I first went through The Zombie Survival Guide in audio form, but on my second pass through I went to a print edition and was quite pleased to do so. While the audio edition is played absolutely straight, with the narrator doing his reading in deadly earnest (and therefore infusing the whole thing with delicious zombie-laden lulz), the print copy comes with crude little illustrations scattered throughout the pages. They’re perfect for the schtick of the book, because they’re exactly the kind of hand-drawn style you’d expect in a combat manual for fighting the living dead.
Which is, of course, what this is. The level of detail for weapon selection, attack and defense strategy, and planning escape routes is surprisingly thorough–and if you look past the zombie schtick, a clever reader could find possible tips for surviving actual real-world disasters in here. What kicks it up another notch for me as a reader though is the backstory laced in with the combat and survival advice: the history of the “Solanum” virus, how it affects its victims, and the entire section at the end devoted to recorded attacks painstakingly by the manual’s in-character “author”.
All in all it’s great fun for zombie buffs, even if it doesn’t quite manage the sheer unadulterated brilliance of Brooks’ followup, World War Z. Four stars. Or in this case, maybe, brains.