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Ex Machina, Vol. 1: The First Hundred Days
Brian K. Vaughan, Tony Harris
The World Without Us
Alan Weisman
Hollowland - Amanda Hocking I think this might be my most favorite zombie book thus far. Take that as you will.

This is about a girl named Remy who fights her way across the zombie wasteland to get to a military quarantine, where she hopes her mysteriously sick younger brother is being kept safe. Along the way she picks up some fellow travelers, as well as a lion. If a story about a kick-ass girl and her pet zombie-fighting lion sounds ridiculous to you, I guess you will not enjoy this book. Personally, as soon as I realized this book was going to include a zombie-fighting lion, my interest went through the god-damned roof. It's not quite Lyra and Iorek Byrnison, but it's closer than anything else.

So, what I liked about this book, compared to other zombie books, is that it actually didn't focus very heavily on zombies. Zone One, World War Z, it's all just ZOMBIES ZOMBIES ZOMBIES. In Hollowland, zombies are just a part of the landscape, a fact of life, and only of the many things you might worry about in the course of a day. As it should be, the scariest and creepiest parts have to do with other humans, and what it means to be human as society breaks down.

Really the main theme of the book is What does it mean to be "Safe?" Which is a good question, and just as true and worth asking now as it will be during the zombie apocalypse. Each haven Remy finds along her travels leads her to ask: "Is this safe? Is this Good Enough?" And it's REALLY INTERESTING. Especially during the religious cult section.

The author also builds her world very well. In other zombie books they act all surprised, like they've never heard of zombies! Not so here. AND she mentions that as the zombies get older they get grosser and more putrescent and easier to kill, which is another obvious thing that many zombie books miss. For a book about a zombie apocalypse, the world felt true.

The last couple of chapters slow down a bit, as it becomes clear we're being set up for a sequel. There are some sentences in the book that are missing words and punctuation, but it wasn't enough to bother me. The writing is straight-forward, fairly unadorned, but feels right for the narrator. There weren't any bizarro sentences that pulled me way out of the world, like there are in a certain wildly popular book that rhymes with Shmilight. The characters are interesting and their decisions and motivations make sense.

From reviews, it sounds like the sequel was a huge disappointment to people, which is a bummer, so I might skip it, but I am for sure interested in reading more Amanda Hocking.