Review: “A New World: Chaos”, John O’Brien

Pros: New ground for a zombie book
Cons: Slooooooow
Rating: 3.5 out of 5

John O’Brien’s A New World: Chaos (Volume 1) posits a world in which the disease just did the killing–it was the rush to find a cure that created the zombies. Luckily for John he never gets flu vaccines and seems to be immune to the original flu. He’s collected his little family together, but now he has a bigger problem–his girlfriend is stationed in Kuwait. When he and she were (just for fun) discussing what they’d do in a zombie apocalypse, they always promised they’d find each other. So he, a retired Air Force pilot, now needs to steal a plane and take himself and his kids on a trip to Kuwait.

This is actually a good story. Unusual, vivid, and with a different set of priorities than most zombie tales. It’s very detailed. The only problem is that the writing lingers over everything. At best it’s thoughtful; at worst it’s extremely slow except when winding up to action scenes (which compared to normal action scenes are also slow, but they seem fast compared to the rest of this book). It also sometimes makes the main character seem a little slow-witted, which doesn’t match his occasional very dry fits of humor.

There are places in this zombie world that don’t have hundreds of zombies crawling around (presumably due to the original high death rate from the flu itself). It’s a nice change from the standard story.

Especially considering the slow pace, there are far too many flashbacks in here, to things that are not necessary for us to know. (At some point I started going, “oh no, not another one!”)

I enjoyed the story enough to find it worth sitting through the slow parts, but only barely. If you have a short attention span, this isn’t the book for you.

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