- Listening Length: 6 hours and 25 minutes
- Program Type: Audiobook
- Version: Unabridged
- Publisher: Tantor Audio
- Source: Publisher
Taliban soldiers, while surveying the remnants of an air strike on a secret Al-Qaeda meeting, are infected by a virus. They each embark on different travel routes following their infection, spreading the virus as they go, across the borders of neighboring countries. Those infected reanimate within minutes, and unlike the “typical” zombie they retain some of their memories. Adding to the creepy factor is their instinct to wrap their heads in black cloth and shriek ”jihad” as they attack. They hide during the day, deciding to strike out against the living during the twilight hours.
As the world tries to fight back, an unlikely crew joins forces, desperate to survive these creatures, referred to as biters. Made up of a Navy seal, an aging romance writer, a seventeen-year-old boy who has just lost his entire family, and a teen girl and her toddler brother. It’s not long before they learn that the youngest in their party holds their fate in their hands and they must risk life and limb to keep him out of the hands of the biters.
In Zombiestan, Dhar puts a completely new and unique spin on the typical zombie novel. Not only do these biters retain a bit of their previous knowledge, they evolve, soon learning to weapons such as handguns and rifles. Additionally, they are able to proceed with a purpose other than devouring human flesh. In this case their mission is to destroy the young child whose very blood may serve as a cure or vaccination for this horrific virus.
Additionally, despite being surrounded by death and devastation, Dhar throws in a bit of a romance, something not too often seen in zombie fiction. Nothing over the top, but sincere and genuine. Not a fan of romance myself, but I do admit to cheering for the aforementioned couple.
Another unique trait this novel holds are the truly strong and well-developed characters. Unlike many novels of this type, the focus isn’t solely on the walking dead and the havoc they reap, instead a tremendous amount of time is spent focusing on the character development, the evolution of the characters as they progress on their trek to safety. They all prove they are beyond capable to be the guardians that take the source of humanity’s salvation to safety. Some start out as mild and weak but eventually evolve in to some pretty kick-ass characters.
Narrated by John Lee, the audio production is absolutely suburb. British himself, Lee quite a range of accents/inflections, allowing him to accurately portray characters from all ethnic backgrounds with ease and without flaw.
Zombiestan is truly a thrill-ride of a read. Don’t let the zombies frighten you way from a truly impressive read. While the walking dead are prevalent, Dhar does an outstanding job of toning down the graphic aspect of zombies and instead focuses on this tremendous band of survivors, out to save mankind. Highly recommended.