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Z
Book
2010
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Trade Reviews

  Booklist Review

Josh is addicted to a virtual-reality zombie-killing game, and his skills get him noticed by people who take the game to a whole new and very real level. He finds himself enmeshed in an enterprise involved in everything from creating fresh zombies to manufacturing illegal drugs. When friends begin to appear as zombie targets, things unravel quickly, and Josh must choose his allies wisely to get out alive. Ford expertly builds the tension in this long, escalating thrill ride. Subplots about friendship and first love are woven lightly but deftly through the action in a way that keeps the focus on the game. There are blatant parallels between the virus that creates zombies (from humans) and HIV, giving this book some potential as a conversational door-opener for a weighty topic. The frenetic action and near-future gadgetry make this a good choice to hand to graduates of Anthony Horowitz's Alex Rider books or perhaps fans of Vivian Vande Velde's Heir Apparent (2002) or Neal Shusterman's Full Tilt (2003).--Welch, Cindy Copyright 2010 Booklist

  Kirkus Review

Generation Dead (2008) to turn to for that--the point here is nonstop movement. An ominous feeling shadows Josh's world, and its tension is nicely reflected in the blend of action and horror. The horrific revelation, the generic cast, the cliffhanger endingthese are all standard zombie fare, but the author manages to make the expected exciting again. For a quick escape, this is a sure-fire way to burn time. (Horror. 12 up)]] Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.
Summary
<p>The First Rule of Torching: Cleanse with fire.</p> <p>Josh is by far the best zombie Torcher around--at least, he is in his virtual-reality zombie-hunting game. Josh has quickly risen through the player ranks, relying on the skill, cunning, and agility of a real Torcher.</p> <p>The Second Rule of Torching: Save all humans.</p> <p>But luckily for Josh, zombies exist only in the virtual world. The real zombie war is now more than fifteen years in the past, and the battle to defeat the deadly epidemic that devastated his family--and millions of others--is the stuff of history lessons.</p> <p>The Third Rule of Torching: You can't bring them back.</p> <p>Charlie is the top-ranked player in the game. Since all the players are shrouded in anonymity, Josh never expects Charlie to be a girl--and he never expects the offer she makes him: to join the underground gaming league that takes the virtual-reality game off the screen and into the streets. Josh is thrilled. But the more involved he gets, the more he realizes that not everything is what it seems. Real blood is spilling, members of the team are disappearing, and the zombies in the game are acting strange. And then there's the matter of a mysterious drug called Z. . . .</p>
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