Book review: Alice in Zombieland by Gena Showalter

I’m not entirely sure what made me pick up Alice in Zombieland, since I’ve never really been into reading about/watching zombies, but I have a feeling it’s because I thought the cover was interesting, and because it’s a “re-telling” of a classic story.

Perhaps it was my lack of interest in zombies that meant I didn’t love the book, although I did manage to finish it, and enjoy parts of it.

Alice Bell lives with her parents and younger sister. Her dad refuses to let the family out at night, and is always talking about the zombies who haunt the area. One night, Alice persuades her dad (via her mum) to take the family out, and on the way home everyone bar Alice is killed. As she lies injured, Alice sees strange creatures sucking the life out of her family.

Once recovered Alice moves in with her grandparents, and at her new school discovers a group of students, including the handsome Cole, who fight zombies, and gets caught up with them.

Alice in Zombieland is an interesting read, but I found it quite wordy, and I found that many of those words just didn’t need to be there. Chapters seemed to go on endlessly, and I’d find myself thumbing through the book trying to work out when I could get to the end of a section and put it down.

While Alice’s story was compelling, I did find it hard sometimes to like her. She flitted between grief for her family, and love for Cole pretty quickly, and I felt one emotion never really fed into or affected the other.

I’m usually a big fan of romances, but in Alice in Zombieland I couldn’t bring myself to get excited about Cole and Alice. While Cole is no controlling Edward, Alice definitely displayed some Bella-like qualities, and acted really feeble sometimes, which didn’t fit with her character the rest of the time.

I also found the zombies a bit complicated to understand. There was all this stuff about spirits and Blood Lines and a group trying to work out how zombie powers could be used in humans, and I still am not able to explain any of it, despite reading 400+ pages.

On the other hand, I did really like some of the other aspects of the book, particularly the regular teen stuff. This is where I felt Showalter shined – with her insights into high school and friendship.

I loved Alice’s best friend Kat, who was fun, funny, loyal and had an interesting back story. I also enjoyed Alice’s negotiations in trying to find a place to fit into the high school hierarchy, and her dealings with Cole’s ex and friends.

Overall, Alice in Zombieland was a slightly disappointing read, and unfortunately I don’t think I’ll be picking up the sequels.

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