Beginning with the setting, the dystopian world is well researched as are the technical details of the submarine and underwater operations and could very well serve as foreshadowing of our own future based on corporate greed and the human nature of endless consumption waste Zooming the lens brings an even detailed backdrop sure to please the SF and tech oriented bubble heads mechanics of submarines delivered in hi def.
Each character is well rendered with individual personalities setting them apart from each other with clarity and that in and of itself is fantastic considering the amount of characters portrayed Something I especially admired about this book is the different POVs that created a sort of literary panoramic effect It also allowed the writer and advantage, delivering details in creative ways while keeping the mystery thriller aspects thumping to the very end.
Finally, the best Zombies And not the average Romero shuffler biter Ms Robb s undead defy stereo types, from creation to action I have to say I was pleasantly surprised when the zombies of the Betty Loo did things that made my skin crawl Gory, oozing, calculated, and raging Z Boat than earned a top shelf five star in my collection But definitely not recommended for the squeamish or claustrophobic Thank you, Ms Robb, and may we have another When one typically says the word post apocalyptic zombie fiction , you assume the former is caused by the latter The first intriguing thing about Z Boat is the zombies are completely unrelated to the fact the world has gone to hell Set in an undetermined time in the future, Z Boat describes a world where the environment has been totally destroyed by pollution and only a few countries remain due to economic collapse While I was knocked out of the book by her, presumably humorous, choice of North Korea as one of those nations we have no idea just how long the world has been in this state I found Suzanne Robb s vision of a humanity on its last legs enjoyably dark Everyone continues to go about their business despite the fact its obvious the world not just coming to an end but had ended years ago Humanity is taking its time dying out but the sheer amount of devastation makes any repair attempts impossible doubly so given humanity is using outmoded rusting 21st century equipment The bleakness is all subtext, though, with the humans of Z Boat not really caring about the end of the world Instead, their chief concerns are their paycheck and whether or not their next mission will get them killed The crew of the titular boat reminded me strongly of the Nostromo s crew from Alien as a result A collection of individuals in a doomed situation, shady corporate sponsorship, and one exceptionally competent woman who might save a few The characters are an eclectic bunch and the book s chief draw The Betty Loo submarine is or less the last stop and all of them have checked pasts of one kind or another Not all of the crew like each other and tensions run hot and thick between the original crew as well as the newcomers My favorite characters were Ally and Brian, the former being a survivor of a cult like militia and the latter being the ship s alcoholic Captain The novel spans multiple perspectives and gives us a multifaceted view of the situation while also making sure we don t know who the main characters are This keeps tension hot when bodies start to pile up Suzanne Robb brings an interesting new approach to zombies as well Her particular Z words are notable for the fact infection doesn t destroy a subject s intelligence Instead, they just become incredibly hostile and focused on feeding above all else The zombies are thus able to plan and strategize before falling on their former human allies like the cannibals they are There were times when I wondered if they were possessed by an alien parasite like in The Thing We got only a short bit from the perspective of these smart zombies and I m hoping for in future books Readers should be forewarned the actual zombies don t appear engage the crew until the last third of the book Suzanne Robb is far interested in the tensions, paranoia, and in fighting amongst the crew to drop in her cannibalistic creations off the bat Therefore, the book is something of a slow burn before an explosive climax This may not to be everyone s taste Likewise, I question the choice of the surviving nations in this reality and believe others would have worked better One scene also bugged me A crew member of the Betty Loo is revealed to have taken part in a monstrous crime One so horrific and destructive that the casualties outnumber Nine Eleven a hundred fold When his part in this horrific massacre is revealed, the crew just sort of shrug it off I m not sure if the author was trying to make a statement about the callousness of people in the future or simply the idea such tragedies are commonplace now Either way, it took me out of the book Still, the personal relationships of the crew helped endear them to me so when the zombies finally did arrive I cared who got eaten and who didn t This is an important quality for any work of horror and Z Boat successfully pulls it off I look forward to future works set in the world of Z Boat and recommend the novel for zombie and post apocalyptic fiction fans.
5 10 Zombies on a submarine, a small, confined space, thousands of feet below the ocean s surface can it be any scarier than this Z Boat opens with a quick recap on the state of the world, overpopulation has taken its toll, resulting in undrinkable water, overly genetically modified food that has lost its nutritional value, and of course, the fuel is running out The superpowers have been taken over by military regimes and dictators education in Russia is far to superior to that of the American educational system, and spies are rife.
The action on the Betty Lou begins with a recap of all the characters which I really appreciated as the list of characters is quite long, and all of them are introduced into the story right from the beginning Z Boat reads like a movie the first movie that it brought to my mind was Deep Blue Sea which fits perfectly with the story.
The characters are a mish mash of different personalities, skills and motives, and part of the mystery is trying to work out who is working with whom, who they are working for, and who they are working against.
I know nothing about submarines, but the explanation of the workings of the sub and the equipment are well written and add to the story with just enough content to keep it interesting without being bogged down by an overload of information.
There are a few negatives for me in this book the story takes place over several days, but reads like it is happening all at once, for example there are no references I can remember that refer to the characters sleeping or eating a regular meal At times the action is a little slow, and other times too fast which made it hard to keep up with what was happening.
This is a good, solid Zombie book the setting is unique, the characters although there are many are easily distinguishable from each other, there is a strong mystery element and the writing is good Zombies don t appear in force until the second half of the book which normally would disappoint me, but in Z Boat the build up was worthwhile With a few touch ups this could be an excellent book.
Full review on my blog theaussiezombie.
com A world torn apart by human consumption and greed Pollution destroying our food source, air supply and clean water Governments at war over fuel and power A perfect post apocalyptic world for any novel and Suzanne Robb manages to fit all of that into the very first page I knew immediately that I was going to enjoy this novel.
The action all takes place on an independently owned submarine, which is hired out by governments and companies alike to search the depths of the high seas for new fuel sources, clean water or in this case a missing sub that has literally gone off radar The crew of the Betty Loo are a mismatched group of alcoholics, gamblers, deserters and friends But when their new job entails taking on a few new members ALL hell breaks lose as paranoia and suspicions increase in the closed claustrophobic atmosphere of the underwater vessel.
The authors writing style is great at capturing the moods and suspicions of each crew member With every new chapter the pages seep with the fears and paranoia that the crew must face and as the reader, you can feel the claustrophobia take over as you advance through the story.
The story gathers speed as the Betty Loo appraoches its missions destination and then the plot explodes into a frantic battle against the undead that lie in wait for the resuce team.
I would highly recommend this book to any fan of the genre It is exciting, fun and a joy to read Being Suzanne Robbs first novel I am eagerly awaiting from her talented imagination.
Suzanne Robb s Z Boat is a unique adventure in the beginning, we re introduced to a group of people, all tasked to head out on a deep sea rescue mission in a submarine called the Betty Loo They re assigned to locate a sunken sub and rescue the survivors or are they Now, while you may find yourself wanting to initially find someone to latch onto and cheer for, it s not easy to do The further into the book you get, you wonder if it s almost fun not trusting any of them, and just waiting for someone to do something that earns your trust This does eventually happen, but I won t give away who it is that you can hang with until the end Poor Iain is the captain of the sub, and while that should normally be enough for a guy to garner at least some small amount of respect from the others, it just doesn t seem to be the case, and Iain doesn t do much to help his own situation in that regard There are many people who are not what they seem to be, and with suspicion being cast in nearly all directions, it leaves you wondering at certain points if anyone is The Z part of Z Boat comes later in the story when the actual rescue begins to unfold, the action begins to crescendo, and you are left wondering if anyone is going to live long enough to get to the page with the words, The End on it Z Boat is a great addition to the zombie lit out there, and I d recommend a purchase and read And I m wondering if we can put together another crew, along with the remnants of this one, and go diving into the depths again with Ms Robb and her band of submariners well What do you say Z boat is an original novel with a great plot The plot for this novel is so different and engaging that it really sets it apart from all the other zombie novels You can say that in the massive ocean of zombie novels, Z Boat really floats to the surface insert pity laugh here The characters were diverse and intriguing The author did a stellar job of projecting the different personalities of all the characters, and she managed to do this without disrupting the story s quick pace Tension Suzanne Robb is great at controlling tension throughout a story As I kept reading this book, the tension just kept building and building, it really put me on edge, and I was getting figetty near the last quarter of the book When the action does come, it delivers Did I have any issues with the story It could have been expanded to help flesh out some of the characters a little , but otherwise, I wouldn t change a thing in this book The zombies were great Suzanne really made some kickass zombies and I got a bit of a chill from some of them read it, and you will see what I mean After reading dozens of zombie novels over the past while, it s always a joy to read an original one like this This was an excellent debut novel for Suzanne Robb and I want to see great work from her soon.
I really enjoyed Z Boat, this is a highly Recommended novel Z Boat tells the tale of the Betty Loo, an ancient heap of a submarine contracted out for search and rescue missions several decades in the future The world has changed since the early part of the twenty first century, with massive pollution, tremendous political turmoil, deteriorating food and water supplies, and in general, a pretty messed up world People do live longer and food is genetically enhanced, but large corporations run things along with the new superpowers North Korea, Russia, and Israel There is little in the way of freedom any, and the human race is starting to die out because food is losing its nutritional value and clean water is scarce Missions to explore the depths of the ocean to find new solutions to the world s energy and bio related problems are believed to be one of the few remaining hopes to the long term survival of the human race We are introduced to a decent sized cast of characters in this story the members of the Betty Loo s crew that have been with her for the long haul and the new members of the team who have signed on to join them for a search and rescue of a sub that is at a depth the Betty Loo has never gone to and perhaps can t handle in her semi decrepit state It is clear almost immediately that virtually everyone who has been hired on for this mission has ulterior motives, and no one has any idea who to trust No one really knows who has hired them for the operation, as that information is kept secret, even from the captain, though several grim facts have been shared with him that make him realize that this might be the last mission the Betty Loo ever undertakes The cast of characters is colorful, with several ranking high on the intrigue scale Ally, the ship s pilot with the cloudy past, is the captain s right hand and is probably as close to a main character as this ensemble piece gets Ivan, the newcomer who appears to be in charge of divulging information to the crew on a need to know basis, is an ominous presence along with the doctor and research scientist who have found their way onto this mission along with him Each has their own agenda, which the author doles out in bits and pieces as the story unfolds The author also shares with the reader the perspective of virtually every character as key things happen, often switching from one to another rapidly to make us aware of some of the motivations that drive the different members of the crew, both new and old Oh yes, there is zombies in this tale, but this book is of a thriller than a zombie story, with the gruesome gut munchers not showing up until than two thirds through the book When they do, they provide the level of gory entertainment that zombie fans crave I didn t see the build up to their reveal as a negative here there was plenty to keep the plot rolling along in advance of their involvement, and even after they make their appearance, the elements that made the book a dark thriller remain in place Z Boat was an ambitious undertaking It blends elements of both horror and thriller effortlessly, and also gives the reader a solid perspective of life aboard a submarine without letting the technical details of such an experience become overwhelming or boring We are given just the right amount of detail on the Betty Loo so we understand how she operates when things are working and when they are falling apart without feeling like we ve read a technical manual The twists and turns of the plot challenged me to keep up, but didn t leave me scratching my head, which in some ways can be both a good and a bad thing As I mentioned, the author reveals a great deal about each of the characters and what they re thinking, so how they act and react doesn t generate surprise or shock as we dig deeper into the story, which makes this one of a thriller than a true mystery in my mind Of course, the zombies themselves are always unpredictable and insert plenty of surprise into the story, giving us a pretty decent body count in cramped quarters both on the mysterious vessel sitting on the bottom of the ocean waiting for rescue as well as the Betty Loo herself This was a fun read that kept me wondering how things would turn out from moment to moment, especially when the undead showed up and threw another wrench into the works for the crew just trying to survive each other as well as the constant array of mechanical problems the Betty Loo keeps having as she dives deeper and deeper into the dark depths of the ocean.
Z Boat is not just a zombie book No, it is much, much.
It is a genre blend of horror, science fiction, and espionage It is a chimera, parts Firefly, Captain Nemo, Crimson Tide, and Romero Ms Robb s dialogue is tight, fleshing out the diverse characters nicely Readers will easily settle into their dynamic and applaud the wit.
The setting is claustrophobia inducing If I didn t know better, I d bet the author served on a submarine at some point in her life Her research on the vessels is extensive, and it pays off Her nautical descriptions are than believable they are engrossing By the end of the book, you ll swear you could throw a chicken switch yourself.
The burn is slow like the wick on an explosive When the Bang comes, you ll be happy you re there to watch the zombie carnage Z Boat is a smart, fun read Here s hoping the author writes about the exploits of the Betty Loo and her crew.