With the surging popularity of the zombie genre, the undead have gone from horror and social commentary to comedy as well. With Dawn of Zombie Haiku, the second zombie poetry book from Ryan Mecum, we get a blend of horror, romance, sadness, and very violent humor -- all in haiku form, naturally.
The narrator of Dawn of Zombie Haiku is Dawn, a fairly typical 10-year-old New York girl. Dawn lives with her widowed father (and watches zombie movies with him), has a crush on her neighbor Andrew, and keeps a journal where she writes haikus (including haiku versions of famous authors). When the dead come back, Dawn and her father head to Ellis Island for defense; but there's little security there, and soon Dawn winds up as one of the zombies. Yet somehow she keeps writing in her journal, creating haikus about her savage hunger (and zombie haiku versions of classic poems).
If you can get past the idea of a zombie keeping a journal (writing by shambling? pausing to write after feasting on human flesh?), Dawn of Zombie Haiku is a simple, gorily enjoyable take on the zombie theme. While the repeated haikus that make up the whole book become less amusing in and of themselves quickly, the shift from survivor to attacker provides two very different perspectives; and the zombie haiku versions of the classics ("I saw the best minds/ in their degeneration/ tasty, flavorful") provide some nice comic relief. There's a twisted transformation of puppy love to undead love, and less critical examination of the zombie attacks than an observer's perspective -- from both sides of the battle.
If you have a strong stomach, Dawn of Zombie Haiku, like Mecum's original Zombie Haiku, is a funny, twisted, simple, and quick comic take on the undead.
Overall grade: B
Reviewed by James Lynch