Great zombie books have been a staple in the horror genre for decades, captivating readers with tales of survival and the horrors of a world overrun by the undead. With the popularity of the zombie subgenre continuing to grow, there’s never been a better time to delve into the world of zombie literature. In this post, we’ll take a look at the top five zombie books that every fan of the genre should read.
Why Read Zombie Books?
Zombie books can be popular for a variety of reasons, but one of the main appeals is the way they often explore themes of survival, community, and humanity in the face of a dangerous and unpredictable world.
The zombie apocalypse scenario provides a backdrop for examining the choices and actions of characters, as well as asking questions about what it means to be human. Additionally, zombie stories often feature a mix of horror, action, and suspense, which can be exciting for readers.
Another reason that zombie books can be appealing is that they can be interpreted in a variety of ways. Some zombies are portrayed as purely flesh-eating monsters, while others are seen as metaphors for various social and political issues. This versatility allows zombie stories to be tailored to different audiences and to address a wide range of topics.
Ultimately, the popularity of zombie books can be attributed to the fact that they offer an escape from the real world while also asking thought-provoking questions about the human condition.
“World War Z: An Oral History of the Zombie War” by Max Brooks
Released in 2006, “World War Z” is widely considered one of the best zombie books ever written. The book takes the form of a series of interviews with survivors of a global zombie apocalypse, piecing together the events that led to the downfall of civilization and the struggle to rebuild.
What sets “World War Z” apart from other zombie books is its unique approach to the genre. Rather than focusing on a small group of survivors, Brooks takes a global perspective, providing a comprehensive look at the impact of the zombie outbreak on society as a whole. This allows him to explore a wide range of themes, including politics, military strategy, and the psychological toll of living in a world overrun by the undead.
“The Walking Dead” by Robert Kirkman and Tony Moore
“The Walking Dead” is a comic book series that follows the survivors of a zombie apocalypse as they navigate the harsh, post-apocalyptic world. The series, which began in 2003 and is still ongoing, has been widely praised for its complex characters, intense action, and thought-provoking storytelling.
What sets “The Walking Dead” apart from other zombie stories is its focus on the human elements of the apocalypse. The survivors in this world must not only fight off the zombies but also grapple with the moral and ethical dilemmas that arise in a world where the rules have changed.
“Dawn of the Dead” by George A. Romero
Although it’s now a classic, George A. Romero’s “Dawn of the Dead” was a groundbreaking film when it was released in 1978. The film follows a group of survivors as they take refuge in a shopping mall during the early days of a zombie apocalypse.
What makes “Dawn of the Dead” so memorable is its commentary on consumer culture and the emptiness of modern life. The film’s use of the mall as a setting is a clever nod to the shallow materialism of the 1970s, and the characters’ gradual descent into savagery serves as a bleak commentary on the human condition.
“The Road” by Cormac McCarthy
“The Road” is a bleak and haunting novel that follows a father and son as they journey through a post-apocalyptic America. Although there are zombies in this world, they take a back seat to the much more immediate dangers posed by other survivors.
What makes “The Road” so powerful is its focus on the bond between the father and son, and the lengths they will go to protect each other. The book is a meditation on the importance of hope and the lengths people will go to hold onto it, even in the face of utter despair.
“28 Days Later” by Alex Garland
“28 Days Later” is a 2002 film that tells the story of a man who wakes up from a coma to find that the world has been overrun by zombies. The film’s fast-paced action and disturbing imagery have made it a cult classic, and it is widely regarded as one of the best zombie films of all time.
What sets “28 Days Later” apart from other zombie stories is its use of “rage zombies” – zombies that are faster, more aggressive
Ten zombie books that you may not have heard of, but are worth checking out:
“The Reapers are the Angels” by Alden Bell
“The Reapers Are the Angels” is a post-apocalyptic novel by Alden Bell. It tells the story of a young girl named Temple who navigates a world overrun by zombies.
She travels from one dangerous situation to another, seeking a safe haven and coming to terms with her own survival. Throughout her journey, Temple encounters a cast of memorable characters, including a reaper named Moses, who serves as a mentor and protector.
The novel explores themes of morality, humanity, and the meaning of life in a world that has been devastated by a mysterious plague. Bell writes in a lyrical and evocative style, blending horror, fantasy, and philosophy to create a haunting and deeply moving tale. “The Reapers Are the Angels” is a standout in the crowded field of zombie fiction, and is highly regarded by fans of the genre.
“The Forest of Hands and Teeth” by Carrie Ryan
“The Forest of Hands and Teeth” is a young adult dystopian novel written by Carrie Ryan. It is set in a post-apocalyptic world where most of humanity has been wiped out by a deadly virus, and the surviving population lives in isolated communities surrounded by forests filled with flesh-eating creatures known as the Unconsecrated.
The story follows the journey of a young woman named Mary, who lives in a village called the fence. She is curious about the world beyond the fence and the “Brides” who were selected to leave the village and marry the leader of another community.
However, when the fence around her village is breached, Mary is forced to leave the safety of her home and embark on a dangerous journey to find the ocean and a rumored sanctuary.
Throughout her journey, Mary discovers that the world is far more complicated than she ever imagined, and she must make difficult choices in order to survive and protect those she loves. The novel explores themes of love, loss, courage, and the meaning of humanity in a world where danger and uncertainty are constant.
“Patient Zero” by Jonathan Maberry
Patient Zero” is a novel by Jonathan Maberry that was first published in 2009. It is a thriller that takes place in a world where a highly contagious and deadly virus has wiped out most of humanity, and those who have survived are either carriers or immune.
The protagonist of the novel is Joe Ledger, a former police officer and military veteran who is recruited by a secret government agency to lead a team of specialists in tracking down Patient Zero, the first carrier of the virus.
As Joe and his team race against time to find Patient Zero and stop the spread of the virus, they encounter a sinister group of extremists who are willing to do anything to get their hands on Patient Zero and use the virus as a weapon.
With its fast-paced action, edge-of-your-seat suspense, and well-drawn characters, “Patient Zero” is a gripping and entertaining read that will keep you on the edge of your seat from beginning to end.
“The Rising” by Brian Keene
“The Rising” is a horror novel written by Brian Keene. It is about a world in which the dead have risen from their graves and are terrorizing the living. The story focuses on a small group of survivors who must navigate the dangerous and frightening new world that they find themselves in, as they search for a way to stay alive and defeat the army of the undead.
The novel is known for its graphic and intense depiction of zombies, and for its exploration of the psychological and emotional toll of a world overrun by the undead.
“Dead City” by Joe McKinney
“Dead City” is a novel by Joe McKinney, and it is part of the “Dead World” series. It is a zombie apocalypse story that takes place in Houston, Texas. The novel follows a group of survivors as they struggle to survive in a world overrun by the undead.
As they try to find safety and rebuild their lives, they must face not only the dangers posed by the zombies, but also the challenges of surviving in a world where food and resources are scarce, and the threat of other human survivors is ever-present. The story is a mixture of horror, action, and drama, as the characters fight to survive and maintain their humanity in the face of extreme adversity.
“Dead Reckoning” by E.E. Knight
“Dead Reckoning” is a science fiction novel written by E.E. Knight. It is the first book in the “Age of Fire” series and is set in a world where dragons have reigned for millennia. The story follows the journey of a young dragon named Wistala, who is the last surviving member of her clutch after her family is attacked by humans.
Wistala sets out on a quest to seek revenge and find out what happened to her family, encountering other dragons and creatures along the way and learning about the world she lives in. Through her journey, she discovers secrets about the history of dragons and their relationship with humans, as well as the hidden motivations and alliances that shape the world.
“Zombie Fallout” by Mark Tufo
“Zombie Fallout” is a post-apocalyptic horror/comedy novel written by Mark Tufo. It is the first book in the Zombie Fallout series and follows the story of a man named Michael Talbot, who must navigate the aftermath of a zombie outbreak that has devastated the world.
The book is set in the suburbs of Boston and follows Michael as he tries to protect himself, his family, and his community from the dangers of the zombie-infested world. The novel is known for its blend of horror, humor, and survival elements, and has been well received by fans of the zombie genre.
These books offer unique perspectives on the zombie genre and are sure to keep you entertained and on the edge of your seat.