Author: Kirsty McKay
Series: Undead #1
Published: by Chicken House
Length: 294 pages
Warnings: fantasy violence 12+
Other info: The sequel, Unfed, should be out sometime later this year.
Summary : Being new at school bites. But at least it doesn't kill you. Mostly.Bobby thinks she might well be on the School Trip from Hell. Too bad she's a noob, too bad her classmates don't rate her weirdo accent and too bad that Scotland is having the worst blizzard since the Ice Age. Looks like she's going to be on this school bus for a quite a while; could things get much worse? Yep. They could. Inexplicably, her classmates start dying...and then they come back to life again...and what's more, they're very, very hungry. With nowhere to run and no contact with the outside world, Bobby is thrown together with a raggle-taggle group of survivors at a roadside café. There's indie kid drop-out Smitty, the class beauty queen Alice, dweeby Pete and two near useless adults: a half-conscious bus driver and a volatile petrol station attendant. The frenemies struggle to stay alive - through explosions, deadly battles and a breakneck chase through the snowbound wilderness. Somehow they have to make it to safety - and get some answers - no matter what the cost. Can they survive the Undead? And each other?
Review: It’s a normal school trip, so when the majority of a class go into a cafe, and Bobby and Smitty stay on the coach, they don’t think anything of it. But when Alice returns, crying that everyone’s dead, they realise that it really isn’t a normal ski trip. With a small group of survivors they pick up along the way, Bobby and Smitty must work out what’s happening, how to stop the zombies, and whether or not they’ll get out of this alive.
Another teenage zombie story. Yay! There really should be more of these things. It starts quite quickly, giving us a good idea of Bobby, Smitty and the class, before the change. By the end of the second chapter, we have a solid zombie attack setting us up for the rest of the book. and the pace is set up for the rest of the book too.
Pacing throughout is good, with a couple of boring bits, but mainly action. Every chapter ends on a cliffhanger, a good technique and keeping everything moving. The chapters are about ten pages each, nice and consistent, and easy to get along with.
Bobby and Smitty and Alice and Pete and everyone else all have their own distinct personalities, creating good amounts of conflict between the characters, as well as versus-zombie conflict. It’s amazing how seeing a character put through certain situations(ie a zombie attack) can make you like them. Alice, to start with, was a complete bitch. By the end of it...only half.
I liked the fact that we kept meeting new characters. Aside from getting stuck places and learning odd things about these zombies, it’s a good way of moving story along. And there were some that I wasn’t expecting to turn up at all. Yay for unpredictability!
What didn’t I like about htis? At times, every single one of these characters was at least a little bit stupid, annoying, or, most likely, both. I also felt a bit detached from the action at various points in the novel. Aside from that, this is a great zombie book.
Finally, I love the use of Carrot Man and Veggie Juice. I assure you, this is not completely random.
Overall: Strength 4 tea to a fun zombie book. Definitely want to read Unfed.