Release Date: September 7, 2010
Pages: 376 (ARC)
Publisher: HarperTeenMost Appropriate For Ages: 12+
Where I Got It: For review from publisher
The First Rule of Torching: Cleanse with fire.
Josh is by far the best zombie Torcher around—at least, he is in his virtual-reality zombie-hunting game. Josh has quickly risen through the player ranks, relying on the skill, cunning, and agility of a real Torcher.
The Second Rule of Torching: Save all humans.
But luckily for Josh, zombies exist only in the virtual world. The real zombie war is now more than fifteen years in the past, and the battle to defeat the deadly epidemic that devastated his family—and millions of others—is the stuff of history lessons.
The Third Rule of Torching: You can't bring them back.
Charlie is the top-ranked player in the game. Since all the players are shrouded in anonymity, Josh never expects Charlie to be a girl—and he never expects the offer she makes him: to join the underground gaming league that takes the virtual-reality game off the screen and into the streets. Josh is thrilled. But the more involved he gets, the more he realizes that not everything is what it seems. Real blood is spilling, members of the team are disappearing, and the zombies in the game are acting strange. And then there's the matter of a mysterious drug called Z. . . .
I had some issues with Z, but as a whole I enjoyed it.
I think my main problem with it was the characters. They just kinda fell flat for me. Normally I find one that I connected with, or found entertaining or unique, but with Z, not really. I didn't like them or dislike them, they just kind of...were. Except for maybe our main character, Josh, who seemed too selfish. Honestly, I think Ford relied on the plot so much that he didn't think characterization mattered all that much.
But, I can sort of see why. The plot was unlike anything I've ever read. It combined zombies, with drugs, and a sprinkle of futuristic society that I wouldn't mind revisiting to make a story that you surely won't forget.
A thing I didn't like about the futuristic society was that too much went unexplained. What's with the people who dress up as animals and lie a lot? Or the "boarders"? I guess that it was some kind of weird fashion trend...? It was kind of strange.
Oh, and I have to mention how much I enjoyed the explanation of what happens to a person once they've started to become a zombie. It seemed logical, well-researched, and I'm just happy to FINALLY have an explanation instead of just going "Oh well, maybe it was something in their toothpaste that causes their teeth to rot and their gums hurt and they need human flesh to chew on...." Thank you Michael Thomas Ford!
So, I had parts of Z that I really enjoyed, and parts that I didn't. I think reluctant guy readers who crave action would enjoy it a lot more than I did.
Plot: Original and full of action.
Writing: Not too shabby.
Ending: Only a little predictable, and left room for a sequel.
Kid friendly? Yeah. This book talks a lot about drugs (but it's not any drug that we could possibly have today), and maybe has 1 or 2 swears but that's it.
Should I read it? Ummm...maybe. If you're looking for a lot of action.