I thought it worked out pretty well given that every zombie novel wants to always deal with "why did this happen?"

I would definitely recommend this novel. And you don't have to start with Monster Island either.
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31 of 35 people found the following review helpful By Adam Craig on April 9, 2006
Format: Paperback
Monster Island, which was first originally published in a serialized format online, finally got its print release due to the extremem popularity of the online novel, and its two sequels. The novel takes place six weeks after the epidemic, which turned the world to chaos run by the living dead. We follow Dekalb, a former UN weapons inspector who has found safety in Somalia, with a group of female warriors loyal to the warlord of Somalia. When the warlord informs Dekalb that she has AIDS and needs drugs, she sends him and her warriors off to

America to retrieve drugs from the UN building in New York City. Once the group arrives in New York, almost nothing goes right, and the readers is treated to a large amount of zombie violence and gore.

The thing that makes Monster Island stand out is the different take on zombies that author David Wellington uses. I won't give much of anything away, but I will say that one of the main characters in the novel is a zombie who killed himself but kept his brain intact by hooking himself up to a ventilator. This zombie can still think like a human and talk like a human, but he is still overcome with the urge to eat. While this is a totally new take on zombies, it also works against the book in some ways. Wellington takes that basic idea, which isn't all bad, and turns into something much more. It is very reminiscient of Stephen King's Cell, in which the zombies are basically all one being, and can all be controlled. I guess the only reason that I ultimately frowned at this development was the fact that I just wanted a good, old-fashioned zombie story, and this novel definitely is not that. It has some really good, intense moments, but I guess it just didn't live up to what I hoped it would be.

Don't get me wrong, though, I definitely plan to read the last two parts of the trilogy, which are still available online to read immediately.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Patrick S. Dorazio VINE VOICE on October 4, 2006
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I read Monster Island and this is a good side by side story along with that. It is a flashback to the beginning of things, providing a clearer idea of why the undead have started walking and a little more detail on our ancient scottish undead chap that was in the first novel.

Unlike the first book, this one really cannot stand on its own as I am sure the series of events will be completed in Monster Planet, the third and final (I assume) installment in this series.

Mr. Wellington does a good job of creating a realm where the supernatural is the cause of the dead rising as opposed to a virus or a more scientific reasoning. We are slowly given an idea of how this threat developed and where it came from. Even thought it came from human actions, ancient gods are behind the desire to see the human race wiped clean off the planets surface.

This book is even more focused on a specific undead character than Zombie Island-Nilla, who chose her own name after becoming undead because she cannot remember her name, nor anything of her own past before being bitten by a zombie herself and dying. She continued to take in oxygen while dying and thus her brain did not deteriorate. The story pretty much follows her storyline as well as Clark Bannerman, a Captain with the National Guard who is forced to become the lead in the military battle against the undead in the western states. He pursues Nilla after realizing that she is the only undead person that can still speak. He knows that she is a key to resolving this issue, even though he does not know why.

Overall, the story flows quite well and is definitely entertaining.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Mark Trumper on January 20, 2007
Format: Paperback
Like some of the other reviewers I really enjoyed Monster Island. (If you live in New York City it is interesting to read about the city post-zombification!) I was disappointed with Monster Nation.

The whole idea of the Nilla character being able to become invisible at will was never explained at all and just seemed at odds with the rest of the story. Without giving too much away, the ending was pretty weak and seemed to have no basis in reality. Fine if the whole book was a great big fantasy but most of the time Wellington bases the action very firmly in reality. Some of the characters were well written but most were two-dimensional and didn't really ring true.

This is probably worth reading only if you are interested in learning more about the world Wellington is trying to create. Hopefully the third installment will be better.
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