This review is for Arcadium by Sarah Gray, a zombie apocalypse story set in Melbourne Australia. The book can be found on Amazon (US) here.
Okay, on with the review…
When I came across a zombie apocalypse story set in my home city of Melbourne I could not go past Sarah Gray’s Arcadium. I’m always drawn to local stories to see how realistically the author presents the locations. I actually discovered a new suburb I didn’t know about! I need to get out west more.
Albanvale is the outer western suburb of Melbourne where 16-year-old Florence West and her 9-year-old sister Liss find themselves alone and desperately trying to survive a city ravaged by an infection that renders victims mindless killers, feeding off other humans. Florence knows of a safe haven on the other side of the city, where they can escape all the death and disease enveloping her beloved city: Arcadium.
Along the way they pick up a lone Chinese man who speaks no English, and a boy Florence’s age with his paraplegic brother. Together they fight their way past many groups of Infected intent on making them their next meal, towards the safety of Arcadium, only to find it may not be what they expect.
Told in the first person from Florence’s point of view, this story has a lot of teenage soul searching, angst and conflict, all great elements of a good young adult novel.
Apart from a few inevitable typos I felt there were a few distracting story elements that were never cleaned up. Things need a reason to happen. I was left wondering how an infection that is only transmitted by fluids into eyes, mouth or open wounds could have virtually wiped out a city of 3 million people in less than a month. Maybe in zombie stories these things can be overlooked! Similarly, there was no compelling reason to go through the Burnley tunnel. There were many safer above-ground option to choose from, in my opinion. Their motivation for going through the dark, dangerous and constricting tunnel was lacking.
Maybe I’m being pedantic. Overall I actually enjoyed it very much. An interesting mix of characters each with their own challenges, history and conflicts and the gripping conclusion made this story well worth the read.