Publication: September 2012 from Candlewick
Rating: 3 ♥ / 5 ♥ – I liked it
Zombrule #4: Survival is for the ruthless. Everyone else is a hippie poet.
Stuck in the wilderness with a bunch of other juvenile delinquents on an “Inward Trek,” it doesn’t seem that things could get worse for seventeen-year-old Nick “Nero” Sole. But they do. Overnight, Nero’s counselors have turned into flesh-eating maniacs and are now chowing down on his fellow miscreants – like a monster movie comes to life. And as in any classic monster flick worth its salted popcorn, colossal carnage sends survivors rabbiting into the woods while the mindless horde of “infects” shambles, moans, and drools behind. These kids have seen the movies; they know the rules. Unfortunately, knowing the rules isn’t going to be enough.
The Infects by Sean Beaudoin is one of the more interesting takes on the zombie apocalypse that I’ve read lately. It definitely has the most unique beginnings to the outbreak that I’ve read yet!
Nick is your fairly normal teen – until sent to a camp for juvenile delinquents he worked at a chicken processing plant and looked after his eccentric father and Autistic sister. Even the Inward Trek starts out as a normal event in his life…until his fellow delinquents begin eating the others. Yupp, that puts a damper on everything. Nick is hard to get a grasp on, mostly because he has this voice in his head that sounds like the rock and you’re never quite sure if it’s Nick’s own ideas or the voice in his head that leads him to do everything he does throughout the course of the book. Most of the other characters are reminiscent of the “red shirts” of Star Trek fame, except for a few key plays – Swann, Petal and Estrada. Estrada because he lives, Petal because Nick’s is fairly in love with her, and Swann because she basically is the catalyst for the action that happens.
I wasn’t a huge fan of the writing in the book, but it began to grow on me after a while and was not a huge detractor to the story. There are a few scenes that had me fairly confused, though by the end they seem to make a bit more sense once everything that’s been going on has been explained (some scenes were still confusing, though, like a scene with Nick at a bar in this house they found to take shelter in. I still don’t know what that was about). I did find it a little weird that the outbreak managed to stay contained and none of the surrounding towns seemed to notice what had gone on. But, the zombies are sufficiently gruesome, the action scenes with the teens being chased by zombies, zombies eating people and the end with the army are amazingly detailed and bloody, and the concept is really intriguing. I liked the details near the end that had Nick and the other survivors, and some non-survivors, questioning everything about the outbreak, and if they were really zombies or something else. The whole conspiracy/experiment that is exposed is awesome.
The Infects by Sean Beaudoin is not just an intense zombie outbreak novel. With quite a bit of humour and a little bit of crazy, the story manages to be entertaining from beginning to end. While I wasn’t the biggest fan of the writing, and at times I found the story confusing, I really enjoyed the zombies, their cause and Nick’s own special brand of loopy. Also, the book manages to answers the question of why there’s a chicken on the cover, and I totally called it way in the beginning. I love when that happens.
ARC received from LibraryThing and Candlewick in exchange for my honest review. Thank you!