Review of YA action/adventure Winston the Zombie Killer and Dr. Z by Fatima Malik
An emotionally unintelligent 18-year-old Winston wakes up to a zombie virus outbreak. Only adults seem to be affected while kids run around losing their minds . . . or brains?
Together, a 15-year-old genius Jason B (who seems to be taking this very well), and Winston fight to get out of town and make unexpected friends along the way. Keeping track of his zombie kills was hard enough, now he has to go hunting for a special zombie too?
As Winston narrowly misses being bit, the “death grip” causes further complications to an otherwise successful quest . . .
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On his eighteenth birthday, Winston found himself face to face with what looked like a walking corpse. This corpse was clawing at the window that separated Winston’s face from it. Later he’d name it Jessica since she was his first walking corpse, and after her, he lost count. He screamed when he first saw her, and it was a sound he was not proud of. He would be careful never to replicate it regardless of how close to death he was.
He had seen enough zombie movies to know what he was looking at, but there is always this civilized part of the brain that shuts up the instinct, and the word ‘overreaction’ echoes in the head. That was the only reason he asked the clawing zombie if she was okay and if he should call 911 for her. He felt really, really silly asking her, but God forbid he overreacted to something – can’t be uncool – even when some dude with a white van is clearly abducting you. Why Winston thought of himself as a ‘woman’ in dangerous scenarios was a mystery.
Before moving on, let me tell you a little about Winston. He fits the tall, dark, and attractive description along with toned muscles and six-pack abs (with no way of knowing if those abs went further than the elastic of his PJs). Being an athlete and a fan of Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson, he had a similar round tattoo situation happening on the front part of his left shoulder.
Now imagine this impressive cocoa specimen screaming like a seven-year-old first thing in the morning when he opened the curtains. He had sort of stumbled backward before he regained his composure to ask the zombie if she was okay.
Much later, he’d find out that these zombies were operating on human instinct/subconscious, which was why his Zombie-kills were mostly female. They would’ve been attracted to him when they were alive, so now, as zombies, they wanted his brains. This theory would also explain why so many kids were unharmed. Since most live adults wouldn’t hurt kids, those instincts played a role. Also, for a virus that preyed on the human brain, it had no use for an under-developed brain of a child until that child turned eighteen.
Most survivors were waiting for some army or military (are those the same?) to rescue them. But it turns out an executive decision was made to save the children first because, being so many of them, they were trapped in homes with zombie parents or walking around in the malls or parks. These children were everywhere, and they were lost.
Buy Winston the Zombie Killer and Dr. Z
This was an interesting take on a zombie story. There was definitely some stuff I expected (zombies, for one, but more specifically, the looming threat of zombie infection). I liked the idea that the virus only infected adults because adult brains were fundamentally different from child brains and, thus, better hosts. I can’t speak to the accuracy of the biology, but it was a neat explanation.
Beyond this, though, I had a tough time getting into either the writing or the story. While the story had some interesting elements, I didn’t really understand a lot of what was going on. People were running for their lives, then standing around shooting the breeze. There were teenagers with crushes and an “emotionally unintelligent” protagonist, but most of this stuff was told by the narrator, rather than really shown. I’m not sure what about an eighteen-year-old guy feeling messed-up during a zombie breakout makes him “emotionally untelligent,” but the story went with it, so I did, too.
Which brings me to the narrator. I was torn about this. On the one hand, the narrative device was clever. On the other, the narrator just got on my nerves. At one point, one of the characters made “a disapproving noise,” and the narrator piped up with something like “what is a disapproving noise? Isn’t that just a grunt? Then why not say grunt?” And my editor brain went into overdrive thinking “actually, a grunt could have meant a lot of things—grunts are not, by nature, a sign of disapproval.” The narrator also had a lot to say about Game of Thrones, which felt very out of place.
I think the main crux of this review is that this book wasn’t my kind of humor. For the right audience, this would probably be laugh-out-loud hilarious. It just wasn’t for me, so if it sounds like something you’d love, give it a shot.
About Fatima Malik
Fatima Malik has been alive for a little over a third of a century but she has been telling stories for over two hundred years, because being alive or dead wouldn’t stop a true storyteller. Fatima is a quirky Pakistani-Canadian writer who lives in Ontario with her daughter.
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Fatima Malik will be awarding $10 Amazon/BN GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.
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