Set several weeks after the world has been overrun by zombies, Monster Island has two narratives: a former UN weapons inspector coming to New York with a team of Somali schoolgirls-turned-soldiers; and a medical student who, believing himself alone in a world of the undead, follows the principle of if-you-can’t-beat-the-join-them, but figures out a way for his mind to survive the zombification process.
Monster Island has quite a good take on the whole zombie thing. While the weapon inspector storyline is nothing I haven’t seen dozens times before (alright, the army of Somali school children was a new twist, but people shooting zombies with guns is people shooting zombies with guns) but the narrative following Gary the newly undead medical student as he wanders the streets and gets organised, is a fresh look at the genre.
It’s not the best-written book in the world. Wellington has a solid narrative style, but nothing to separate his voice from any of the others on the shelves. And not to get to negative, but an editor wouldn’t have killed him. Monster Island was first published in blog-format (and remains so, in the link above) and there are times where it shows the roughness of something being written to a deadline and released quickly: a paragraph where the narrator talks about reaching for something with his gloved hands, and then, less than four lines later has a zombie reaching for his gloveless hand is the sort of thing that you can forgive on a blog, but should have been picked up before it became a proper book.
If you’re not into zombies, you could probably give this one a miss, but if you like the odd zombie story (or, like me, love them like a crack-addict loves his pipe) then you should check this one out to see the new things Wellington does with the genre.