Release date: September 25, 2012
Published by: Candlewick Press
A feast for the brain, this gory and genuinely hilarious take on zombie culture simultaneously skewers, pays tribute to, and elevates the horror genre. Seventeen-year-old Nero is stuck in the wilderness with a bunch of other juvenile delinquents on an "Inward Trek." As if that weren’t bad enough, his counselors have turned into flesh-eating maniacs overnight and are now chowing down on his fellow miscreants. As in any classic monster flick worth its salted popcorn, plentiful carnage sends survivors rabbiting into the woods while the mindless horde of "infects" shambles, moans, and drools behind. Of course, these kids have seen zombie movies. They generate "Zombie Rules" almost as quickly as cheeky remarks, but attitude alone can’t keep the biters back. Serving up a cast of irreverent, slightly twisted characters, an unexpected villain, and an ending you won’t see coming, here is a savvy tale that that’s a delight to read — whether you’re a rabid zombie fan or freshly bitten — and an incisive commentary on the evil that lurks within each of us.
I can't decide what I enjoyed most about The Infects. The writing style, the vividly-detailed gore and violence, the highly amusing characters with their cocky teenage attitudes and smartass humor. It was all fantastic!
The story is told through Nick Sole's point-of-view. He's an average high school kid who works at Rebozzo Aviraculture, loves his little sister, and is too afraid to tell the girl he's crushing on that he's into her. He's a likable, well-crafted character and I loved every minute of being inside his head. His thoughts were witty, sarcastic, and occasionally chaotic in an oddly fascinating way.
Following a strange set of circumstances and some less-than-ideal choices on Nick's part, he's fired from Rebozzo and sentenced to three months at Inward Trek, a boot camp for delinquents. As a part of the program, each kid is assigned a trek handle. This is where Nick Sole is left behind and the evolution of Nero begins.
As the story progresses, we meet a colorful, often humorous cast of characters. Yeltsin, War Pig, and Mr. Bator, among others, all kept me glued to the pages and I even found myself laughing out loud at their completely inappropriate dialogue and behavior.
Once they discover the infected, you quickly learn not to choose favorites. No one is safe and I was left on the edge of my seat wondering who would be the next to go.
The Infects is not your typical zombie novel. Some of the infected are unpredictable, calculating, and not completely lacking in emotion. Also, the initial cause of the plague and the twisted ending is disturbing, but also thought-provoking. It's a conclusion that I found satisfying and at the same time was left wanting more.
For fans of zombie survival stories, dark humor, and gruesome violence, Sean Beaudoin's The Infects is a must-read.