BOOK REVIEW: The Last Kids on Earth and the Zombie Parade by Max Brallier, illustrated by Douglas Holgate

BOOK REVIEW: The Last Kids on Earth and the Zombie Parade by Max Brallier, illustrated by Douglas Holgate

Hardie Grant Egmont
October 2016
Paperback, $16.99
Reviewed by Steph O’Connell

Middle Grade

7/10

The Last Kids on Earth and the Zombie Parade is the second book in the Last Kids on Earth Series. You should read them in order or you’re bound to miss things.

My review of book 1 can be found HERE!

 

Jack Sullivan is back and embarking on a new quest, this time with his friends by his side!

Now, I realize in terms of, like, all-time ultimate heroic quests, ‘writing a book’ doesn’t exactly rank up there with Frodo carrying the ring to Mount Doom, but whatever. I learned that just be calling any random chore a quest, you can make life a LOT more fun.

Together, they’re mapping out their town and tracking down all the monsters that live there, adding them to their new bestiary.

The cover is made of something hard, like old monster skin. The pages are yellow and thick and textured. Each one is covered with creepy sketches of strange, terrifying creatures. Words scrawled in monster writing.
And stuff.
Things.

Teeth and fingernails and hair and – eww – a flattened eyeball.
‘Um… what is this disgusting but awesome book?’ I ask.

And they’re learning that not all monsters are evil.

So this… this man-monster, he not only freed my friends – he took the hit that saved their lives. And in a way, saved me – because without my friends, I might as well not exist.
This terrifying, wicked-looking thing is our saviour. Just goes to show – never judge a monster by its cover. Or its bone jewellery.

But where have all the zombies gone, and what’s the story behind that strange and eerie shrieking?

Discovering a pizza place full of monsters? That’s heavy! Learning that Earth is now covered in monsters from, like a time before time began to tell time? Also super heavy.
And that’s just the weirdness appetizer! The main course is what appears to be the real threat: some strange, eerie sound – The Shrieking – that causes zombies to lose what little minds they have left.

Now that he’s found his friends, Jack doesn’t want to lose them, and yeah, maybe he’s taking his protection of them a little too far. But what would he do if something happened to them?

‘If it wasn’t for Thrull, they’d be gone. Dead.’
‘Purrr.’
‘I’m Jack Sullivan, Post-Apocalyptic Action Hero. But they’re not.’
‘Purrr.’
I sigh. ‘I wish I could just, I don’t know, just like, lock everyone up in this treehouse so no one could ever, ever leave, no matter what.
‘Yep… yep, I heard it as soon as I said it. That was creeper-ish.’

But they’re survivors, too, and determined to do their own part in this monster-filled end of the world.

I eye my friends. Am I being scolded? Like a little kid! And scolded for trying to save them?
No.
No, I’m being scolded for not trusting them. For not placing my faith in them, the way they’ve placed their faith in me.
I know it.
I can’t do it all.
Friends are important. Family is important. Maybe the most important thing. But even a Post-Apocalyptic Action Hero can’t keep them safe all the time.

 

Brallier and Holgate are back with another rip-roaring, non-stop adventure set in a world where monsters and zombies run wild and all the responsible grown-ups have either fled or been turned into zombies. 

Through their quest to gather a bestiary, Jack goes through many emotions, including wanting to do everything himself in order to keep his friends safe, but there’s plenty going on to keep them all busy. Jack’s two hands are not enough to solve all the problems they face.

There are many more layers in this book than in the first, and as a result many facets to look at. All in all it was well handled, came to a nice conclusion (complete with clues that readers can go back and look for after certain reveals), and readers are sure to have a good time returning to this world and these characters.

The one complaint this reader had was that, at times, the easy-going, engaging narrative felt like it was trying a little too hard… as though the thought process of, “How do I make this sound authentic?” got in the way of the ease with which the first book seemed to handle this same question. But it was still an incredibly fun read, and I can’t wait to get my hands on book 3!

Overall this book is presented fantastically, continues what is a great series for reluctant readers, and contains a few jokes for the “grown-ups”, too.

 

BOOK REVIEW: The Last Kids on Earth and the Zombie Parade by Max Brallier, illustrated by Douglas Holgate

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