5 April 2013

Review: Deck Z: The Titanic: Unsinkable. Undead. by Chris Pauls and Matt Solomon

Deck Z: The Titanic: Unsinkable. Undead. by Chris Pauls and Matt Solomon

Publisher: Chronicle Books (2012)
Format: Paperback, 222 pages
ISBN-13: 9781452108032

"The year is 1912. Theodor Weiss, a German scientist, has discovered a strange new plague that ravages its victims, transforming them into soulless, flesh-hungry monsters. Yet, his lab studies show that the strain also holds great promise: It could be the key for a cure to all types of the plague. When Weiss uncovers a sinister military plot to use the disease as a weapon, he steals the world’s only sample vial and makes for America, where he will be safely out of the reach of German operatives. And what better way to travel in anonymity than on the world’s largest ocean liner, making its maiden voyage that very week? Titanic. "

In an attempt to branch out into different genres I entered a goodreads giveaway of this book - and won! Of course I was excited to have won the book, but to say that I was skeptical is probably an understatement. Completely unfamiliar with the zombie genre, I was scared of having to face brutality and gore - I am not a person that handle such things very well - but I got so much more! Yes, there are very vivid descriptions of the zombies appearance,
"Now the flesh on her face was so rotted that her cheekbones lay exposed. Her ragged, purple lips moved only because of her furiously masticating jaw." (p. 27)
as well as some acts of violence
"With his free hand, the Agent reached into his jacket and pulled out a pair of needle-nose pliers, handcrafted by his dead father. The opened, pointed tips plunged into Jadovsky's neck, grabbed his Adam's apple and jerked. Blood pumped from the fresh opening in time with the beating of the Russian's heart. [...] The Agent had ripped his quarry's larynx free. [...] He brought the tool down a second time, and a third, violent overhand blows to the dying man's chest, splintering his rib cage and puncturing both lungs." (p. 38)
but the book has much more to it, and is not about senseless killing as I had feared. On the contrary, the book gives us the perspective of many different characters involved, how they deal with fear, power, killing and the prospect of being killed. All characters were interesting and real.

Overall, the book was captivating and the suspense sometimes unbearable: once I started I did not want to put it down. Deck Z is one of those books that makes you scream at the characters in your head (or sometimes out loud) and wish you could interfere or at least tell them what to do.

Not only is this a book about zombies, but it is also a work of historical fiction, a re-imagination of what could have happened on the Titanic in 1912. The authors have created a believable story, while at the same time staying close to the occurrence and sequence of events as they actually happened.

I really enjoyed that the story was split up into three stages, each of which had their own feel to it and was equally engaging. The short chapters allowed me to read through the book quite fast, and due to the frequent change in perspective I never got bored or felt the need to take a break.

I am not usually a fan of either frame narratives or open ends, but for Deck Z both worked really well. The frame narrative gives the story a contemporary implication, and the open end allows for your imagination to go crazy with possible scenarios.

I give this book 4 out of 5 ships and recommend it to anyone that wants to try out the zombie genre.


  1. Interesting.... interesting... zombies in 1912. I'll add it to my list :-)

    1. Yey! It's definitely worth reading. :)

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