Author: Michael Thomas Ford
Genre: Young Adult, Science Fiction
Edition: Kindle (292 pages)
Publisher: HarperTeen (Jan. 1, 2010)
Date Read: 2/15/2017
Josh is by far the best zombie Torcher around—at least, he is in his virtual-reality zombie-hunting game. Josh has quickly risen through the player ranks, relying on the skill, cunning, and agility of a real Torcher.
But luckily for Josh, zombies exist only in the virtual world. The real zombie war is now more than fifteen years in the past, and the battle to defeat the deadly epidemic that devastated his family—and millions of others—is the stuff of history lessons.
Charlie is the top-ranked player in the game. Since all the players are shrouded in anonymity, Josh never expects Charlie to be a girl—and he never expects the offer she makes him: to join the underground gaming league that takes the virtual-reality game off the screen and into the streets. Josh is thrilled. But the more involved he gets, the more he realizes that not everything is what it seems. Real blood is spilling, members of the team are disappearing, and the zombies in the game are acting strange. And then there’s the matter of a mysterious drug called Z…
Z is not a book that I would have ordinarily picked up. But… I needed a book with a title starting with Z for a reading challenge. As I was scrolling through a Goodreads book list, trying to find a book that looked halfway interesting, I happened upon this one. I wouldn’t say I was blown away, but I was quite impressed with the story. This isn’t a really well known book, therefore my expectations weren’t very high – which I think, in the end, was a good thing. A sci-fi novel full of gruesome zombies, and a diverse circle of friends you can’t help but love, Z truly exceeded my expectations and more.
“The First Rule of Torching: Cleanse with fire.
The Second Rule of Torching: Save all humans.
The Third Rule of Torching: You can’t bring them back.”
A unique twist to the original zombie story, Z had me flipping pages like a mad woman. I don’t want to say too much… and spoil it for you! But I was so intrigued by the concept of the plot, and wanting to know what would happen next. It wasn’t really a mystery, since you pretty much know from the beginning what’s going on (even though the main character doesn’t), but it still has that eerie, mysterious vibe to it. The author did a fantastic job setting the mood and creating the action that makes a reader want to continue reading. And quickly!
“His skin was the light blue of a Duster. His eyes, like those of everyone who used a lot of dust, were a peculiar mix of iridescent blue and purple swirling around a gold pupil in a hypnotizing pattern.”
You know how sometimes you open a novel, and you have no idea what you’re about to be in for? This was one of those times for me. Z is what I would consider a “diverse hidden gem”. When I chose to read this book, I had no idea there would be such a diverse group of characters within the story. So when I discovered the many POC characters – a Latina girl, a Chinese girl, an African American guy – I was pleasantly surprised… and also thrilled to death! These kids from such different ethnicities and backgrounds work together throughout the story, and become so close with one another that they begin to rely on each other. I loved that! Each one not only had their physical differences, but personality differences as well, and that was clearly portrayed in the writing. The characters were represented very well and it was hard not to fall in love with every one of them.
This isn’t your average zombie story. Between the descriptive writing and the diverse cast of characters, Z is a novel that definitely deserves more attention than it gets. This is a quick, easy read, full of action and adventure. If that’s what you’re looking for in a novel, then I highly recommend picking this one up. It’s an absolute page turner.