Saturday, July 12, 2008

Monster Nation, The Sequel to Monster Island

After reading Monster Island by David Wellington, I was very curious as to how the story would unfold. Mr. Wellington is not telling a typical zombie story in this trilogy. As odd as it sounds, it is much more supernatural than most.

The book opens with Gary and Dekalb, though they only make a brief appearance. This novel explores the source and cause of the zombie uprising. It is told primarily from two characters' points-of-view, Clark Bannerman and "Nilla". In between their tales, Wellington uses snippets from government press releases, emails, health flyers, personal diaries, etc. to give us perspective on how the epidemic spread and personal experiences from all over the country.

We meet "Nilla" in an oxygen bar in California. She has bled to death and reawakened, but she is very different than most zombies, she can still think. When she was weak from blood loss, she put on an oxygen mask which kept her brain supplied with oxygen and reduced the brain damage she suffered. It allowed her to keep her reasoning skills, but she can't remember her name or anything else about herself. Police find her and take her to the hospital, they don't realize she is dead because she can still talk, neither does she. When the hospital is over run by zombies and the military is called in, she meets Bannerman.

Bannerman is introduced to us when he responds to a riot at a Californian jail, which in reality is an outbreak. Bannerman is an honorable military man and takes his duty very seriously. He treats the incident as a viral outbreak and insists that the infected are treated as humanely as possible, though he quickly comes to realize that they have no humanity left. It is difficult for him to accept that these people are dead. Bannerman is smart enough to realize what Nilla is and that she could be the key to a cure. He spends a lot of time looking for her, though he doesn't allow it to get in the way of protecting the public.

Though it was not a traditional zombie story, it was well told and intriguing. I look forward to reading the final installment, Monster Planet.

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