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Monster Island #1

Monster Island

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It's one month after a global disaster. The most "developed" nations of the world have fallen to the shambling zombie masses. Only a few pockets of humanity survive — in places rife with high-powered weaponry, such as Somalia. In New York City, the dead walk the streets, driven by an insatiable hunger for all things living. One amongst them is different; though he shares their appetites he has retained his human intelligence. Alone among the mindless zombies, Gary Fleck is an eyewitness to the end of the world — and perhaps the evil genius behind it all. From the other side of the planet, a small but heavily-armed group of schoolgirls-turned-soldiers has come in search of desperately needed medicine. Dekalb, a former United Nations weapons inspector, leads them as their local guide. Ayaan, a crack shot at the age of sixteen, will stop at nothing to complete her mission. They think they are prepared for anything. On Monster Island they will find that there is something worse even than being undead, as Gary learns the true price of survival.

282 pages, Paperback

First published January 1, 2004

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About the author

David Wellington

85 books926 followers
David Wellington is a contemporary American horror author, best known for his Zombie trilogy as well as his Vampire series and Werewolf series. His books have been translated into eleven langauges and are a global phenomenon.

His career began in 2004 when he started serializing his horror fiction online, posting short chapters of a novel three times a week on a friend’s blog. Response to the project was so great that in 2004 Thunder’s Mouth Press approached David Wellington about publishing Monster Island as a print book. His novels have been featured in Rue Morgue, Fangoria, and the New York Times.

He also made his debut as a comic book writer in 2009 with Marvel Zombies Return:Iron Man.

Wellington attended Syracuse University and received an MFA in creative writing from Penn State. He also holds a masters degree in Library Science from Pratt Institute.

He now lives in New York City with his dog Mary Shelley and wife Elisabeth who, in her wedding vows, promised to “kick serious zombie ass” for him.

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 579 reviews
Profile Image for Robin Wiley.
170 reviews26 followers
August 8, 2010
Oh, this started out so good! Ship going through the fog at night, and as the fog clears - there is the Statue of Liberty looming overhead with people milling about the island just like any other day in New York City - except it's at night...and those people aren't tourists anymore.

I was ready for a Zombie book. I loved World War Z! I dug the premise - teenage girl army, with a native New Yorker (and UN worker) as a guide - on a mission to get AIDS drugs for their beloved leader - to Zombie filled New York (because the United Nations has the largest, most secure stash of AIDS drugs). Super fun and creepy, right?

And it was! It was great!

Right up until the moment a few still sentient zombies founded a freaky zombie religion, and the mummies in the Egyptian section of the Metropolitan Museum woke up and started jiggling around in their mummified coffins.

Just take a minute to let that whole sentence marinate...


[Cue the Price is Right you-just-lost-the-car music:].

I know! How do you get over a monkey wrench like that? And if I pissed off the spoiler police - I say I'm doing a service for my fellow readers by trying to save them from buying the book like I did. Read it if you want, but for Zombie-loving sakes don't pay for it!

Here's this other little thing that happened while reading this that kinda messed up my whole Zombie apocalyptic universe. My husband used the leaf blower and decided to borrow the electric outlet from the freezer in our garage, and then forgot to plug the freezer back in. Yeah.

Well, we are out in the driveway, with the gloves, the scrub brushes, the bleach, the hose, the triple bagged, heavy duty trash bags, etc. We opened the lid to start unloading all that once, lovely meat, and I think it took less than three minutes for our driveway to look like something out of Amityville Horror. Every fly in the county was there to party. Eleventy billion flies didn't help with the gag factor one bit, I'll just say that.

A couple of hours later, with a scrubbed freezer full of charcoal and baking soda (which works by the way) - freshly showered and downing my third beer - it occurred to me that 1) the zombie apocalypse is going to smell REALLY bad, and 2) you would hear and see the hoard of flies long before any zombie could possibly sneak up on you.

That's what's missing from all the zombie books, movies and video games - the flies.

Fellow readers, if you have a recommendation to put me back on the proper Zombie path, I would love to hear it.

Profile Image for Kerry.
519 reviews73 followers
June 19, 2008
Read this online. I'm not interested in zombies per se, but I do like post-apocalyptic stories.

Ugh. I mean I got all the way through it, so it wasn't the WORST book in the world. And there were some interesting parts. But overall the thing felt very amateurish, it read like fan fiction. Any hard facts that were in there sounded like stuff the author already knew, random shit about guns and NYC locations. The characters were inconsistent, and the "explanation" for the zombies felt very much like something somebody in high school would make up.

Also he used "discrete" when he meant "discreet" TWICE.
Profile Image for  amapola.
282 reviews32 followers
August 13, 2019
Postapocalittico: il mondo è una landa desolata percorsa in lungo e in largo da zombie; chi è riuscito a sopravvivere alla catastrofe ha trovato rifugio in poche roccaforti sparse sul pianeta e oppone uno strenuo tentativo di resistenza.
Per un centinaio di pagine “va tutto bene”: riconosco i miei zombie, lenti, stupidi, istintivi, affamati, privi di sentimenti, vittime innocenti di un virus che li ha ridotti in quello stato.

Poi all’improvviso ecco sbucare mummie che escono dai loro sarcofaghi, zombie-druidi, magia, zombie giganti, zombie intelligenti, in grado di organizzare un vero e proprio esercito pronto a marciare contro i sopravvissuti per sconfiggerli… Che gran porcheria! :) Adesso mi toccherà riguardare la trilogia zombesca di George Romero per scordarmi di questa schifezza.

62 reviews
November 9, 2011
I know zombies are far fetched (which doesn't stop me loving them). But David Wellington takes it to a whole new level, bordering on being plain stupid. It's poorly written but the plot itself irked me to the point I wondered why I was still reading it.
I don't like the idea of a walking/talking zombie, I never really have, but I like the idea of ancient Egyptian mummies still being able to walk around even less. Not to mention the random Scottish ghost/thing that, for some reason, could control all the zombies, communicate through telepathy and bring zombies back to (un)life. Or that really stupid scene in which a zombie rips someone intestines out by just swiping him with its nails. Or the fact that some of the zombies ended up about 10 feet tall because apparently humans can spontaneously grow 4/5 feet based on their diet.

It's stupid, too stupid for me to take it seriously and read the other two books. And too stupid for me to give it anything other than one star.
1,586 reviews6 followers
August 15, 2009
This book was apparently first published online, and it shows. The chapters are all between 4-6 pages in length and the characterization is about as thin. The characterization in this book is so thin, its friends fear it might be anorexic. Twiggy wishes she was this thin in her prime. This lack of character development and other details make the book's characters hard to get into, and whatever interesting ideas Wellington has (and he has more than a few) are squashed by my inability to feel any sympathy for anyone in the book. Motivation is basic, and the book might actually read better as a Hollywood screenplay. There's plenty there for that: zombies, uniformed schoolgirls with machine guns, 'splosions, basic motivations. Anyone who just wants an action-packed book will be OK. Anyone who wants anything more will be disappointed.
Profile Image for Elisa .
1,401 reviews25 followers
July 16, 2013
Review to follow.
This is not a pure zombie book, it jumps into some paranormal stuff too. But there are plenty of dead bodies walking around, blood, guts and guns. I just finished it and I feel a bit ill. I need a cute romance or something now to walk it off.
Profile Image for Robert.
48 reviews6 followers
October 3, 2011
David Wellington takes a shot at the ever-expanding Zombie literature market with his own take on the oft-explored theme of a major city overrun with the living dead. How well does he do? Well, for the most part he does very well indeed.

First off he chucks the incongruous team of a UN Weapons Inspector and a group of female Somalian child-soldiers into New York City, on a quest to find AIDS medicines for an ailing third-world Warlord. If that isn't entertainingly ludicrous enough, the main baddie turns out to be a Zombie who has not only retained his marbles while passing beyond the veil of death, but also can mind-control literally thousands of the more dumb-ass dead to do his evil bidding. As it turns out, his bidding is very very evil indeed. If that's all the book had going for it, we'd be in 2-star territory but thanks to the author's own extensive knowledge of New York and the UN, he is able to add a remarkable level of verisimilitude which juxtaposes nicely with the loony storyline.

Unfortunately, no 5-stars for Mr Wellington, partly due to his horrendous characters (you WILL want to gut 'Marisol' with a fish-knife) and their godawful, totally unnaturalistic dialogue. Mostly though because the main baddie of the piece comes from the school of cackling evil-doers who would kick the face off of a puppy for the hell of it and then make a bad pun afterwards. It's a mark of an extremely lazy author who makes his villains extra-villainouss just by giving them a sick sense of humour.

It's a real shame that an original and captivating plot is hamstrung by ham-fisted writing and hammy dialogue. Now that's an awful lot of ham.
Profile Image for Greg.
1,117 reviews1,876 followers
November 3, 2007
I went into reading this figuring it would be a semi-mindless but fun read, and to my surprise it turned out to be much better than I expected. Pretty awesome and hard to put down.
Profile Image for Dora.
17 reviews9 followers
May 18, 2010
The first in David Wellington's strange series about zombies, "Monster Island" is a book that reads like an old lady drives; full of short bursts of speed, followed by a lot of crawling and slow starts. From a promising beginning one month after your everyday undead apocalypse, he takes us all around the world, following a young woman coping with her new state of "life", a group of rag-tag soldiers chasing medicine for their leader, and one man who might be the key to everything, but is rapidly leaving his humanity in the dust.

Initially created as an online serial novel (there's a lot of that going around), Monster Island had quite a following largely due to the fact that it featured brains and the eating thereof. My generation is exceptionally fond of zombies, and there's nothing wrong with that. For a while, Wellington appears to understand the key things that make any zombie story good. There are a lot of tense moments, a lot of grotesque imagery, and a lot of people eaten in very unpleasant ways. The cast is never particularly interesting, but hey; they're just zombie fodder anyway, right? So for the first third or so, the book is fairly decent.

And then he has to go and add telekinetic mummies to the mix. In case that didn't hit you with the full force of its ridiculousness, let me try again, in caps; TELEKINETIC MUMMIES. It's just the tip of a big, stupid, silly iceberg of strange ideas that begins to surface and sink the story. The few interesting characters die off, those remaining start feeling more and more like they were written expressly with summer action movie casting in mind, and the whole thing feels like about halfway through the writing, Wellington got up and left it in the hands of a group of ten-year-olds.

The few interesting and not completely ridiculous plot threads that remained at the end of the book unfortunately weren't enough to spur me to seek out the rest of the series. I can't say I regret the time I spent reading it (that honour is reserved for books by Mister Laymond), but it definitely isn't the deepest fish in the pond. Pick it up if you're looking for the literary equivalent of a fan-made Bruce Campbell movie, but steer clear if you're looking for something meatier.
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for Elf M..
95 reviews40 followers
October 30, 2011
I've just finished reading Monster Island, which has to be one of the best, most unapologetic zombie books ever written. After the big brouhaha last year in which some NY Review of Books reviewer didn't "get" the whole zombie thing, looking desperately for allegory and meaning in the zombie genre (and to which David Langford gleefully pointed out "They don't have to be an allegory. They're zombies. They eat people. What more do you need?") it's refreshing to read a really gross, horrifying, not at all uplifting novel about zombies.

Monster Island begins six months after the End of the World. The Epidemic, in which the dead shamble along meaninglessly, trying to eat the living, has taken over. Our hero, Dekalb, is a UN Weapons Inspector in Africa when the Epidemic breaks out. Dispatched by a third world dictator to New York, holding his daughter hostage as ransom for reasons that I will not give away, Dekalb meets Gary, the world's smartest dead man, the last Prestident of the United States, and Jack, the last Special Forces operative in New York. Battling zombies (human and animal) and even encountering the long-mummified remains of Egyptian Kings and Welsh Druids, Dekalb comes to and understanding that the Epidemic is something more than merely a disease. And maybe, just maybe, he might understand it well enough to give the living a chance.

It was a fabulous read. I sailed along and loved every minute of it. There are moments in the book when the author intrudes with lines like "Sorry, won't be releasing this week, at a con," that made me understand exactly where we CC people are going. The battle scenes and adventure just move and Gary's really a very funny guy. Even if he is dead.
Profile Image for Olethros.
2,631 reviews434 followers
June 21, 2013
-Propuesta diferente dentro del género, para bien y para mal.-

Género. Narrativa fantástica.

Lo que nos cuenta. Una plaga zombi ha arrasado el mundo y solamente las zonas más agrestes y menos civilizadas han conseguido mantenerse como bastión de la raza humana, pero necesitan suministros médicos, especialmente antirretrovirales. Un grupo paramilitar de chicas menores de edad comandado por adultos somalíes y con un antiguo inspector de las Naciones Unidas entre sus filas navega hasta New York en busca de los químicos. Primer volumen de la trilogía Zombies.

¿Quiere saber más de este libro sin spoilers? Visite:

Profile Image for pinkgal.
173 reviews47 followers
March 2, 2007
Darn it! It's so hard to find a good zombie novel these days! This follows the current trend where zombies aren't just zombies; they're actually demons from another dimension/world. It pisses me off, because then there's no real point in even trying to win since the one advantage humans have over zombies is the brain portion. One good thing; the idea of being dead but retaining your own mind. And the hunger. Lots of gore and viscera if that's your cup of tea in terms of zombie novels.
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for Rodrigo Tello.
317 reviews22 followers
June 1, 2020
Hasta acá llegué, no puedo terminarlo. Es una porquería total, y eso que la saga vampírica del mismo autor me había gustado
Profile Image for Patrick D'Orazio.
Author 24 books61 followers
November 5, 2010
When I first saw this title I presumed it was about a bunch of giant nuclear radiated creatures who occasionally attack Tokyo. Instead, it is a book about a bunch of diseased undead that attack New York. Not that I was disappointed since I am big fan of the zombie genre.

David Wellington's book starts out like a lot of traditional zombie tales, with those that remain after the undead holocaust doing whatever it takes to survive. In this case, a group of Somali schoolgirls armed to the teeth head to NYC with a former UN Weapons Inspector as their tour guide with the goal of getting much needed medical supplies to their ailing Warlord. In this universe the only places safe for humans are those where everyone was already armed and ready for battle before things fell apart. Thus the U.S. is toast but a chaotic and violence plagued place like Somali is prepared for the worst and is doing fairly well. It certainly makes some sense given the circumstances.

The story takes a turn with the introduction of Gary, an undead fellow who has the unique ability to talk and think. He is later joined by some ancient mummies and an undead scottsman that have some plans for this new world. It was certainly interesting to explore the idea of the ancient dead coming back to life as well as the freshly killed. Throw in some more survivors hiding out on Manhattan and you have the cast for this creative tale.

Overall, the writing style was easy to digest and the story went along smoothly. I was able to get through the book fairly quickly and it certainly was entertaining. It was a fun read.

The criticisms I have here are related to some of the newer concepts delved into here. Don't get me wrong, the ideas were interesting and I am always up for something different. There were just a few areas that needed some more work in my humble opinion. I would have liked more depth to the explanation for the ancient undead and the supernatural reasoning behind the undead uprising. The author casually tosses in a few undead animals which was ok on its own, but wasn't elaborated on with much detail. It felt as if they were inserted as a convenience. I would have preferred more detailed explanations (as is the case in Brian Keene's "The Rising" and "City of the Dead") or if they were left out altogether. Finally, while I did find it interesting that the undead actually processing the flesh they devour to keep the rot down instead of it just passing through their system unused, I felt the idea of some zombies growing incredibly large (not just bigger, but taller) seemed a bit much.

Most of these criticisms are me being nitpicky. I just prefer more detail when certain things like the above are introduced. Afterall, anything is feasible in a universe where the dead walk...and even perhaps talk. But if a new turn is introduced, I appreciate as much detail as I can get as to why it was thrust into the plot.

A fun book and a author who kept my attention from start to finish. Creative for sure even though I wasn't totally hooked on some of the ideas. Definitely worth the time and effort and I look forward to the sequels.
Profile Image for Jennifer.
939 reviews85 followers
July 12, 2011
David Wellington originally published Monster Island, as well as many of his other books, online in a serial format. Had I realized that before buying the book, I would have checked out his website first, as it is still available as a free read.

As I've said many times in the past, I am not a zombie purist. I love when authors get creative with the mythology and traits of their zombies, just as long as they still want to eat people. Monster Island has cannibalistic zombies, which immediately put it ahead of some others I have read. It also have a very original story line including a UN weapons inspector who has left his daughter behind in what was once Somalia under the care of a female warlord, while returning to New York in search of drugs which will ensure both of their freedoms.

The book was progressing nicely when one of the zombies showed awareness. If done well, in a realistic fashion, this can make a book outstanding. Unfortunately, Monster Island's intelligent zombie went beyond awareness and became something more, something further along the line of supernatural with powers previously unseen in my zombie readings, and sadly it just didn't work for me. While still a zombie novel at heart, strayed too far away from the monsters at its core and became something other.

Monster Island is well written and is a good horror story. As a strictly zombie story, it leaves something to be desired. Had I known going into the reading that the story would evolve into something different, I may have enjoyed it more, but for much of the book I was left wondering when we were going to get back to the real zombies. I'll most likely skip the rest of the trilogy.
Profile Image for Holly.
510 reviews515 followers
August 26, 2009
Where do i even begin with this review?

I have to say i was slightly hesitant to read this, considering the multitude of negative reviews i have read for this, and the other 2 books in the series. But when i finally gave in and began reading it, i was hooked instantly. The entire concept of a zombie with the ability to think and speak like a normal human being, was very inventive and intriguing to me. The first half of this book played like a dark, unnerving film in my head as i was reading it, and i thought to myself 'Man, those people who said this book sucked, didn't know what they were talking about.'

And then things started to fall apart.

The originally exciting concept of a functioning zombie, spirals into the absurd when the whole 'mystical' element involving an ancient druid, and re-animated mummies came into play. The actual ending of the book was confusing and disjointed and left me more than a little bit pissed off.

I plan on reading the subsequent books in the trilogy ~ Monster Nation & Monster Planet, if for no other reason than in the hopes that Wellington's ability to follow through with a story, improves in the long run.
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for Amy-chan.
36 reviews
October 26, 2016
Yo esperaba de este libro una historia de zombies (como su nombre indica) no un pupurri de zombies, druidas escoceses y momias del antiguo Egipto. Creo que en la edición española deberían haber dejado el titulo original "Monster island" para no confundir a la gente.
Recomendado para aquellos que no buscan el típico zombie y mantienen su mente abierta.
Profile Image for Mark.
394 reviews8 followers
June 6, 2017
Monster Island
Author: David Wellington
Publisher: Running Press
Published In: Philadelphia, PA; London, England
Date: 2006
Pgs: 282


New York City is dead and shambling. In the darkness or the light, the dead rule. The living who could escape did. Only a fool would go back. He’s out of options. His and his daughter’s benefactor, the only one keeping them alive in this post-apocalyptic nightmare, needs medical supplies and the only, potentially, reachable source is in the UN Building. A cadre of devoted teens go with him into the dead city. One head shot, one kill. Get in. Get the supplies. Get out. Only a zombie master has arisen, one who can control the mindless. He is coalescing an army of his own, an army dedicated to feeding his hungers.
Genre Fiction

Least Favorite Character:
Gary after his re-rebirth and betrayal. His actions through the final climax are more supervillain than you would have supposed based on how he acted in the first half of the book. His character arc went light, dark, darker. And it’s not the character arc that I’m put off by, the character doesn’t ring true throughout.

Character I Most Identified With:
I ided with DeKalb, the hero, cliche I know. But I didn’t understand the way he did, personality wise, some of the things he did. But taken in the context of his having been a UN weapons inspector, his actions make sense.

The Feel:
This never really gave me that I’m-about-to-be-eaten feel that the majority of zombie fiction did.

The story lived more in DeKalb’s almost PTSD brain, tired, worn out.

Favorite Scene / Quote:
The opening where the ship slips passed Liberty Island and the narrator dwells on the Statue’s oath interspersed with the dead and zombies.

A mercy eating...sort of, with an intelligent zombie and the child soldiers in a Virgin Megastore in NYC. Wow.

Plot Holes/Out of Character:
How quickly the girls went from thinking DeKalb a coward after the hospital incident to his being the leader after what happened to Ifiyah.

The hazmat walk across NYC may be a good idea. But, logistically, and this is coming from a non-New Yorker, their walk would have made more sense if instead of going around Manhattan to the western shore, they had landed at another place on the east and gone up the FDR to the UN Headquarters building.

Hmm Moments:
So, Gary isn’t a mutant or a naturally occurring different type of zombie, He actively worked to prevent brain damage when he crossed over. Interesting.

Three theories on who or what The Benefactor is. Not going to ruin it, but one is a bit too classic, one is a bit too modern, and the other a bit too psychological. Bet I’m on the money, but with two more books in the series, I’m wondering if it’ll be explained in these pages. I was wrong. Not sure how I feel about the character.

Zomcat and Zompigeons, never saw that coming.

WTF Moments:
Homo Sapiens Inmortuae are better done here than I’ve seen elsewhere. Not sure about the eidicth or whatever they alternatively call the web connecting the dead. Would make sense if there were though. Look at the way that almost everyone has them respond to what one sees, almost a hive mind. Seen it explained away as that moan drawing others to them, but this hivemind spiritual connection actually makes more sense, in a fantastic, horrific way.

Meh / PFFT Moments:
Knew the hazmat suits were a bad idea.

Didn’t expect the Governor-esque subway dwellers. I’m calling them g-esque because of how hard that is being telegraphed. They have a real fear the living vibe to them.

Saw it coming at the end, but it would be an option.

Why isn’t there a screenplay?
In our over-zombie movie and television flood, I doubt it will make it. But, they could. Doubt it would be made.

Casting call / Dreamcasting:
Rhona Mitra as Marisol.

Karl Urban as DeKalb. He could use his real accent that almost never shows up in his performances.

Not sure if he could pull it off, but I keep seeing David Spade as Gary. He could bring a stitch to the character which might make it better through the performance.

Sean Connery’s voice for the Druid. Make him completely CGI.

Last Page Sound:
I was ready to hate the ending when I started the last page. Blame zombie fiction fatigue. I love zombie fiction, but too often, they hang it on a bad cliffhanger or come to an unsatisfactory ending with authors who fail to realize that they aren’t George Romero. Surprisingly, no hate here. Bravo!

Author Assessment:
Good stuff. I’ll be looking up the others in this series and other stuff by this author.

Knee Jerk Reaction:
really good book

Disposition of Book:
Irving Public Library
Valley Ranch Campus
Irving, TX

Dewey Decimal System:

Would recommend to:
genre fans

Profile Image for K. Fritz.
Author 7 books58 followers
July 16, 2013
It's several months after the Epidemic and Dekalb is set with the task of giving his daughter some kind of future. Though his options are slim, giving her the "opportunity" to join the Somali all-girls army (run by a female warlord) is better than letting her die. In the very least she'll learn the fighting skills her new world requires. But the Somali's don't trust Americans and only agree to take her in if Dekalb can provide them with medicine. After confirming nearly every hospital has been totally ransacked, Dekalb mentions in passing the only place he knows where to find them: the Secretariat Building in New York City. Days later, he is thrust into the middle of Manhattan and the million-plus zombies roaming there along with a small brigade of teenage girls packing AK-47s.

This scenario sounds ridiculous, and perhaps it is. What's worse is the number of grammatical mistakes I found in the early goings (I'm talking wrong genders on the pronouns not simple typos).
However when Wellington introduces his antagonist-to-be, Gary, the novel begins to shine...

Gary is- or rather *was*- a med student and one of the last survivors holed up in New York. Though he doesn't seem to be intellectually superior (it's assumed common sense and dumb luck have kept him alive), he did have one brilliant notion. He realizes that the reason the undead act as so many mindless corpses is because the brain dies along with the body when the infection sets in. He then goes about procuring a dialysis machine and other abandoned, high-tech medical equipment, hooks himself up, and (rationalizing that his death is inevitable- a notion as equally stupid as his other one was brilliant), he then gets purposely infected. The result is nothing short of fantastic.

Gary wakes to find his body is dead but his brain is alive. He has retained everything about himself that was ever human. His knowledge, his memories, his reasoning skills, perhaps even his soul. Everything. He can even talk. Of course there are down sides that come with being undead such as seeing his body slowly deteriorate, his hands lose their fine motor skills, the insatiable hunger that is so much more powerful than he had given it credit, and of course the small army of machine-gun-toting teenie-boppers who both want to kill him and prove he could have been saved *alive* if only he had held out a few more days.

The character of Gary was unique, fund to read, and progressed nicely into a true antagonist to Dekalb and his crew, despite making early and somewhat amiable contact with them. Dekalb's story, however, remained only a little above par, and the aforementioned grammar issues also detracted from the story. I seriously considered giving this only 2 stars, but Gary's uniqueness won me over. While there are 2 more books in this series (Monster Nation & Monster Planet), I'm not in a big hurry to gobble them up. Perhaps if my next zombie read doesn't satisfy I'll give Wellington another go.
Profile Image for Michelle Greathouse.
306 reviews37 followers
December 28, 2010
Monster Island is the first book in the Zombie series by David Wellington and a Novel from Running Press.

Book Blurb:

It's one month after a global disaster. The most "developed" nations of the world have fallen to the shambling zombie masses. Only a few pockets of humanity survive — in places rife with high-powered weaponry, such as Somalia.

In New York City, the dead walk the streets, driven by an insatiable hunger for all things living. One amongst them is different; though he shares their appetites he has retained his human intelligence. Alone among the mindless zombies, Gary Fleck is an eyewitness to the end of the world — and perhaps the evil genius behind it all.

From the other side of the planet, a small but heavily-armed group of schoolgirls-turned-soldiers has come in search of desperately needed medicine.

Dekalb, a former United Nations weapons inspector, leads them as their local guide. Ayaan, a crack shot at the age of sixteen, will stop at nothing to complete her mission. They think they are prepared for anything.

On Monster Island they will find that there is something worse even than undeath.

My thoughts:

Dekalb was a UN Weapons Inspector in Africa when the Epidemic hit. He and his daughter have made their way to Somalia seeking refuge - and the sitting warlord, Mama Halima has said she will grant them refuge. On one condition - Dekalb must help her soldiers, the Free Women's Republic find medicines.

Dekalb agrees and the search is on - leading them from town to town, city to city, until finally they arrive in New York. Dekalb is certain that the medicines they need will be at the UN.

What he didn't take into account is the shear number of people who lived in New York - those people are now zombie's and they are hungry.

When Dekalb's small group of teenage soldiers meet up with a couple hundred survivors - a plan for evacuation is hatched. But now, the zombie's have a leader - and he has retained his ability to reason - and does not want his food source leaving New York.

I really enjoyed Monster Island. :)

Mr. Wellington has added his own twist to the zombie lore and it is very unique - made me think about it for a bit. :)

I give Monster Island 5 out of 5 stars and I can't wait to read the remaining two installments in this trilogy.

Profile Image for C.V. Hunt.
Author 35 books564 followers
September 24, 2011
Dekalb is a weapons inspector for the UN. He and his young daughter have been captured by a Somalian warlord. He’s been offered refuge for his family and a possible new life for his daughter under certain circumstances.

His mission is to sail to America to find drugs to treat AIDS, since this is what the warlord is infected with, while most of the world has been infected with the zombie virus. It sounds impossible…it sounds like a suicide mission. Who else is going to be able to take care of him and his daughter when firearms are what you need to survive in this new and devastating world?

Gary used to be a doctor. Now he’s the smartest dead guy in the world. Or at least that is what he’ll tell you when you talk to him. He knew there were two options when New York was swallowed alive by the zombie plague: be eaten or join them.

Using his medical theory – that the dead stop breathing, depleting oxygen to the brain, and causing them to be mindless when they reanimate – he hooked himself to the right medical equipment, and then took his own life. He woke up dead.

When the dead are able to think, a zombie infested world will become more terrifying. Gary and Dekalb aren’t as different as you might think at first glance; the both have the same goal – survival.

I first ran into David Wellington’s books in a used book store. I picked up his 13 Bullets series, which is about vampires. He does extremely well with the darker side of monsters, and I fell in love with his writing style. A fifth book of his vampire series is coming out soon, and I felt that I need to explore the rest of his work. Monster Island is the first of a zombie trilogy, and I must say, the first book had me captivated again. I look forward to reading the rest of this series, the continuation of his vampire series, and recently, he has started a werewolf series.

If you are ready to step away from the cuddly monsters that have been creeping up on us, and get back to the basics of horror, read some of David Wellington’s books.
Profile Image for Kristina  Wilson.
1,173 reviews42 followers
November 30, 2021
DNF at page 91, about 30%, at the conclusion of Part 1

The story open with Dekalb approaching Manhattan by ship, quickly finding that the metropolis is overrun with zombies like majority of the rest of the world. The zombie outbreak is simply referred to as "the Epidemic". He has been sent to procure HIV medications for Mama Halima, the warlord leader of what is left of Somalia. In return, he and his 7 year old daughter, Sarah, will be given sanctuary in the African country. There is very brief background provided about Dekalb; he was a weapons inspector for the UN stationed in Kenya. His wife became a zombie, so he and Sarah went on the run to safety.

The much more interesting perspective is that of Gary, who was a med-student that decided to preserve his body as he willingly became a zombie. He believes the age of humanity has ended, transitioning to the time of Homo mortis. I was intrigued by his thought process and the almost evolution of zombies through him, but it's clear that he will not be part of the book past Part One.

My husband picked this for me to read this month. I wasn't sure if I'd continue on, but after reading some of the lower rated reviews, it's clear that my time would be better spent reading other things. I would have loved this 15 years ago, but zombies and horror really aren't my thing anymore. I do like the post-apocalyptic aspect, but I'm rather bored with the gore and am underwhelmed with the quality of the writing. I believe this was original released episodically online, but it needed some editing/depth to become a full book.
Profile Image for Jammin Jenny.
1,411 reviews190 followers
July 20, 2022
I really liked this dystopian zombie book. It starts out in Somalia, Africa, where even though the Epidemic has raged around the world, things haven't changed much for these war-torn countries. A man named Delker that used to work for the UN with chieftains and warlords, is trying to save his daughter Sarah by giving her to the female warlord in the area. In return, he has to go with Somalian girl troops across the ocean to New York City in search of HIV meds.

There was also a character named Gary who was a doctor in New York City when the Epidemic started happening. He hooked himself up to a ventilator and dialysis machine to keep oxygen flowing to his brain, so when he first "woke up" he could still think. Later on the in book these two characters end up in a huge battle but I'm not going to say who wins.

I really liked this idea of how the Epidemic would be easier to handle in less developed and more ravaged countries, because it's almost just like even more of the same...just more intense. People in countries like the U.S., Canada, Germany would have a harder time of it...
Profile Image for Paul Hamilton.
Author 13 books50 followers
June 6, 2009
A decent zombie tale overall, but many of the mystical elements that power the undead in this book feel a little undeveloped. Perhaps it is that they are presented in a very deus ex machina fashion that allows them to be whatever is necessary for the progression of the plot, but while a departure from the trendy virus explanation is nice, this feels a bit hokey.

In many ways the book reads like a novelization of a video game or a B-grade film, with some odd stylistic choices and a peculiar bit of character development where only a few secondary characters ever seem to act consistently. Especially vexing are the fourth-wall-breaking final passages which seem only to serve to set up a (frankly unnecessary) sequel.

As an avowed fan of zombie stories, it certainly held my interest throughout but I can't really recommend it to anyone who doesn't share an interest in tales of the walking dead, and even then there are much better places to start.
Profile Image for Beverly J..
518 reviews27 followers
March 13, 2013
I understand every novel needs a hook to be unique amidst the masses. I also know that all zombies are not created equal. The idea that zombie can feed on life force by eating grass, licking lichen or snacking on spiders is a bit much, in my opinion. This is another with a "cognizant" zombie and the way he stays that way is.......lame. No amount of medical jargon could make this work for me. The protagonist had a way about him that made me lack empathy for him. All in all this was just a severe disappointment.
Profile Image for jess.
151 reviews
May 5, 2008
loved this. no clue I could really enjoy zombies, but now I'm a big zombie fiction fan. this was my favorite out of the trilogy, by far. characters, storyline, history, and no visible gore! excellent.
Profile Image for Ralph Pulner.
55 reviews23 followers
August 2, 2016
I loved it. Zombies plus magic. What's not to love? There are so many moments in this book that are just iconic for me. Will defend it to my grave.
Profile Image for Chris McMillan.
38 reviews
March 3, 2021
Yeah, it's another zombie novel... Of sorts.

The novel follows Dekalb, a UN worker traveling with a group of Somalian girl soldiers to New York for needed drugs during the zombie outbreak. What they don't know is a doctor has infected himself with the zombie virus and died, while hooked up to a respirator and submerged in an ice bath. When he reawakens as a zombie, he is able to talk and control the walking dead.

So, instead of just people battling each other, as well as zombies, the story tosses in a thinking, talking zombie, Egyptian mummies, a druid from a peat bog, and other interesting bits that makes this more engaging than most zombie novels.

The novel was originally published online, so the chapters are short, which makes the story move at a good pace. And Wellington brings in a lot of interesting ideas into the mix, creating a novel that will keep you wondering how it will end.

But the short chapters don't allow for much character development. Sure, we get the main character's motivations for their actions, but those sections could use some fleshing out. As it stands, the characters never came to life for me, making them little more than action figures running about an a really interesting story.

Sure, the zombie genre is a bit over-saturated right now, but if you have an itch for a quick, tasty zombie tale that doesn't follow the standard cliches, and will keep you guessing how it will end, you will enjoy this book.
Profile Image for Alejandro Pardo Ladino.
69 reviews2 followers
January 21, 2019
Mi placer culposo literario es la literatura de Zombies, he leído bastantes historias, pero últimamente las que he encontrado me parece que no tienen nada nuevo que contar, y esta no es la excepción. Llevo apenas la mitad y no he podido encontrar algo que rescatar de la historia. Es aburridor en extremo. No hay conexión con el narrador en primera persona y protagonista, y los personajes secundarios no sé para qué están. La historia está plagada de lugares comunes y clichés y, es cierto, es una novela de zombies, no hay que esperar mucho de historias así, pero parece que el autor poco se esforzó por contarnos una historia que al menos nos haga sentir algo de angustia. El elemento "sorpresivo", el "elemento nuevo" para el relato es absurdo, quiso dar un giro a la trama pero no lo logra. No sé si logre terminar de leerlo, pero sé que no me interesa leer el resto de la trilogía.
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