Last updated

Zom-B, the first book of the series.

Author Darren Shan (O'Shaughnessy)
Illustrator Warren Pleece and Nick Stearn
Cover artistWarren Pleece and Cliff Nielson
GenreHorror and zombie apocalypse
Publisher HarperCollins

Zom-B (alternatively known as the Zom-B Chronicles) is a young adult zombie apocalyptic-thriller novel series by written by Irish author Darren O'Shaughnessy under the pen name Darren Shan. The series is told by first-person perspective of B Smith, a teenager turned into a zombie. Like Shan's previous series, Zom-B is notable for exploring themes of racism, xenophobia, and the sociological concept of "us and them".


The series has received a universally positive critical reception.


Publishing order

Cover illustration copyright Warren Pleece

  1. Zom-B – 27 September 2012 (16 October 2012 in the US)
  2. Zom-B Underground – 3 January 2013
  3. Zom-B City – 14 March 2013
  4. Zom-B Angels – 20 June 2013
  5. Zom-B Baby – 26 September 2013 (1 October 2013 in the US)
  6. Zom-B Gladiator – 2 January 2014
  7. Zom-B Mission – 27 March 2014
  8. Zom-B Clans – 3 July 2014
  9. Zom-B Family – 25 September 2014
  10. Zom-B Bride – 1 January 2015 (24 February 2015 in the US)
  11. Zom-B Fugitive – 10 September 2015 (22 September 2015 in the US) [1]
  12. Zom-B Goddess – 22 March 2016 [1]

A short novella titled Zom-B Circus , set between Zom-B Gladiator and Zom-B Mission, was released on 27 April 2014, following one of B's teachers, Cat Ward. [2]


The series centers around Becky "B" Smith, who finally rejects her racist father at the beginning of a zombie apocalypse after being forced by him to throw a black classmate to the zombies. B later has her heart ripped out by the same classmate. Awakening eighteen months later as a "reviitalised" zombie, B explores the world at large, the ongoing battle between Dr. Oystein and his Angels and Mr. Dowling and his mutant-controlled zombies. The series also explores B's own connections to the instigators of the apocalypse, including the Owl Man and a mysterious group of babies. [3] The majority of novels in the series are written as concluding with a cliffhanger leading to the subsequent book, structured in a manner similar to television serials. [4]


In the first novel, the titular B Smith is described with gender neutral terms until the final chapter, in which their first name is revealed to be Becky. [5] The decision to leave B's gender initially ambiguous was explained by Shan to allow the reader to question their own assumptions and biases with regards to the way B acts and how women "should" be written in works of fiction. [6] [7]

Smith–Dowling family tree

Todd Smith / DadDaisy Smith / MumDr. OysteinSchlesinger Dowling
Clements DowlingMr. DowlingBecky Smith / B3 ChildrenBarnes
3 DaughtersOwl ManHoly-Moly SmithThe BabiesThe Angels [lower-alpha 1] Stuart


Main characters
Becky "B" Smith Main Guest Main
Tom WhiteOwl ManMainMentionedMainMentionedMainMentionedMainMentionedMain
Zachary Dowling
Mr. William "Billy" BurkeMainMentionedMainGuestDoes not appearMentioned
Vinyl "V"MainMentionedDoes not appearMainDoes not appearMentionedMainMentionedDoes not appear
Todd Smith / DadMainMentionedGuestMainMentioned
Daisy Smith / MumMainMentioned Zombie
Mrs. Lynne ReedMainDoes not appearMentionedDoes not appearMainDoes not appear
Michael "Rage" JarmanDoes not appearMainMentionedMainDoes not appearMainGuestMentionedMain
ReillyDoes not appearMainMainGuestDoes not appearMain
Josh MassogliaDoes not appearMainMentionedDoes not appearMainDoes not appearMain
The Zom Heads [lower-alpha 2] Does not appearMainDoes not appearRecapDoes not appearMentioned
BarnesDoes not appearMainDoes not appearMainDoes not appearMentionedDoes not appearMain Corpse
ColeyDoes not appearMainDoes not appearMainDoes not appearMainDoes not appearMentionedDoes not appear
Timothy JacksonDoes not appearMainDoes not appearMainMentionedDoes not appearMentioned
Sister Clare of the ShnaxDoes not appearMainMentionedDoes not appear Zombie Does not appear
Dr. Oystein DowlingDoes not appearVoiceMainMentionedMainMentionedMain
Master ZhangDoes not appearMainDoes not appearGuestMentionedDoes not appearMain
The Angels [lower-alpha 1] Does not appearMain Recurring MainDoes not appearRecurringMentionedRecurringMain
Holy-Moly SmithGuestMentionedDoes not appearMainMentionedGuestDoes not appearGuestMain
EmmaDoes not appearMainGuestDoes not appear
DeclanDoes not appearMainGuestDoes not appear
Lord Daniel WoodDan-DanDoes not appearMainMentionedDoes not appearMainMentioned
Vicky WedgeDoes not appearMainDoes not appearMentionedMainMentionedMain
Justin BaziniDoes not appearMainDoes not appearMainMain
Luca WoodDoes not appearMainDoes not appearMentionedDoes not appear
SakariasDoes not appearMainDoes not appearMainGuestMain
Mr. Albrecht DowlingDoes not appearGuestMentionedMainMentionedGuestMain
KinslowDoes not appearGuestDoes not appearMainDoes not appearGuestMain
Cat WardGuestDoes not appearMainDoes not appear
  1. 1 2 Consisting of Cian, Awnya, Ashtat, Jakob, Carl, and Shane.
  2. Consisting of Cathy, Tiberius, Mark, Gokhan, Peder, and Danny.


Zom-B opened to largely positive reviews by critics.

Shan brings back his tried-and-true shock and gore narratives, with gruesome brain scooping and death-defying action sequences. Troubled by divided loyalty between father and friends, B's character is well-drawn though occasionally naïve; B often elects not to make any choice in difficult situations, and Shan doesn't fully explore the consequences of those moments of inaction. The English slang may cause momentary trouble, but tension over immigration crosses the pond easily enough. Shan packs in the bites, and he rips out enough entrails for even the most jaded zombie fan; the cliffhanger ending, now expected by his fans, closes on just the right note to leave the audience gnawing for more. A series opener to sink your teeth into. [8]
Shan [e]nters the zombie genre in a thoroughly bloody fashion with this slow-burning horror piece, which opens a planned 12-book series. Character development is impressive for a relatively short book, and Shan executes the transition from normalcy to wholesale terror masterfully. It's a strong start, but there's a lot of story left to go. [9]
[Zom-B is] a clever mix of horror, fantasy and realism – about the damaging 'virus' of racial hatred and social paranoia. The horror scenes are well choreographed and not without the useful escape valve of humour. There is some earthy language ("I thought she was going to chew me a new arsehole," says B Smith) but it fits the tone and characters in the book rather than seeming gratuitous. [10]
Dealing in some decidedly edgy material and a brilliant secondary twist that’ll have you kicking yourself for being taken in, Zom-B is a book that’ll make young readers think as well as making them gag. With its kids who smoke, shoplift and talk of "copping a feel", Zom-B almost makes the existing Young Adult zombie series, Charles Higson's The Enemy, look like the Blue Peter to its Grange Hill, even though Higson's books are pretty damn ruthless themselves. [11]
These books aren't beautifully written works of art but they are mindless fun with a deeper message if you want to get into it. The characters are really interesting and the plot twists are always wild. Though that being said things are pretty deep at times, this series makes you feel really sorry for the person who's the villain and it forces you to question everyone at all times. Also there's a lot of racist themes throughout so be aware of that before you start reading these books. I love the journey B goes on and was so much more interested in them trying to justify the racism that they see from their father and that they find themselves involved in than the zombies themselves. I really love character growth and think if it's done well then it's so amazing. [12] [13]


In May 2019, Zom-B was optioned for a ten-part television series adaptation by London-based production company The Electric Shadow Company. [14] [15] In March 2020, it was announced that The Electric Shadow Company had partnered with Slam Films in developing the series. [16] In March 2021, Susan E. Connolly was announced to be attached as the lead writer on the project, with The Electric Shadow Company releasing a teaser image depicting a blood-spattered B Smith opposite her best friend Vinyl to their website. [17]

In December 2022, Darren O'Shaughnessy confirmed that while the series' television pilot script "didn't get any takers in the UK", that it was still in active development in "a different part of the world" as a non-English language series. [18] In January 2024, O'Shaughnessy announced that the adaptation was "no longer under option" following an unsuccessful succession of pitches in Finland. [19]

Related Research Articles

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Anthony Horowitz</span> English novelist and screenwriter (born 1955)

Anthony John Horowitz is an English novelist and screenwriter specialising in mystery and suspense. His works for children and young adult readers include the Alex Rider series featuring a 14-year-old British boy who spies for MI6, The Power of Five series, and The Diamond Brothers series.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Charlie Higson</span> British actor, comedian and author

Charles Murray Higson is an English actor, comedian, author and former singer. He has also written and produced for television and is the author of the Enemy book series, as well as the first five novels in the Young Bond series.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Darren O'Shaughnessy</span> Irish novelist

Darren O'Shaughnessy is an Irish writer and novelist. He is best known for his young adult fiction series The Saga of Darren Shan, The Demonata, and Zom-B, published under the pseudonym Darren Shan. The former was adapted into a manga series from 2006 to 2009 as well as a live-action film in 2009, with a prequel series, The Saga of Larten Crepsley, being released from 2010 to 2012.

A zombie is traditionally an undead person in Haitian folklore, and is regularly encountered in fictional horror and fantasy themed works.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Max Brooks</span> American writer (born 1972)

Maximillian Michael Brooks is an American author. He is the son of comedian Mel Brooks and actress Anne Bancroft. Much of Brooks's writing focuses on zombie stories. He was a senior fellow at the Modern War Institute at West Point, New York.

<i>Young Bond</i> Series of novels by Charlie Higson

Young Bond is a series of young adult spy novels featuring Ian Fleming's secret agent James Bond as a young teenage boy attending school at Eton College in the 1930s. The series, written by Charlie Higson, was originally planned to include only five novels; however, after the release of the fifth novel, Higson considered the possibility of a second series. In October 2013 it was confirmed that a second series of four novels was in development, with the first novel due for release in Q3 2014, but it would be penned by Steve Cole while Higson continued work on his young adult zombie series, The Enemy.

<i>The Saga of Darren Shan</i> Series of books by Darren Shan

The Saga of Darren Shan is a young adult 12-part book series written by Darren O'Shaughnessy about the struggle of Darren Shan, a boy who has become involved in the world of vampires. As of October 2008, the book has been published in 33 countries around the world, in 30 different languages. A film based on the first three books in the series was released in theatres on 23 October 2009. Blackstone Audio has also released CD recordings of all 12 books in the series, read by Ralph Lïster.

Warren Pleece is a British comics artist. He is best known for his work at the DC Comics imprint Vertigo as well the 2012–16 Irish novel series Zom-B.

<i>The Demonata</i> Series of books which deals with the world of demons

The Demonata is a young adult horror/fantasy series by author Darren Shan.

<i>Fido</i> (film) 2006 film by Andrew Currie

Fido is a 2006 Canadian zombie comedy film directed by Andrew Currie and written by Robert Chomiak, Currie, and Dennis Heaton from an original story by Heaton. It was produced by Blake Corbet, Mary Anne Waterhouse, Trent Carlson and Kevin Eastwood of Anagram Pictures, and released in the United States by Lions Gate Entertainment.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Zombie walk</span> Public gathering

A zombie walk is an organized public gathering of people who dress up in zombie costumes. Participants usually meet in an urban center and make their way around the city streets and public spaces in an orderly fashion. Zombie walks can be organized simply for entertainment or with a purpose, such as setting a world record or promoting a charitable cause. Originating in North America during the 2000s, zombie walks have occurred throughout the world.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Zombie comedy</span> Film and television genre

The zombie comedy, often called zom com or zomedy, is a film genre that aims to blend zombie horror motifs with slapstick comedy as well as morbid humor.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Zombie apocalypse</span> Subgenre of apocalyptic fiction

Zombie apocalypse is a subgenre of apocalyptic and post-apocalyptic fiction in which society collapses due to overwhelming swarms of zombies. Typically only a few individuals or small bands of survivors are left living. In some versions, the reason the dead rise and attack humans is unknown, in others, a parasite or infection is the cause, framing events much like a plague. Some stories have every corpse rise, regardless of the cause of death, whereas others require exposure to the infection.

<i>Dead Nation</i> 2010 video game

Dead Nation is a top-down shoot 'em up video game for the PlayStation 3 developed by video game developer Housemarque. It was released on November 30, 2010 in North America, and December 1 in the PAL region, on PlayStation Network. Dead Nation takes place in a world afflicted by a zombie apocalypse. The player can choose between a male or female character and battle different types of zombies. Dead Nation was part of Sony's "Welcome Back" package, created to resolve the initial PlayStation Network outage. In February 2014 a PlayStation 4 version of the game titled the Apocalypse Edition was announced along with the PlayStation Vita version. The original Road of Devastation downloadable content was included for the PS3 and Vita versions, and the PS4 version was free for PlayStation Plus subscribers in March 2014. The PS4 and Vita versions were released in Japan for release on May 29, 2014.

<i>The Thin Executioner</i>

The Thin Executioner is young adult and dark fantasy novel written by Irish playwright Darren O'Shaughnessy under the pen name of Darren Shan, published in April 2010. Inspired by and partially adapting Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain and The Firework-Maker's Daughter by Philip Pullman, Shan cited Middle Eastern influences for the novel's tone, describing the novel as his "favourite out of all his books [to have written]."

<i>The Dead</i> (Higson novel) 2010 novel by Charlie Higson

The Dead is a novel written by Charlie Higson. The book, published by Puffin Books in the UK on 16 September 2010, is the second book in a seven-book series, titled The Enemy. The Dead takes place in London, a year before the events in the previous book, two weeks after a worldwide sickness has infected adults turning them into something related to voracious, cannibalistic zombies.

<i>Mr. Burns, a Post-Electric Play</i> Dark comedy play

Mr. Burns, a Post-Electric Play is an American black comedy play written by Anne Washburn with music by Michael Friedman. The play depicts the evolution of the story Cape Feare in the decades after a doomsday scenario.

Susan E. Connolly is an Irish fiction and non-fiction writer who has worked in comics, screenwriting, short fiction and novels. In March 2021, Connolly was announced to be attached as the lead writer of Zom-B, a television series adaptation of the novel series of the same name by Darren Shan. In 2022, Connolly wrote two episodes of the six-part television crime drama Redemption.


  1. 1 2 Neill, Graeme (12 October 2011). "Shan moves from HC to S&S for Zom-B". The Bookseller. Retrieved 4 April 2020.
  2. "Zom-B / reviews / The Star Online". 6 May 2014. Retrieved 6 May 2014.
  3. RIOT, Millennium (17 March 2014). "Darren Shan: "I wanted to write about racism in the UK – zombies seemed like a good way to do that."". The Guardian . Retrieved 17 March 2014.
  4. Shan, Darren (28 October 2015). "Darren Shan: The Joy of a Great Cliffhanger". The Guardian . Retrieved 28 October 2015.
  5. Sheridan, Colette (22 October 2014). "Darren Shan: A Damned Good Storyteller". Irish Examiner . Retrieved 22 October 2014.
  6. O'Brien, Liam (27 September 2013). "The Conversation: Author Darren Shan on Racism, Sex and a Zombie Apocalypse" . Screen Daily. Archived from the original on 7 May 2022. Retrieved 27 September 2013.
  7. Shan, Darren (6 April 2016). "Darren Shan: Saying Goodbye To My Zombies". The Guardian . Retrieved 6 April 2016.
  8. Johnson, Olivia (16 October 2012). "Review: Zom-B by Darren Shan". Kirkus Reviews via Olivia Johnson.
  9. Little, Brown (16 October 2012). "Zom-B by Darren Shan – Review". Publishers Weekly via Brown Little.
  10. Chilton, Martin (28 September 2012). "Zom-B by Darren Shan, review". The Telegraph via Martin Chilton.
  11. Berriman, Ian (1 April 2011). "Zom-B by Darren Shan, Review". GamesRadar via Ian Berriman.
  12. Simpson, Rachael (28 November 2020). "So I just finished the Zom-B series by Darren Shan and…". Blind Dog Books via Rachael Simpson.
  13. Simpson, Rachael (25 August 2020). "I just read Zom-B by Darren Shan and…". Blind Dog Books via Rachael Simpson.
  14. Brown, Curtis (31 May 2019). "Darren Shan's Zom-B series optioned for television series". Curtis Brown. Retrieved 31 May 2019.
  15. McCarthy, Esther (30 May 2019). "Screen Ireland backs new Carmel Winters, Darren and Colin Thornton projects". Screen Daily. Retrieved 30 May 2019.
  16. Mitchell, Wendy (5 March 2020). "Ireland's Fantastic Films moves into TV with 'Zom-B' (exclusive)". Screen Daily. Retrieved 5 March 2020.
  17. "The Electric Shadow Company". The Electric Shadow Company. 18 March 2021. Retrieved 18 March 2021.
  18. O'Shaughnessy, Darren (1 January 2023). "/ Shanville Monthly / – Issue 270 – January 2023". DarrenShan.com . Retrieved 1 January 2023.
  19. O'Shaughnessy, Darren (15 January 2024). "Zom-B TV show update". DarrenShan.com . Retrieved 15 January 2024.