I need to start this review off by talking first about the authors. Zombies vs Robots was written by Joe and Marisha Cautilli. While Joe has a B.A. in psychology and two masters’ degrees, he works as a licensed psychologist in both Pennsylvania and Delaware. I applaud the education, and see the influence of his background in his writing. The other author, Marisha, is Joe’s daughter, his seven year old daughter. Seven. Year. Old. Daughter. She is diagnosed as gifted and in the fourth grade. Most seven year olds are in first or second grade. She takes classes from Pa Cyber Charter, takes classes in creative writing, crime scene science and noir films. She also participates in gymnastics, karate, cartooning, swimming, archery, she skies, plays guitar and keyboards, and models and acts for Kaback Modeling. She speaks English and Polish. Right there, I am impressed. Let’s not forget — she writes zombie novels with her dad!
Okay. Enough about that. We’re here to read a zombie review. In about five sittings I read this 353 page novel. I wasn’t sure what to expect. I love zombies, but I prefer realism in the story. The idea of robots fighting zombies made me think more sci-fi than horror. I pictured Real Steel, or Transformers. I was wrong. Very wrong. Zombies vs Robots is pure horror.
There are a whole host of characters. At first, I worried I’d lose track of who was who. The Cautilli’s do a fine job of keeping each character distinct and recognizable. (It is not like a Tom Clancy novel where there are hundreds of characters that all get confusing and are still being introduced 1,000 pages into the story, so don’t worry!) The main family is Martin, his wife Kathy, and their daughter Emma. (Reading the book, I could not help but picture Joe as Martin, and Marisha as Emma).
The zombie apocalypse starts fast. Martin lives in a three-story house. His goal is to keep his family safe. He does his best to convince his parents and brother and nieces and nephews, neighbors and co-workers to move in to his home as a secure place to hole-up until the nightmare ends. The Cautilli’s write with meticulous detail and methodical planning. This comes out in Martin’s character. He is a man that borders O.C.D. when it comes to working things out (and I assume a game of chess with him would last months for just this reason).
As little as possible is left to chance. From food and water, to electricity and space, and from sentries to job assignments. Everyone has a task. The gathered group works to turn the property into a fortress. The zombies are vicious and they are everywhere. Martin and his business partner, included. Their robot prototype was completed just prior to the outbreak, re-working it to help in the property’s defense is their number one priority.
Oftentimes, the zombies are not the biggest threat to security. Other people are. The Cautilli’s leave no theory behind an apocalypse untapped, They touch on every aspect of the true horrors that would plague the world in any serious crisis. And once the origin of the virus is discovered, Martin’s team must find a way to expose the villain despite the dangers associated with doing so.
As I stated, methodical and meticulous writing, with every detail and plan well-laid out, Zombies vs Robots is intense. You learn to love all of the characters for their distinct personalities. You celebrate small victories with them, and cry tears at the inevitable heartache that surrounds them. From the opening pages until the climactic ending, this novel was an impressive first attempt. Impressive. I look forward to reading the second in the series and enjoying more from Joe and Marisha Cautilli!