“Where men are the most sure and arrogant, they are commonly the most mistaken, and have there given reins to passion, without that proper deliberation and suspense, which can alone secure them from the grossest absurdities.
An Enquiry Concerning the Principles of Morals
I have always been extremely fascinated by the Titanic. It was a wondrous feat of human ingenuity for its era, and the tragedy of its sinking, as well as the many unfortunate deaths, changed travel via ocean-liners by revolutionizing new standards and regulations; all of which are still quite accurate and relevant today. Because of this unique interest, I gravitate towards any type of literature or media that discusses the supposed “unsinkable” ship, fiction and non-fiction. When I saw that there was a book about zombies on the Titanic, I knew that I absolutely had to check it out.
The basic premise is that a German scientist, Theodore Weiss, discovers a new type of plague. This plague, while devastating in its assault, is also the potential key to finding a cure for all plague types. But with World War lingering in the wake, the military interest in such a formidable bio-organic weapon is too enticing to pass up. Weiss flees from the military to protect the world from catastrophe, and his escape tosses him onto the decks of the famous White Star Line ship.
I’ll be the first to confess that I honestly wasn’t expecting much from this book. I read the synopsis and chuckled at the concept. Believing it was going to be a work of satire, or at the very least bad, cheesy nonsense, I dove in ready to laugh my ass off. Boy, the word “wrong” doesn’t really come close in describing my expectations!
The novel was written rather well, with fluid details about the environment, people, and actions. I like that the authors took the time to describe the scenery and aromas in the atmosphere. It helped me to fall into the same setting as the characters that I was reading about. Even though each section is a narration, the prose takes on the personality quirks of the characters that are being focused on for that specific chapter. So, during a child’s perspective, we encounter a child-like fear and loneliness that stems from being separated from her family. When it’s the scientist’s scenes, we get a very methodical way of thinking and processing his surroundings. I like it when a writer takes their time to truly develop the dispositions of the cast that make up the bulk of the stories because it allows the reader a chance to get fully enraptured in the book. The events unfold smoothly and evenly, which is a great compliment to all the details that is provided. It also works to amplify the tension of the action and cat-and-mouse chase that begins to ensue early in the book.
Another thing that I absolutely loved about Deck Z: The Titanic is the portrayal of Captain Edward Smith. I’ve studied his career and accomplishments a bit thoroughly, and with everything that I have read, I’ve always imagined him to be a man of great dignity who takes his job very seriously. He was a distinguished military man and a very talented, insightful captain of a few treks across the ocean. He was a highly-respected individual amongst his colleagues and even in circles outside of work. In this book, Smith’s portrayal is exactly as you would expect from someone who takes his work so seriously. A true hero who always upholds what he believes is best for the people on the ship, and the men who work below him, with great diligence. Deck Z: The Titanic is actually one of the first titles I’ve come across that doesn’t do any injustices to Captain Smith’s name and reputation.
While Deck Z has good writing, interesting characters, and a decent premise for the zombie outbreak, there were a couple of elements that I didn’t particularly care for. The first is the last third of the book. The Titanic hits the iceberg and everything that occurs after the fact felt immensely rushed, especially in comparison to the rest of the book that was excellently paced. I wish the authors gave that same attention to detail to the last bit. I suppose the rushed feeling can be equated to the panic and chaos that was unleashed during the ship’s sinking, but it’s not a natural assumption, to say the least.
The finale also felt…unsatisfying. It wrapped up the conflict with a nice bow tie, but there was just something about it that felt so severely lacking to me. Maybe I was expecting kind of grandeur heroics, or… who knows what, but what I got wasn’t what I wanted. It left me feeling deprived with how mediocre it was, which doesn’t do justice to all the of good writing that led to the finale.
I was seriously considering giving Deck Z: The Titanic four stars, but after the ending and all the shit that happens when the iceberg gives it a kiss, it just dipped in quality a little bit, at least for me. It’s still a good read. If you like zombies, the Titanic, or anything to do with some crazy ass Nazis, then I recommend this book to you happily. You may not have the same issues with it that I did; it could just be a matter of personal reading tastes.
3.25 zombie icebergs outta 5!