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Showing 1-10 of 177 reviews(Verified Purchases). See all 447 reviews
on May 1, 2017
This is an interesting but complicated read. The author is obviously talented and very intelligent, which is both good and bad. The good is that the story is challenging and engaging. It is written with enough detail that one becomes interested and invested in the main character, dubbed "Mark Spitz" by fellow survivors, and his current place in this universe as well as his harrowing back story. But the bad is that the author uses such a wide vocabulary that I found myself having to look up word meaning often as I read. Thank goodness Kindle has a ready dictionary at hand. My other issue was that the story jumped from "Mark's" present to memories and back with little warning. I got lost at times, especially if I had to interrupt my reading for something and then come back to it. It was a bit disorienting. For this reason it lost one star in the rating. The book is also basically one very long (as in the majority of the book) chapter and one chapter less in length. By the end the reader does get a full sense of just who this man is, his motivations, his cynicism at this point, and also the very, very bleak outlook most of the characters around him have. I recommend this book for those who like a challenging read and a break from the usual mindless drivel of most horror fiction. And this is really so much more than just horror fiction. Rather than insisting the reader come down to the level of the story, Mr. Whitehead insists the reader come up to the level of the fiction, which is a nice change of pace.
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on May 17, 2014
The constant overly descriptive flashbacks in the middle of the very few moments of action were...
It reminds me of this leather bound book that I used to see at my grandfathers house, I used to pretend it was made of human flesh. The coloring made it look like blood had dried on it a century ago. It wasn't until then that I realized that I was interested in books...
really annoying and I am not sure why anyone would write that many in a story, it almost felt like filler...
Like the filling of the last deep red jelly donut I had before reading this book. It was a mouth watering sight, perfectly baked with white powered sugar on top. That sugar ontop was like cocaine, horribly addictive, I still think of that today...
and maybe they should have spent more time editing it.
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on March 5, 2016
The story takes place over the span of three days as the protagonist, a citizen soldier "sweeper" tasked with cleaning up residual zombies in Lower Manhattan along with two team members, searches and cleans out a few mid-rise buildings in a small safe zone, destroying the few zombies they find there. Much of the story is told in flashbacks (confusingly intermingled with the present time narrative) which detail the protagonist's musings on the fall of civilization due to a zombie plague and his experiences surviving the first few years of the aftermath. Almost nothing happens, and certainly nothing new or interesting which adds to or reinvents the zombie apocalypse genre. Skip this one, particularly if you are looking for any entertainment or adventure.
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on May 9, 2016
The book is well written and my curiosity kept me engaged long after many others in my Book Club gave up. I'm not sure why this dystopian zombie apocalypse genre has developed or why this author wanted to join the ranks. In the end, though, I enjoyed the final 3rd of the book, despite the depressing portrait of a dying NYC.
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on May 12, 2015
When my professor mentioned that we were going to read a zombie novel for our class, I was surprised and excited! To think that I'd be reading a zombie novel in college (not that it means that the zombie genre or science fiction itself is not worthy to be focused on in school, just the first time it happened to me) was an interesting aspect for me! Suffice to say, I was quite satisfied! There are times that the flashbacks were a bit too much, but the fact that Whitehead is able to portray the after-life of an event such like the zombie apocalypse in such a manner that it feels like you were dealing with what PTSD (known as PASD-post apocalyptic stress disorder in the book) in a zombie apocalypse is like is pretty impressive to say the least! And its a nice change of pace from the conventional zombie books! I want to say that the Zone One sort of felt like reading Mrs. Dalloway, but with zombies!
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on June 5, 2017
An enjoyable read even though there was no real plot. If you are looking for non-stop zombie action this probably isn't the book for you. But if you are looking for a well written allegorical, literary novel then this is a good one.
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on July 25, 2015
This book was a good read. I would love to read the book this would have been if an excellent editor had been involved. It had potential and the writing was at times beautiful but it needed cleaned up and the ending was an absolute cop out. I was disappointed at the end that I'd wasted so many hours finishing this.
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on August 2, 2012
The literary world over the last few years has been somewhat obsessed with the undead--novels featuring vampires, zombies, werewolves, mythical creatures, etc. are more popular than ever before. Yet there hasn't quite been a zombie novel like Zone One, Colson Whitehead's thoughtful and thought-provoking new book.

It's a time in the distant future and the world has been hit by a pandemic (referred to as the Last Night) which divided its citizens into two classes--the living and the living dead. While an initial military operation killed many of those who turned into zombies following the Last Night, brigades of citizen soldiers, at the behest of the provisional government in Buffalo, have been tasked with clearing out the rest of New York City so it can eventually be resettled. Mark Spitz is one of those citizen soldiers, and over the course of three surreal days, Zone One follows his efforts and those of his fellow recruits as they sweep city buildings and kill any remaining zombies that had been able to hide, or were trapped when the plague hit. The book cuts between the present day and accounts of Mark's attempts to survive in the early days of the pandemic.

I've referred to this as an "intellectual zombie novel," because while there is no shortage of lurid violence as the zombies attack and are captured, the book spends more time exploring themes of survival, courage, mediocrity, and the fight to distinguish yourself in a world characterized by unique people. Whitehead is a tremendously gifted writer and his use of language is mesmerizing at times, but I felt at times that the book moved very slowly, because despite the action, everything unfolds at a fairly meditative pace. This is a book worth reading, but it's important you keep in mind that this is a book much heavier on contemplation than action. But Colson Whitehead has made a worthy, if somewhat unique, contribution to the zombie "genre."
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on April 3, 2017
Took me a while to get used to his particular style. Like his boice.
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on June 20, 2013
The prose can be beautiful, the depiction of post apocalyptic syndrome compelling and the fragile relationships that develop among the survivors poignant, but at the end of the day it would be nice if the plot was more engaging and the diverse depictions of decaying bodies less numerous.
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