Readable and gripping British zombie novel
How We End is a new and interesting addition to the zombie genre.
I’m a big, big fan of zombie novels (See: In defense of zombie novels). Once you suspend your disbelief about the, well, zombies, these stories can be excellent reflections on how individuals survive when their world falls apart and when fear is a constant companion. They are at heart novels about dealing with chronic PTSD and on-going trauma, and about ‘big’ topics like resilience, kindness, selfishness, fear and what it means to be human. And at the same time they are profoundly mundane, dealing with day-to-day practicalities.
Although essentially a fairly light, typical zombie novel, How We End is comparatively good, and very readable, with a few interesting twists on the standard zombie tropes. On top of that, it’s set in the UK, so there’s none of the gunslinging bravado that plagues (pun intended) many US-based zombie books. So in terms of basics, it’s original enough to keep it interesting and to make it stand out as something new in its category.
As usual, it’s about a group of strangers who come together and become a band, or family, fighting to survive together. Again, it’s a bit different, with an interesting range of characters.
The worldbuilding is confident and the writing is overall quite good. My only niggle is that the dialogue is a bit tiresome in parts, where it descends a bit into childish ragging or teasing, At times I was unsure if this was targetting an adult or YA audience.
That said, I was gripped from the start and it held my interest right to the last page, leaving me hungry for more. It’s exciting, emotional, and one of the scenes towards the end comes as a real surprise.
After the deluge of zombie novels published some years ago, there’s been rather a dry season for the past few years, so it’s nice that publishers haven’t completely given up on them. There’s life in the old zombie yet.
My thanks to the publisher, author and Netgalley for providing an ARC. All my reviews are 100% honest and unbiased, regardless of how I acquire the book.
If you’re a true zombie fan, you might want to add this one to your collection. If you’re new to zombies, there are better books out there. Check out Rhiannon Frater’s trilogy and – of course – World War Z.
Find How We End on Amazon and at other bookstores.
Meanwhile, here’s an index of all my reviews.