Rating: 5/loved (1-5/hated-loved)
First off, I think this may be the worst cover ever published. Bigger than I'd usually post so that you can see the details.
That's a picture of the author, and the text is the publisher.
Anyway, on to the review.
If I had known this was a zombie book, I would have left it at the bottom of my To Read pile. I'm very much over zombies; my interest in them waxed and waned with The Walking Dead.
It would have been my loss if I hadn't read this book.
Boy, did I love it. So many different takes on zombies! Nine short stories about them. And man, can this author write.
I loved the first story, What Will Come After, to death. The author played with tenses in a way that shouldn't have worked but that totally did. The main character was waiting to die, his world already taken over by zombies. The living knew some things about zombies, and he was listing them as he waited to pass, but somehow for each point he listed knowing, we saw into the future in an impossible way. Something like:
The first thing I know is that I will hunger.
I'll wander the streets of New York in a state of constant hunger. What I don't know is that zombies actually feel two kinds of hunger. The first is the kind we all know, for human flesh. But there's another hunger the living don't know about (blah blah blah).
The second thing I know is that I'll die apart from my wife.
We're living apart on purpose, because whichever dies first will turn on the other. I'll be the first to die, and then I'll rise and I'll search for her, in death not knowing...
I'm paraphrasing that whole section. It shouldn't have worked, I should have hated it, but it worked so well and I loved it.
There were stories told from the POV of living people and some told from zombies' POV. There was one great retelling of a classic novel with a zombie element. Which classic book it is is a spoiler -- it was so very fun to slowly pick up on the clues and go from "Interesting that he used those names" to "wait, isn't that.." to "No way, he's not setting this in that story..." to "IT IS! WOW!" [Click to see the book he set it in.]The book was Of Mice and Men.
Edelman did something that always makes me want to kiss the author: He trusted his readers. He didn't lay out every detail and explain every little thing. In fact, there were some big holes in stories, like [Spoiler for the story in the previous paragraph.]George shot Lenny, as he had in the book, but the shot wasn't clean and went through his throat instead of his brain (no zombies existed at that point). For some reason the author never explains, Lenny and all the small animals he killed by mistake all became zombies and all were following George. No one else in the world knew zombies existed. I love that he didn't explain that. I didn't need to know to enjoy the story.
There was only one story I didn't like, and that was because of the formatting (written like a script with stage directions in ALL CAPS and such). The style kept knocking me out of the story, so I skipped it. The final story was the shortest, just a couple pages long, and didn't work for me. But the other seven? I loved them!
In other book news:
Seduced by WEREBEES /Taken by the Swarm won the poll (8 votes, next closest title, Educating the Platypus, had 4), so I think I'm going to slip it in next. It's so short, it shouldn't take me much time at all to read. (It pains me to pay $3 for something that's 11 pages long. What a ripoff! But I'm curious about it and it did win.)
Also, I got three new cat-with-book icons. I feel like I finally have enough negative ones and I already had enough positive ones, so I guess I need to stop getting new ones?