Enough undead have awoken from the grave off the pages of creative authors to give rise to a new genre: the zombie apocalypse. Jeff Kinley took this cult classic monster to develop a unique combination of novel and theological commentary. As a fan of this growing sci-fi genre, I was elated to receive a copy and devour its pages. Once digestion was completed, this is my general take on the book. In the first half, I found it extremely difficult to find myself interested in the story. Yet I read on with vigor because of the immensely satisfying theological commentary, and its original medium of explanation through a well-known metaphor, and it drove me onward from page to page. As I approached the second half of the book, I did eventually find myself becoming interested in the characters somewhat, and interested in the development of the problem in the plot. I wanted to know what was going to happen. However, this was at the expense of my interest in the theological content. By this time the metaphor had been stretched as far as it would go, and the reading became almost pedantic. Then the book was suddenly finished, and as luck would have it, he ended on a cliffhanger.
As a whole, I enjoyed the book, despite some drawbacks, and would certainly recommend it. Lets analyze a few of the highlights. In the first half of the book, as theological content is concerned, I was not disappointed. As the content of this book will tell, Kinley is first a theologian. His drive to write this book is plain and simple: the depth of human depravity, and the depth of human-kind’s need for a savior to resurrect our dead souls. For Kinley, and now for me, the comparison between a human’s depraved soul and a monstrous zombie is the height of metaphorical perfection. He proved he enjoyed the process of articulation, to describe this deep, hotly contested subject in creative, layman’s terms. Rarely do I find such original depictions of the prolegomena of Christian thought. I already understand well the prolegomena of Christian thought – but books like these are wonderful resources of hearing it in a different light. Said a different way. Given a memorable comparison.
As I previously alluded, there are several drawbacks. The story was hard to get into, and when it finally became quite interesting the story was over. In fact, I couldn’t quite catch how the story was related to the theological implications at all. Perhaps there was an overlap, but all I could see was a weak camaraderie of the zombie theme. I would have much preferred a redemptive ending to the story, at least some sort of temporary resolution to the immediate threat. This way, it at least matches the theological conclusion made by the author, that only the redemptive grace of Jesus Christ and his sacrificial act is enough to give life to dry bones.
I gave it a five star despite the drawbacks because of its originality/creativity. Too often Christian authors limit themselves to the rosy stories in green pastures. Kinley took us straight into the nitty gritty of human deprevation and need. I appreciate that. This is a zombie thriller to be theologically proud of!