Young Karma Tandin loves fighting monsters. It is a piece of cake for him. He is much revered since he is a pro at winning battles against horrible monsters (most of the time). But, one day he gets a surprise. The dead come alive. An undead Zombie decides to pay him a visit. Karma Meets a Zombie by Evan Purcell from Duckbill/Penguin Random House is a delightful, monster rollicking, sort of scary, funny gross weird tale. A fun book for kids aged 9-12.
Karma may be only 12 but he has an ace up his sleeve, a specialty. He fights horrible monsters in the valley town of Jakar in Bhutan. Potato Vampires, Yetis, possessed trees, Shark Monsters- he has fought them all. Due to this he is a hero amongst his class mates, friends and teachers.
But in Karma’s latest Monster adventure he surely had not signed up for the dead coming back to life. Yes, you read it right! An undead Zombie in Jakar or make that many Zombies. As it happens, one day, a Shark Monster (that’s their school librarian) attacks their school but Karma, luckily in the nick of time shoos it away and saves all but for one of his classmates, Tenzin who is bitten and eaten by the monster.
No one really missed Tenzin since he was the school bully and tormented many as a child, most of all Karma. Karma sadly even got a nickname ‘Burpie’ because of Tenzin’s bullying which till date stayed on.
But for Karma, normal life is short lived. A Zombie visits school. Tenzin! He comes back to life as a lumpy green Zombie (undead) with his body parts loosely put together, moving jerkily all around. And weirdly enough he is accepted in school as a student by the principal Mr Ngawang. Fun classroom situations follow and zombie flying body parts but sad too with once tormented boys Jigme 1 and 2 now bullying the tormentor.
Next task for Karma is how to send Tenzin Zombie on his merry way. This is because he has been warned by his mother to stay away from Zombies for reasons known only to her. And then he falls for his best friend’s grand plan of paying a nightly visit to the old witch, Madame Rose, at her ramshackle house where they might find something about the mystery of the zombie.
In the garb of friendship, Madame Rose with the warty nose and spiders crawling all over her hair, offers them a weird bubbly brew of green juice to drink. But she is an evil witch after all. She wants them to turn into Salamanders so as to pluck out their eyes just for a magical potion. Eww! Yucks! Scary!
What follows is utter chaos when the salamanders (Karma and Chimmi) in their bid to escape throw her bottles and jars filled with other worldly creatures, pickled nematods, unicorn milk, magical potions in cauldron and just manage to turn into humans once again and get an idea to what mystery lies ahead at Kikila Pass.
Karma and the Zombie is a monster of a thriller with an exciting finish with one surprise after the other rearing its head. It is just not a magical fun ride but has an important underlying message as to what can happen if the tables are turned and the bully becomes the tormented and the gentle get mean. It is about guilt, improbable friendships, trust and forgiveness.
If ‘Karma and the Zombie’, the sequel to ‘Karma fights a Monster’ was crazy and scary then do be ready for the third book which is ready to raise its evil head. After all Madame Rose did cackle, crackle and warn Karma that something more dangerous than Zombies was coming in his life. We can’t wait to see what’s next in store for Karma Tandin, the boy who fights monsters!