I first read this in draft a few years and then as now I was struck by its energy and the strength of its no nonsense ex military narrator, Jake. I am not particularly interested in military hardware and weaponry, but his obsession with it makes perfect sense. He's a great character so out of touch with his own emotions in lock down survival mode that he fails to realise that he has rebuilt a new life after the death of his own family and his anhilation of his former platoon. Yes, this is a zombie novel, but one which largely deals with the horror of 'metamorphic plague' in the ellipses of the tale, through the evident emotional damage to Jake and his partner, Gary. Although Gary is bitten, Jake pumps him with triple the dose of antivirals so that he survives and no time is given to considering the metamorphosis from the inside. For much of the book Gary cannot kill Zooks, as they retain their human appearance, and the reasons for this are understood if not fully explored; it is not that kind of book. Instead the greater part of the story is a high action fire-fest of battling zooks and trying to live long enough to fight another day. There is enough background detail of life at the stretched edge of civilisation for the scenario to be entirely credible.
Zooks become ghasten if they survive long enough and I wanted to know more about this interesting variant on the modern zombie myth as I wanted to know more about the human who coexisted with them. However, this particular novel is set at a time of war in which the greatest drive is to fight back against the tide of the 'turned' so it makes sense not to pursue this thread too extensively. It works as it stands and if you like your action fast, your narrator laconic and your stories addictive then Zook Country is the book for you.
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This site is dedicated to exploring children's fiction.
I write it, read it, teach it and increasingly feel the need to talk about. Please feel free to join the conversation otherwise it will be a monologue and they can get quite dull.
My current project is concerned with transformations in children's writing.
If you have any suggestions or favourite books which deal with transformation please let me know.