"Xombies: Apocalypso," Walter Greatshell

Pros: Still a wild ride and a highly unusual zombie tale
Cons: Seems to de-rail a bit and get overly random
Rating: 2.5 out of 5

 

In Xombies: Apocalypse Blues, we follow Lulu Pangloss and a troop of survivors of a Xombie infection as they try to find and reach a safe haven. Along the way, the bizarre nature of the post-apocalyptic world reveals itself one piece at a time, even as we find out, bit by bit, what exactly Agent X is and what it’s doing to the human race.

In Xombies: Apocalypticon, a ragtag bunch of young men, a scientist who worked on Agent X, and a bunch of military men seem to be safe aboard a refitted nuclear sub; their only major problem—and it’s a doozy—is that they’re running out of food. They have the only “tame” Xombies known to exist, and plan to use them to seek out supplies, as well as knowledge of what happened with Agent X.

Finally, in Xombies: Apocalypso, Lulu and the rest of the crew of the USS No-Name search the shores and seas in search of humans to save from the coming cataclysm. They’re about to get mixed up in a couple of interesting new groups of humans, however. One is gathering a handful of immune women in an attempt to rebuild the human race. The other advertises peace and prosperity for all. Of course, neither is entirely what it seems to be…


 

I absolutely loved the previous two books in the series (I gushed over the second enough that I found my review quoted on the back of this volume). So I’m sad to say that I was disappointed in Apocalypso. While it continues the gore and surreality of the previous volumes, it seems to jump the rails in terms of making sense. There is an underlying thread that turns out to hold together, but in the meantime the book jumps from weird event to weird event, many of which left me going “Huh? Where did that come from?” and “So, how did they get X?” or “Where did Y come from?” and “Hey, what a big coincidence that…” Not to mention, “well if A is true, and B is true, why didn’t they just do C instead of having this drawn-out complicated farce?” For much of it I found myself wondering whether Greatshell just wasn’t sure where to go after Apocalypticon and thus kept tossing weird random stuff at his Xombies and their human counterparts to see what would happen. There is a rather fascinating examination of Xombie psychology in here (yes, I said it), but even that couldn’t quite overcome the bizarreness. On top of that, the revelation of the ending comes on far too quickly and is over much too fast, making it something of an anticlimax.

As usual I apologize for the vagueness of my statements; the twists and turns come fast enough in this series that it’s pretty much impossible to go into detail without spoiling them. All the more so in this installation because those events are so random and unpredictable. By the way, not only should you make sure you’ve read the previous books this time, but make sure you’ve read them recently. There just isn’t enough to prop up an even slightly fuzzy memory of what came before.

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