What happens after the end of the world? That’s a question not many zombie stories try to answer. They generally fixate on the actual apocalyptic stuff, without paying too much heed to how the survivors are going to live once the dust settles a bit. Christopher Eger’s Last Stand on Zombie Island works a little differently. It’s three-act structure looks at the shit hitting the fan, then the survivors rebuilding, and then the prospect of long-term survivability in an undead world. The first act is more or less what you expect, but after that, but book gets really interesting.
The the second part of Last Stand on Zombie Island, the zombies take a back seat to pretty much everything else. Our characters manage to ride out the initial zombie outbreak and – thanks in large part to the the geographic advantages they enjoy from living on an island – close themselves off from the outside world.
Of course, surviving the initial zombie onslaught isn’t exactly the end of their troubles. While our survivors made it, most of the rest of the world isn’t quite so lucky. Not only are the zombies gnawing on the bones of civilization, mankind decided to go out with a (quite literal bang), to the tune of thermonuclear war. Suffice it to say, resupply from the mainland simply isn’t in the cards.
Once we’ve established that out little island is on its own, the rebuilding begins. We see the formation of government, food and supply procurement and rationing, the formation of a security task force, and a number of different initiatives to communicate with what’s left of the outside world. Eger has obviously put a lot of thought and research into all this, which makes everything feel realistic and well constructed. Things don’t come easily, and there are – as always – those more interested in destruction than creation.
Unfortunately, Last Stand on Zombie Island isn’t without its problems. As mentioned, there is a hell of a lot going on in this story. It’s well researched to the point of occasionally getting bogged down in minutia. At times, it almost feels like reading non-fiction. I love realism, but there has to be a solid balance between showing your work and telling a compelling story. Generally Last Stand is on the right side of that balance, but not always.
Because of its immense scope, we also have the issue of too many characters to keep track of. Some of these characters are quite interesting, but there are quite a few who exist simply to do a job. We never learn too much about them, but there are so many that recognizing them by name (versus their job) is quite difficult. Outside of one or two principal characters, I generally couldn’t recall who was who by name alone, and started thinking of people in terms of what they did (Coast Guard boss, downed pilot, motorcycle gang leader, etc.). Needless to say, this was one of the book’s greatest weaknesses.
That said, Last Stand on Zombie Island is a hell of an entertaining read. I hope the writer does a little revision to tighten up a few of the problem areas, because this is a book just packed with potential.
How long is this book ? Being able to cover the “before and after” of the ZA in a single book sounds like a really tricky idea to me… you shouldn’t bite off more than a zombie can chew!
It’s a pretty length book, but yes, I think the scope of it was one of the issues.
im gonna try and get my hands on it
Right on. It’s worth a read.