Brooklyn, Wheels and Zombies – M.Van

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I was half way through a book that dealt with emotional survival when I received this book (for an impartial review) from the author M.Van. I was taking part in a Reading Challenge which required me to read books on Survival in June. Brooklyn, Wheels and Zombies  as the name suggests is all about survival at the most basic level. I generally stay away from this genre because there’s only so much of exploding skulls that one can take. But thoughts of the Reading Challenge combined with a strange fascination for the title made me accept the book from M.Van.

I felt like I was on a roller coaster while reading this book. It was exhilarating and fast-paced and I was completely outside my comfort zone. I wasn’t sure I would give it a positive review because like I mentioned earlier, blood and gore has its limits. But I was pleasantly surprised when I realized that I was enjoying the mad ride !

As with the entire menagerie of apocalyptic movies, this story too is set in New York (Sometimes I feel that story writers should give America a break from all the catastrophes which come its way !). Mags Vissers is on vacation from Netherlands with her friend Emily. Mags is battling cancer and this holiday was a gift from her parents to get away from the drudgery of chemotherapy and hospitals. Little do they know that there’s been an outbreak of a virus in the city which has lead to blood thirsty zombies roaming the streets.

Mags and Emily have had to cut short their vacation due to a mysterious emergency situation that seems to have developed in the city. They have been sequestered in the hotel for the past couple of days, with martial law being declared. The author does not beat around the bush at all and in the very first page we have action when a strange man at the airport bites Emily. Mags manages to escape from the airport with the help of the army. But her relief is short-lived when she too gets bitten.

Then onwards it’s like a free for all game of rugby where Mags is on the run battling zombies as well as a mysterious doctor who wants her blood to further his research. On the way she meets a very sick girl in a wheel chair called Ash. Mags is drawn to Ash because of her indomitable spirit in the face of all kinds of odds. Mags takes Ash under her wings and the two commandeer a vehicle to get out of the zombie zone. Mags and Ash have a well-wisher within the army who helps them to stay one step ahead of the people who are after them.

Mags and Ash are a quirky and brave pair who slowly worm their way into our hearts. The younger one, Ash, is cocky with a huge attitude while the older Mags is quieter. However for all the grief that Ash gives Mags, she will die for her if the need arises. It’s delightful to see the two loners reaching out to each other, their concern camouflaged in harsh words and silences.

Undoubtedly this theme has been used in countless stories, but M.Van has been able to populate the familiar landscape with interesting characters and situations. This book is the second part of a trilogy and even though I hadn’t read the first one, I didn’t have a problem at all. It reads well as a standalone book too.

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