Any child of the 1980’s will remember the ominous free-will-challenging Choose Your Own Adventure books. The paperback young adult series would pose readers with daring options and decisions such as “Will you head down the dark stairs?” or “Will you follow the spirit through the woods?” With a selection made, the book would then give direction as to where the decision would take the reader and, on a specified page, they would either continue the story or meet certain doom. In today’s rush of the undead, we are once again faced with choices that may lead to death and even worse.
Author Max Brallier’s Can You Survive the Zombie Apocalypse? is an engaging and enjoyable addition to the literary world’s shambling corpses and starving cadavers. In the storyline’s beginning, you begin as an average twenty-something that discovers that the world he knew is gone and replaced by mass hysteria and the growing awareness that people are not eating each other but zombies are. Within several pages, you must begin making choices as how to best survive the world as it is pulled down around you by rotted hands and snapping jaws. You meet other survivors, some of whom will lead you to one of many pages where your end is quickly spelled out. You can freeze to death. You can be shot. You can fall to your death. You can wait without any hope of survival. You can tragically find yourself one of the undead and, of course, you can be devoured by hordes of zombies. But only if you make the wrong choice and there are 100 paths and 50 endings to choose from.
Brallier does a good job of keeping a pace to a book where the reader truly sets the tempo. You will feel a rush to make a decision and even more urgency to find out where you option has taken you. Readers will doubt new allies and worry about what is behind the door they have selected to open. Some choices lead to obvious consequences while others are fairly surprising. Can You Survive the Zombie Apocalypse will also make you want to read it repeatedly to see how far your choices can take you. Fans of the zombie genre will feel even more challenged to use their know-how and their “I would never do that” and see how well they would survive. The writing is tight and the descriptions of the undead clawing for your flesh are graphic and well done.
As the book cover states “The Choice is yours…” Getting your hands on a copy of Can You Survive the Zombie Apocalypse is not only an easy decision but one that should be made quickly.
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