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Please try again later. Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase. It's been years since I read the first book, so I was a little confused by some of the plot points, but I enjoyed this book as it was. There was a lot of disturbing stuff, and the ending is anticlimactic, but I definitely want to read the next book.
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Apocalypticon" is author Walter Greatshell's followup to his acclaimed Berkley novel, "Xombies", also retitled "Xombies: Apocalypse Blues", under the re-release by Ace. Personally, I like the original title and especially the original cover a lot better, but marketing departments have the final say in the end, right or wrong. The original printing also has some slight text differences in a character's accent used in dialogue.
In this second story, Greatshell continues with the same characters and throws them in just as much danger as before. Only this time, they have to battle between each other as much as the outside forces of the Xombies. Food is dwindling and paranoia about the future quickly turns our submarine crew into panic mode.
For a more rewarding experience, I would recommend newcomers read the first book in the series before diving into this. Halfway through the book, Greatshell introduces a completely new concept to the zombie mythology that is, quite simply, a game changer for humans and their defensive tactics against the hoards of the undead. Here and there, I felt some descriptions or actions were a touch vague and a bit confusing, but overall it was clearly a successful novel.
If you are looking for the same old zombie story, you'll want to stay away. These are not your father's zombies. This is a completely new and layered take on this sub-genre. Greatshell takes the rulebook on zombies and doesn't just throw it out, he blows it up.
When the submarine crew returns to the mainland USA to try to find clues to the origin -- and potential cure -- of Xombieism, it isn't long before everything goes horribly wrong. With fewer name characters and plot twists than the first book, Apocalypticon delivers running chase-and-battle scenes with hordes of running Xombies, as well as numerous world-building flashbacks to the very first minutes of the outbreak. Greatshell's sense of absurdity in full force, such as in the bizarre opening scene in a prison rodeo, adding lots of subtle humor to a series which manages to be incredibly violent and gory without being sadistic Apocalypticon also delves deeper into science-fiction explorations of the nature of Xombiehood, although it leaves many questions unanswered and others answered only if you're really paying attention , and it introduces one particularly out-of-left-field sci-fi subplot which hangs in the air, tantalizing, at book's end.
That's the only caveat about this dark, dark cocktail of apocalyptic posthuman sci-fi black-comedy horror: And while I'm at it, more of the Beatles cover band from the first book, who in Apocalypticon only get a brief nod.
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Sure, we've seen the zombie-causing virus before. We've witnessed countless movies and books about mindless once-human things bent on contaminating all of the human race. Yet Walter Greatshell's Xombies: Apocalypticon sequel to his Xombies: Apocalypse Blues actually succeeds in bringing something new and fascinating to this milieu.
Yet again, being a book reviewer has resulted in my starting a series in the middle. I highly recommend starting with the first book, because this is a rather complicated story, and while this book stands about as well as could be expected on its own, I would have had an easier time with some of the plot points if I'd started at the right place!
Not to mention there's plenty of interesting material here, and you might as well enjoy it all. Note that this book features a different main character and focuses on a different aspect of the Xombies tale, with Lulu from the first book only coming into play tangentially.
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While there's a fascinating mystery at the heart of the Agent X infection, and some interesting characters, the real story is the altered world in which the characters find themselves. The folks on the sub have their own hardships, and the ones on land have found some highly unusual "solutions" I use that word very lightly to many of the dangers the Xombies pose. There are also quite a few social implications raised by the lack of women, and Greatshell definitely has some unusual and fascinating takes on what might happen there.
I know it seems like I'm not going into much detail here, and that's because it's hard to get into the nitty-gritty of things without giving away some of the best surprises. The Xombie tale is gory, wild, surreal, gross, and definitely action-packed. It has a macabre sense of humor and isn't afraid to step on toes or go places that might offend some readers. Yet it adds onto that with some great world-building and a fascinating biological puzzle that will certainly keep you guessing.
Reading Walter Greatshell's Xombies: Apocalypse Blues isn't absolutely necessary before diving into its sequel, Xombies: Apocalypticon , but it is recommended due to the complex plot. The first chapter describes the apocalypse from the point of view of a group of prisoners who witnessed it and were fortunate enough to escape it for a while.
Book Review | Apocalypticon by Clayton Smith « Morgan Hobbes
A virus called Agent X turned fully half the world's population into inhuman blue-skinned killing machines. The virus seemed to spread worldwide and infected everyone almost simultaneously. Women were the first to be affected, then they turned on the men and infected them.
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The only places left unaffected initially were the ones without women, such as prisons housing only males. Each chapter opens with an excerpt from the Maenad Project explaining some aspect of the Xombie apocalypse and peoples' actions both during and following it. Most of this book's point-of-view characters are familiar as secondary characters from the first: Some are former military officers trying to maintain order; some are civilians.
They have just fled a place a sanctuary for rich people and are now simply trying survive.