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Monster Island by David Wellington
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Zombies are inherently boring. Unlike their monster brethren, zombies lack all pretense of human emotion, intelligence, or fallacy; automatons that eat brains and can only be killed with the destruction of their own feeble minds. In Monster Island, David Wellington attempts with varying degrees of success to address these issues fictionally, all while the creatures have somehow become more popular than ever.

A former UN weapons inspector, Dekalb, along with his wife and young daughter, was in Somalia when the world ended. A virus of unknown origin decimates a majority of the world's population (including Dekalb's wife) and transforms the dead into an army of zombies. In order to ensure the safety of his daughter, Dekalb agrees to travel to New York City, home of millions of zombies, to acquire the only known stash of AZT drugs on the planet. An AIDS-stricken tribal leader sends along several of her personal shock troops, primarily teenage girls.

In NYC, this odd group first teams up with and then challenges Gary, a young doctor who discovered a procedure that enabled him to become an intelligent zombie. Gary realizes that the zombies function with a hive mind, and he begins to manipulate the undead. As it often is with these types of stories, there is something nastier and more powerful at work. In this case, it's a resurrected mummified Celtic druid that controls Gary and the zombies, ultimately gaining control of much of Manhattan. Dekalb and his band are trapped in the middle.

Originally published on the Internet, Monster Island is Wellington's first novel – he has since written five more e-books, including two sequels – and it often reads like one, with clunky sentences, illogical character actions, and overly long fight scenes. While some of his ideas – especially the politics of this new world – show some promise, he squanders most of them in a series of predictable events and stereotypical characters. Throw in a clunky, vague ending, and ultimately he succeeds in only maintaining the boring zombie status quo.

(This review originally appeared in The Austin Chronicle, August 21, 2006.)
Link: http://www.austinchronicle.com/gyrobase/Issue/review?oid=oid:359253 ( )
  rickklaw | Oct 13, 2017 |
Monster Island
Author: David Wellington
Publisher: Running Press
Published In: Philadelphia, PA; London, England
Date: 2006
Pgs: 282


New York City is dead and shambling. In the darkness or the light, the dead rule. The living who could escape did. Only a fool would go back. He’s out of options. His and his daughter’s benefactor, the only one keeping them alive in this post-apocalyptic nightmare, needs medical supplies and the only, potentially, reachable source is in the UN Building. A cadre of devoted teens go with him into the dead city. One head shot, one kill. Get in. Get the supplies. Get out. Only a zombie master has arisen, one who can control the mindless. He is coalescing an army of his own, an army dedicated to feeding his hungers.
Genre Fiction

Least Favorite Character:
Gary after his re-rebirth and betrayal. His actions through the final climax are more supervillain than you would have supposed based on how he acted in the first half of the book. His character arc went light, dark, darker. And it’s not the character arc that I’m put off by, the character doesn’t ring true throughout.

Character I Most Identified With:
I ided with DeKalb, the hero, cliche I know. But I didn’t understand the way he did, personality wise, some of the things he did. But taken in the context of his having been a UN weapons inspector, his actions make sense.

The Feel:
This never really gave me that I’m-about-to-be-eaten feel that the majority of zombie fiction did.

The story lived more in DeKalb’s almost PTSD brain, tired, worn out.

Favorite Scene / Quote:
The opening where the ship slips passed Liberty Island and the narrator dwells on the Statue’s oath interspersed with the dead and zombies.

A mercy eating...sort of, with an intelligent zombie and the child soldiers in a Virgin Megastore in NYC. Wow.

Plot Holes/Out of Character:
How quickly the girls went from thinking DeKalb a coward after the hospital incident to his being the leader after what happened to Ifiyah.

The hazmat walk across NYC may be a good idea. But, logistically, and this is coming from a non-New Yorker, their walk would have made more sense if instead of going around Manhattan to the western shore, they had landed at another place on the east and gone up the FDR to the UN Headquarters building.

Hmm Moments:
So, Gary isn’t a mutant or a naturally occurring different type of zombie, He actively worked to prevent brain damage when he crossed over. Interesting.

Three theories on who or what The Benefactor is. Not going to ruin it, but one is a bit too classic, one is a bit too modern, and the other a bit too psychological. Bet I’m on the money, but with two more books in the series, I’m wondering if it’ll be explained in these pages. I was wrong. Not sure how I feel about the character.

Zomcat and Zompigeons, never saw that coming.

WTF Moments:
Homo Sapiens Inmortuae are better done here than I’ve seen elsewhere. Not sure about the eidicth or whatever they alternatively call the web connecting the dead. Would make sense if there were though. Look at the way that almost everyone has them respond to what one sees, almost a hive mind. Seen it explained away as that moan drawing others to them, but this hivemind spiritual connection actually makes more sense, in a fantastic, horrific way.

Meh / PFFT Moments:
Knew the hazmat suits were a bad idea.

Didn’t expect the Governor-esque subway dwellers. I’m calling them g-esque because of how hard that is being telegraphed. They have a real fear the living vibe to them.

Saw it coming at the end, but it would be an option.

Why isn’t there a screenplay?
In our over-zombie movie and television flood, I doubt it will make it. But, they could. Doubt it would be made.

Casting call / Dreamcasting:
Rhona Mitra as Marisol.

Karl Urban as DeKalb. He could use his real accent that almost never shows up in his performances.

Not sure if he could pull it off, but I keep seeing David Spade as Gary. He could bring a stitch to the character which might make it better through the performance.

Sean Connery’s voice for the Druid. Make him completely CGI.

Last Page Sound:
I was ready to hate the ending when I started the last page. Blame zombie fiction fatigue. I love zombie fiction, but too often, they hang it on a bad cliffhanger or come to an unsatisfactory ending with authors who fail to realize that they aren’t George Romero. Surprisingly, no hate here. Bravo!

Author Assessment:
Good stuff. I’ll be looking up the others in this series and other stuff by this author.

Knee Jerk Reaction:
really good book

Disposition of Book:
Irving Public Library
Valley Ranch Campus
Irving, TX

Dewey Decimal System:

Would recommend to:
genre fans
_________________________________________________ ( )
  texascheeseman | Jun 6, 2017 |
Monster Island by David Wellington is the first book of a “zombie” trilogy. We are never told what caused the global disaster, but most countries of the world have fallen and all that is left is millions of shambling and hungry dead. One of the last countries still under human control is Somalia which is being held together by a warlord. This warlord has one weakness however, she has aids and requires medication. A UN weapons inspector who is sheltering in Somalia along with a group of battle hardened schoolgirls-turned-soldiers come to New York City where they are certain to find the medication that is so desperately needed.

If a zombie novel can be said to be "over the top” this book would definitely qualify. We have the usual millions of brainless zombies but these ones are controlled by a talking, decision making zombie, and added to the mix are an assortment of reanimated Egyptian mummies along with a powerful long dead Druid. There is plenty of violence and grisly scenes to move the story along and a nice twist at the end of the book that makes one want to pick up the second book to see what is going to happen next.

Luckily I have the next two books on my shelves for when I am once again in the mood for a zombie apocalypse. ( )
  DeltaQueen50 | May 29, 2017 |
I read Frostbite - the first of David Wellington's werewolf trilogy - and really liked it. I did not enjoy this one nearly as much. the Zombie premise was a bit too far-fetched (yes, because other zombie stories are logical...lol...I know...) as it delved into more "supernatural" beings rather than the straight-up zombie genre.

the characters, other than Ayaan, are not really very likable and don't make you anxious for everything to turn out okay for them.

I will read others by Wellington -- and may even finish this trilogy as I think it was his earliest one and that may account for the issues in the first book. Unfortunately, it will be later as there are others in the queue that have been more interesting/enjoyable lately. ( )
  bhabeck | Mar 6, 2016 |
This was one of the best books I have read!!
this guy if a phenomenally good writer I'm telling you. I like to call my self a big critic when it comes to horror novels! I really know what it takes
to scare the b-jesus out of someone. This book most definitely does!!
It's a story about a character named Dekalb . One month after a global disaster thid Zombie epidemic had struck all over and there is only a pocket full of humans left. Dekalb happen to be not in the US, but in Somalia . Now as a prisinor with a small child , a little girl that happens to be his daughter. It also happens to be all he has left as far as family goes.The glorious free army of the Free Woman's Republic leader is ill with aids and sends him on a mission to find her medication. The only place he can think to go , is N.Y ! We all know how huge the city is , I can only dream to imagine how many zombies are roaming around there. See he has to ge to the U.N Head quarters Building "The Secretariat building in NY, in America. He has no choice on this or we wont get to see the only person who means everything , his daughter. He is then escorted on to a ship with guards that are mainly females. That are teens in catholic girl school uniforms with AK47's hanging off there shoulders.
This book had me not wanting to ever place it down!! This author has other titles that I think are really worth getting in. Along with the sequels to Monster Island : ( )
  Robineliza | Sep 23, 2011 |
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A month ago the dead started coming back to life. Now a former UN Weapons Inspector and a company of Somalian girl soldiers must travel to the heart of New York City for desperately needed medical supplies. There’s only one problem: eight million zombies stand in their way.
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It's one month after a global disaster. Manhattan has become Monster Island after a plague has turned all its denizens into shambling, rotting animated corpses, except for a couple who have kept their intelligence and also acquired psychic powers. When an expedition from Africa arrives, composed of teenage girl-soldiers and a former U.N. weapons inspector, the zombie masters mobilize their forces to kill or eat the living humans.… (more)

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