Book: Nightmare on Zombie Island

Nightmare on Zombie IslandNightmare on Zombie Island
Paul D. Storrie
illustrated by David Witt
2008 (Graphic Universe/Lerner)

Previously I wrote about The Time Travel Trap, which is the best book I’ve read so far from the Twisted Journeys series. Today I want to tell you about Nightmare on Zombie Island, which is the worst from the series so far. You are a kid tagging along on an archeological expedition for no very well explained reason to an island said to have a history of zombie infestation. There’s an interesting and elaborate backstory for the island involving pirates and plantation slave curses and treasure. Everyone is warned up front about what will make the zombies rise from their graves. Despite this warning, there is no way to prevent someone from the party raising the zombies (it’s not always the same person). Then it’s all about survival.

There are 28 endings in this book. You survive in less than a quarter of them and there is only one ending where the zombies are actually defeated, every other survival ending involves fleeing the island and leaving it overrun with zombies. There is no ending where everyone survives. This would all be fine, except that the choices you make feel really random and entirely powerless. As I said, you are a kid on an archeological expedition. Most of the adults don’t listen to you most of the time (and when they do, it usually seems weird). Your choices frequently amount to “go for help” or “save yourself” and often you can die either way. You can die falling down a hole or drowning as well as being a victim of the zombies.

I really liked the idea of this book. A book where you are coping with a zombie attack is a great idea, perfect for a choose-your-own-adventure story! But every choice in this book feels so powerless, so far from heroic that it was really disappointing. I wasn’t surprised when I kept finding endings where my character died. Of course he died, he was powerless and stupid! Never, even in the ending where we defeated the zombies, was my character really thinking about doing so. He was always focused on survival. That little mental shift would have made a huge difference! I really hope someone takes the idea behind his book and does it again, but makes the character controlled by the reader capable of heroics. In this type of story, your character should be able to prevail and should be interested in doing so. Yes, there should be failure endings, but there needs to be ways to succeed! “Ways” plural, not “way” singular.

- Publisher’s Description

- Paul D. Storrie’s Website
- David Witt’s Website

- Buy it from Amazon

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