Xombies: Apocalypso
Walter Greatshell
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Buy *Xombies: Apocalypso* by Walter Greatshell

Xombies: Apocalypso
Walter Greatshell
304 pages
February 2011
rated 4 of 5 possible stars

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The third book in the Xombies series starts after the apocalypse. Most of the world has been infected with the Agent X virus and died - sort of. Xombies continue living after the infection; their lives are just quite different. All of the books combine humor, horror, satire, and apocalypse, and this book might be the funniest in the series.

Apocalypso is split into three parts. The first part follows Lulu and her friends, familiar characters from the previous book. They have been infected, but because of Lulu's blood, they still have the ability to reason even though their emotional landscape has been changed. At the start of the story, they continue to travel in the nuclear submarine from the previous books but soon abandon it because they want to try to live as normally as possible. Lulu's doctor friend, Langhorne, taking up instruction from 1950s sitcoms and Archie comics, tries to make the several hundred Xombies live the artificial American Dream. Xombies, however, are immortal and don't need to eat, drink, or sleep. Their inhibitions against violence have been lowered because even if a Xombie has been torn apart, sooner or later the parts will find each other and the Xombie will heal. What follows is the hilarious monstrosity of Loveville.

In the second part, two uninfected boys, Todd and Ray, are on the run from the Xombies. They unexpectedly stumble into the man who engineered Agent X, Uri Miska (who looks like a fat Elvis). The boys sensibly continue their escape and manage to find a group of as-yet uninfected people. Because almost all of the women were infected, they are now a precious commodity, and the men are in charge. The men have managed to split into various factions hostile to each other. They are all supposed to be united under Lord Adam's religion, but the Prophet and the Apostle do not agree on certain crucial facts such as what to do about other uninfected people they hear about.

In the third part, all groups collide.

The Xombies know that a disaster is going to strike the Earth soon. Only humans who have been turned into Xombies can survive it, so they are trying to save the uninfected humans. At the same time, the Xombiefied humans are trying to comprehend their new existence. They no longer have any real goals, so too often they explode into senseless violence against each other. Dr. Langhorne is trying to stop them by forcing them to behave like various Archie comics characters, but that doesn't help. Perhaps being forced into a semblance of normal life without the meaning makes the Xombies act out even more. After all, they no longer have the same emotions. They don't seem to have sex drives and can't have children. The most powerful feeling they have seems to be guilt for things they did wrong when they were humans. Xombies who were enemies as humans, work now together.

Meanwhile the uninfected humans are trying to make bring sense into their own lives, which have also changed radically. They have turned to religion - a weird mishmash of Christianity and the followers of Adam coupled with gaudy finery. They think of the Xombies as God's anger toward humanity and are trying to change the Xombies back into humans.

The plot is fast-paced and keeps the reader turning pages, and the action gets downright furious near the end. Unfortunately, some things are left unexplained and the ending can be a little confusing.

The characters are engaging. In addition to familiar characters from the previous books, there are few new ones (and many different points of view), especially among the living humans. Lulu's section of the book is written in first person, but all the others are in third person. Lulu is the only Xombie POV character, so this works well.

Even though Apocalypso is the third book in the series, the important events have been well-integrated into the narration, so it can also be read as a stand-alone.

Originally published on Curled Up With A Good Book at www.curledup.com. Mervi Hamalainen, 2011

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