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Xombies: Apocalypticon Mass Market Paperback – February 23, 2010
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Apocalypticon also delves deeper into science-fiction explorations of the nature of Xombiehood, although it leaves many questions unanswered (and others answered only if you're really paying attention), and it introduces one particularly out-of-left-field sci-fi subplot which hangs in the air, tantalizing, at book's end. That's the only caveat about this dark, dark cocktail of apocalyptic posthuman sci-fi black-comedy horror: it does read like the second book in a trilogy, and although it doesn't end on a cliffhanger per se, I'm left wanting more. MORE XOMBIES! And while I'm at it, more of the Beatles cover band from the first book, who in Apocalypticon only get a brief nod. ;)
In this second story, Greatshell continues with the same characters and throws them in just as much danger as before. Only this time, they have to battle between each other as much as the outside forces of the Xombies. Food is dwindling and paranoia about the future quickly turns our submarine crew into panic mode. For a more rewarding experience, I would recommend newcomers read the first book in the series before diving into this.
Halfway through the book, Greatshell introduces a completely new concept to the zombie mythology that is, quite simply, a game changer for humans and their defensive tactics against the hoards of the undead. Here and there, I felt some descriptions or actions were a touch vague and a bit confusing, but overall it was clearly a successful novel. If you are looking for the same old zombie story, you'll want to stay away. These are not your father's zombies. This is a completely new and layered take on this sub-genre. Greatshell takes the rulebook on zombies and doesn't just throw it out, he blows it up.
Yet again, being a book reviewer has resulted in my starting a series in the middle. I highly recommend starting with the first book, because this is a rather complicated story, and while this book stands about as well as could be expected on its own, I would have had an easier time with some of the plot points if I'd started at the right place! Not to mention there's plenty of interesting material here, and you might as well enjoy it all. Note that this book features a different main character and focuses on a different aspect of the Xombies tale, with Lulu (from the first book) only coming into play tangentially.
While there's a fascinating mystery at the heart of the Agent X infection, and some interesting characters, the real story is the altered world in which the characters find themselves. The folks on the sub have their own hardships, and the ones on land have found some highly unusual "solutions" (I use that word very lightly) to many of the dangers the Xombies pose. There are also quite a few social implications raised by the lack of women, and Greatshell definitely has some unusual and fascinating takes on what might happen there.
I know it seems like I'm not going into much detail here, and that's because it's hard to get into the nitty-gritty of things without giving away some of the best surprises. The Xombie tale is gory, wild, surreal, gross, and definitely action-packed.Read more ›