Z2134 is not the type of book I usually read. Thank you to Netgalley and the publishers for the chance to complete my Alphabet Soup list with a Z title. Apologies if my review is not as enthusiastic as it would be from a zombie fan.
by Sean Platt and David Wright
It’s 2134 in a dystopian America, one century after a series of zombie plagues first infected then obliterated much of the world’s population.
The survivors formed six walled Cities throughout the continent, all under the rule of a totalitarian government that enforces strict control over its populace.
You must obey your government.You must be a good citizen.You must be a productive citizen.You must not break the law.Or The City Watch will find you and arrest you.
Jonah Lovecraft, a former Watcher, was arrested for the murder of his wife. Like most criminals, he has one chance at freedom ― to participate in The Darwin Games, a televised survival show pitting two players from each city against one another in The Barrens, the uninhabited areas outside the City Walls.
He’ll also have to face another enemy ― the zombies still roaming The Barrens.
As he fights for his freedom against impossible odds, his daughter, Anastasia, stumbles into people who have information about her father ― information that will change her life forever.
While putting her in the crosshairs of her father’s enemies.
Z 2134 is the first book of a dystopian trilogy from the bestselling authors of Yesterday’s Gone. (goodreads)
Z2134 opens in the middle of a fight to the death. The stakes are high: the protagonist, whom we immediately warm to, is in a broadcast game where the winner gets to live in the wonderful City 7 forever. The losers die. If the zombies don’t get them the other contestants will. And the contestants are all miscreants, sentenced to participate by the dystopian cities’ justice departments.
I really admired the writing of this book, particularly the opening, despite the lurid details of the soon-to-be-many fights with zombies. Beautifully choreographed in all their putrid flesh-dripping, undead eyeballing, lumbering power. I managed to get through the first phase of zombies, remindeing myself I didn’t need to read every zombie encounter. This helped, since there are plenty of episodes with no smell of the z-word. Jonah is fighting to free himself, so he can go back and free his daughter, Ana, and son Adam. With dad gone, these individuals get to have chapters of their own stories. This nicely reveals depths of depravity in the City Watch that makes Mission Impossible look like Enid Blyton.
There are seriously complicated plot devices and switchbacks in the ‘who is deceiving who?’ stakes. I was really enjoying it until about 95% of the way through. That’s when I realised this was not going to finish the story at 100%. No…to be continued. It’s not even a Fellowship of the Ring sort of cliffhanger. Jonah has not completed a task, or its consequence. Daughter Ana is high and dry. and son Adam is definitely in deep s…. No, to find out exactly what happens, and whether… you have to go for the next book ‘in the trilogy.’
So, it’s not a trilogy, it’s a three-part serial. There’s a difference. So despite it being a really good read, it loses a full star for being incomplete. I can’t justify giving it five stars before deductions, because I don’t have the wow factor left in me.
But if you like zombie stories, and don’t mind expecting to read all three ‘books’ to get the satisfaction of an outcome, then you’ll enjoy it.