Zombie books are such a fun and interesting mainstay of apocalyptic fiction. Beyond the thriller-esque nature of these stories, they often deal with the collapse of society, managing the spread of a disease and frequently tie in other societal conflicts like governmental control, misinformation, varying responses between countries or class warfare.
Of course, other zombie stories are just in good fun, since what could be more fun than the living dead, right? Anyway, here are 30 of the best zombie books of all time for you to feast your brains on. Happy reading (or researching to prepare for the inevitable zombie apocalypse, whichever the case may be)!
General Zombie Books
Young Adult Zombie Novels
As always, feel free to drop a comment if you think there’s something missing that deserves a place on this list!
General Zombie Books
What It's About: The Zombie War came unthinkably close to eradicating humanity. Max Brooks, driven by the urgency of preserving the acid-etched first-hand experiences of the survivors from those apocalyptic years, traveled across the United States of America and throughout the world, from decimated cities that once teemed with upwards of thirty million souls to the most remote and inhospitable areas of the planet...Publication Date: September 12, 2006
What It's About: The year was 2014. We had cured cancer. We had beaten the common cold. But in doing so we created something new, something terrible that no one could stop.
The infection spread, virus blocks taking over bodies and minds with one, unstoppable command: FEED. Now, twenty years after the Rising, bloggers Georgia and Shaun Mason are on the trail of the biggest story of their lives—the dark conspiracy behind the infected...Publication Date: April 10, 2010
What It's About: Katie is driving to work one beautiful day when a dead man jumps into her car and tries to eat her. That same morning, Jenni opens a bedroom door to find her husband devouring their toddler son.
Fate puts Jenni and Katie—total strangers—together in a pickup, fleeing the suddenly zombie-filled streets of the Texas city in which they live...Publication Date: August 14, 2008
What It's About: Melanie is a very special girl. Dr. Caldwell calls her "our little genius."
Every morning, Melanie waits in her cell to be collected for class. When they come for her, Sergeant Parks keeps his gun pointing at her while two of his people strap her into the wheelchair. She thinks they don't like her...Publication Date: January 14, 2014
What It's About: Candace Chen, a millennial drone self-sequestered in a Manhattan office tower, is devoted to routine. So she barely notices when a plague of biblical proportions sweeps New York. Then Shen Fever spreads. Families flee. Companies halt operations. The subways squeak to a halt. Soon entirely alone, still unfevered, she photographs the eerie, abandoned city as the anonymous blogger NY Ghost...Publication Date: August 14, 2018
What It's About: In this wry take on the post-apocalyptic horror novel, a pandemic has devastated the planet. The plague has sorted humanity into two types: the uninfected and the infected, the living and the living dead.
Now the plague is receding, and Americans are busy rebuilding civilization under orders from the provisional government based in Buffalo...Publication Date: October 6, 2011
What It's About: When you have to kill the same terrorist twice in one week there's either something wrong with your world or something wrong with your skills... and there's nothing wrong with Joe Ledger's skills. And that's both a good, and a bad thing. It's good because he's a Baltimore detective that has just been secretly recruited by the government to lead a new taskforce created to deal with the problems that Homeland Security can't handle...Publication Date: January 1, 2009
What It's About: A riveting novel of suspense and terror from the Bram Stoker award-winning author of The Cabin at the End of the World and A Head Full of Ghosts.
In a matter of weeks, Massachusetts has been overrun by an insidious rabies-like virus that is spread by saliva. But unlike rabies, the disease has a terrifyingly short incubation period of an hour or less...Publication Date: July 7, 2020
What It's About: There is a reason cell rhymes with hell.
On October 1, God is in His heaven, the stock market stands at 10,140, most of the planes are on time, and Clayton Riddell, an artist from Maine, is almost bouncing up Boylston Street in Boston. He's just landed a comic book deal that might finally enable him to support his family by making art instead of teaching it...Publication Date: January 24, 2006
What It's About: From an acclaimed horror writer, a chilling tale of blood-hungry children who rise from the dead in this innovative spin on apocalyptic vampire fiction.
Suffer the Children presents a terrifying tale of apocalyptic fiction, as readers are introduced to Herod's Syndrome, a devastating illness that suddenly and swiftly kills all young children across the globe...Publication Date: May 20, 2014
What It's About: Zombies have infested a fallen America. A young girl named Temple is on the run. Haunted by her past and pursued by a killer, Temple is surrounded by death and danger, hoping to be set free.
For twenty-five years, civilization has survived in meager enclaves, guarded against a plague of the dead...Publication Date: September 3, 2010
What It's About: "John Ajvide Lindqvist is a master philosopher of the horror genre." --Washington Post Book World
Zombies and human clash in this horror novel by the author of the international bestseller Let the Right One In, for which he wrote the screenplay for the the Swedish smash hit film of the same name, which some critics (see below) have called the best vampire film ever made...Publication Date: August 30, 2011
What It's About: It's one month after a global disaster. The most "developed" nations of the world have fallen to the shambling zombie masses. Only a few pockets of humanity survive — in places rife with high-powered weaponry, such as Somalia. In New York City, the dead walk the streets, driven by an insatiable hunger for all things living...Publication Date: January 1, 2004
What It's About: START INTERCEPT
SPORADIC NEW REPORTS INDICATE CHAOS AND VIOLENCE SPREADING THROUGH U.S. CITIES. AN UNKNOWN EVIL IS SWEEPING THE PLANET. THE DEAD ARE RISING TO CLAIM THE EARTH AS THE NEW DOMINANT SPECIES IN THE FOOD CHAIN.
In your hands is the handwritten journal depicting one man's struggle for survival...Publication Date: June 11, 2004
What It's About: When rural Ohio college professor Peter Mellor dies in an automobile accident during a zombie outbreak, he is reborn as a highly intelligent (yet somewhat amnesiac) member of the living dead. With society decomposing before his eyes and violence escalating into daily life, Peter quickly learns that being a zombie isn't all fun and brains...Publication Date: February 8, 2011
What It's About: In 1968, after the first zombie outbreak, Wanda Mayhall and her three young daughters discover the body of a teenage mother during a snowstorm. Wrapped in the woman’s arms is a baby, stone-cold, not breathing, and without a pulse. But then his eyes open and look up at Wanda — and he begins to move...Publication Date: June 28, 2011
What It's About: The Zombie Survival Guide is your key to survival against the hordes of undead who may be stalking you right now. Fully illustrated and exhaustively comprehensive, this book covers everything you need to know, including how to understand zombie physiology and behavior, the most effective defense tactics and weaponry, ways to outfit your home for a long siege, and how to survive and adapt in any territory or terrain...Publication Date: September 1, 2003
What It's About: Those who don’t learn from history are condemned to repeat it.
From the Stone Age to the information age, the undead have threatened to engulf the human race. They’ re coming. They’re hungry.
Don’t wait for them to come to you!
This is the graphic novel the fans demanded: major zombie attacks from the dawn of humanity...Publication Date: October 6, 2009
What It's About: “It is a truth universally acknowledged that a zombie in possession of brains must be in want of more brains.”
So begins Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, an expanded edition of the beloved Jane Austen novel featuring all-new scenes of bone-crunching zombie mayhem. As our story opens, a mysterious plague has fallen upon the quiet English village of Meryton—and the dead are returning to life! Feisty heroine Elizabeth Bennet is determined to wipe out the zombie menace, but she’s soon distracted by the arrival of the haughty and arrogant Mr...Publication Date: April 4, 2009
What It's About: Angel Crawford is a loser.
Living with her alcoholic deadbeat dad in the swamps of southern Louisiana, she's a high school dropout with a pill habit and a criminal record who's been fired from more crap jobs than she can count. Now on probation for a felony, it seems that Angel will never pull herself out of the downward spiral her life has taken...Publication Date: July 5, 2011
What It's About: Two teenage zombies search for brains, love, and answers in this surprisingly romantic and laugh-out-loud funny debut novel with guts.
Jake Stephens was always an average, fly-under-the-radar guy. The kind of guy who would never catch the attention of an insanely popular girl like Amanda Blake-or a psychic teenage government agent like Cass...Publication Date: October 1, 2013
What It's About: It's a question as old as time itself: which is better, the zombie or the unicorn? In this anthology, edited by Holly Black and Justine Larbalestier (unicorn and zombie, respectively), strong arguments are made for both sides in the form of short stories. Half of the stories portray the strengths--for good and evil--of unicorns and half show the good (and really, really bad-ass) side of zombies...Publication Date: September 1, 2010
Young Adult Zombie Novels
What It's About: R is a young man with an existential crisis--he is a zombie. He shuffles through an America destroyed by war, social collapse, and the mindless hunger of his undead comrades, but he craves something more than blood and brains. He can speak just a few grunted syllables, but his inner life is deep, full of wonder and longing...Publication Date: October 28, 2010
What It's About: It's the end of the world. Six students have taken cover in Cortege High but shelter is little comfort when the dead outside won't stop pounding on the doors. One bite is all it takes to kill a person and bring them back as a monstrous version of their former self. To Sloane Price, that doesn't sound so bad...Publication Date: June 19, 2012
What It's About: Jane McKeene was born two days before the dead began to walk the battlefields of Gettysburg and Chancellorsville—derailing the War Between the States and changing America forever. In this new nation, safety for all depends on the work of a few, and laws like the Native and Negro Reeducation Act require certain children attend combat schools to learn to put down the dead...Publication Date: April 3, 2018
What It's About: She won't rest until she's sent every walking corpse back to its grave. Forever.
If anyone had told Alice Bell that her entire life would change course between one heartbeat and the next, she would have laughed. From blissful to tragic, innocent to ruined? Please. But that's all it took. One heartbeat...Publication Date: September 25, 2012
What It's About: In the early days of the Civil War, rumors of gold in the frozen Klondike brought hordes of newcomers to the Pacific Northwest. Anxious to compete, Russian prospectors commissioned inventor Leviticus Blue to create a great machine that could mine through Alaska’s ice. Thus was Dr. Blue’s Incredible Bone-Shaking Drill Engine born...Publication Date: June 1, 2009
What It's About: A prison doctor injects a condemned serial killer with a formula designed to keep his consciousness awake while his body rots in the grave. But all drugs have unforeseen side-effects. Before he could be buried, the killer wakes up. Hungry. Infected. Contagious. This is the way the world ends. Not with a bang…but a bite.Publication Date: October 25, 2011
What It's About: In the zombie-infested, post-apocalyptic America where Benny Imura lives, every teenager must find a job by the time they turn fifteen or get their rations cut in half. Benny doesn't want to apprentice as a zombie hunter with his boring older brother Tom, but he has no choice. He expects a tedious job whacking zoms for cash, but what he gets is a vocation that will teach him what it means to be human.Publication Date: September 14, 2010
What It's About: In Mary's world there are simple truths. The Sisterhood always knows best. The Guardians will protect and serve. The Unconsecrated will never relent. And you must always mind the fence that surrounds the village; the fence that protects the village from the Forest of Hands and Teeth. But, slowly, Mary’s truths are failing her...Publication Date: March 10, 2009
What It's About: Seventeen-year-old Aderyn ("Ryn") only cares about two things: her family, and her family's graveyard. And right now, both are in dire straits. Since the death of their parents, Ryn and her siblings have been scraping together a meager existence as gravediggers in the remote village of Colbren, which sits at the foot of a harsh and deadly mountain range that was once home to the fae...Publication Date: September 24, 2019
What It's About: New York har decimerats av krig och pest, och större delen av invånarna har tvingats migrera till underjordiska enklaver, där den förväntade livslängden knappt överstiger tjugo år. När Deuce fyller 15 intar hon rollen som Jägarinna, och hon paras ihop med Fade, en tonårig Jägare som bodde uppe på ytan när han var liten...Publication Date: April 12, 2011