WRITING STYLE: 3.5/5
ENTERTAINMENT QUOTIENT: 4/5
We at BookGeeks.in got a chance to review two of Mainak Dhar’s books – ‘Alice in Deadland’ & ‘Zombiestan’. We were new to the author, and unaware of his previous works, so when the books arrived we never thought good of them and almost laughed seeing the covers. The covers are really funny, not good funny, but bad funny..!!! And they are the reason these books may never catch your attention, but I will assure you one thing, if you miss these books, you are missing something really good. They say never judge a book by its cover, and well, I have surely learnt my lesson well. For these books was nothing what they looked like. Here in this post I attempt to review the book “Zombiestan” for you and tell you why.
Now, Zombiestan, as the name suggests is a zombie apocalypse novel. The story revolves around a group of 5 central characters, who, caught in between the deadly mess, follow the course of their journey to survival and safety. Unlike the zombies of many other works, Mainak Dhar chooses to give his zombies “the grey matter” enabling them to think, adapt and learn with time. That is why you will find the zombies in this book transforming from simple dead ducks to cunning and automatic weapon bearing soldiers. Mainak also gives his zombies an aim and an objective – “Jihad” – one of the most feared words in the world. The original zombies in the book were a group of Taliban soldiers who, as humans, had sworn to wreck havoc on the world in the name of Jihad and now, every new zombie which is created turns into a jihadi and keeps screaming “Jihaaaaaaad….” This is something which I find interestingly different from other works of similar nature which I have come across and will also appeal to the reader.
In addition to this, the Indian setting adds to the uniqueness of the book, because just an imagination of something like this happening in India sends a chill down the spine of an Indian reader, and at the same time helps in creating a vivid and livelier picture of the situation. For instance, to imagine the beautiful streets of Delhi turning into deadly ruins overrun by biters is both horrifying and intriguing. The Indianisation of characters and plot is surely a good way of bringing home this long neglected genre. After reading this book I very sincerely believe that Mainak Dhar will be the force behind large scale popularization of zombie fiction in India.
Now coming to the negatives, one thing which I didn’t like about the book is that the climax is more like that of a Bollywood movie and does not befit the genre at all. To have a happy ending is good, but only if it befits the story. The “happy ending” in Zombiestan was little out of place for my taste. Another thing which I did not appreciate much was the predictability of the climax, although when I thought about my own versions I couldn’t come to think of them as better than original. The book also paves way for sequel and that is well placed. In the end, I look forward to the sequel and wish the author a very best for his future endeavours. With Saif Ali Khan’s “Go Goa Gone” and Mainak Dhar’s works, may this genre become an indispensable part of Indian literature and art.