“I am an enthusiast of zombie lore, but I definitely don’t love everything zombie. I’ve probably bailed on as many zombie books and movies as I have finished. For me, a lot of zombie stuff is cheesy or working too hard, trying to reinvent zombies and add some novel angle that changes the core of modern zombieism too much for my tastes. And I’m not really an “avid” reader in general. I’ll drag out reading a book (even one I enjoy) for weeks or months – in lieu of other hobbies and priorities. Toderello’s book did not fall into any of these traps. I finished The Lazarus Impact in a matter of days and enjoyed it immensely.
As is important in a good zombie story, Toderello lays out the rules for his zombies as the story develops and stays true to those rules. The origin of the outbreak is simple and avoids a lot of the common criticisms I see regarding a zombie outbreak (it is believable that the outbreak spread at an uncontainable rate). Toderello handles the ensemble cast skillfully, giving each character more than enough dimension to make you like and/or hate each of them.
The pace and storytelling was also very strong. Short chapters, each with a minor cliffhanger made me regret the end of each portion – but the next chapter quickly re-engaged me and reset my energy. Set-ups are paid off and reveals are believable and not gimmicky.
While the zombies Toderello created aren’t particularly unique (again, a good thing for me) the scenarios he places them into and the ways in which they attack and are killed were unique and fresh – while still being believable and true to the world created.
Since no review would be complete or credible without some criticism, I’d advise Toderallo in his sequel (which I hopefully assume is coming), that he should kill more characters. (Small spoilers) He wasn’t shy about killing a major character, as well as children and animals – which is great for an apocalypse story. But I love it when zombie stories kill characters I’ve come to love – all or most of them. I think its adds realism to the constant impending threat and also makes me respect the author who bravely eliminates a character who they spent so much time developing. That said, it as a relatively short book, so there was arguably not enough time to develop and kill a bunch of characters. And I’m sure a lot of readers may disagree about killing beloved characters.
Overall, this was easily among the most enjoyable zombie stories I’ve consumed. In my head, I like to pretend that all of my favorites (World War Z, Dawn of the Dead 2004, Walking Dead comic) are part of the same universe. Despite basic differences, I think these all have similar core zombie values. The Lazarus Impact fits comfortably amongst these ranks. I look forward to more from Toderello.”