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This. Series. Rocks.
on November 20, 2012
Once upon a time, I was a mild-mannered reporter for a Metropolitan newspaper fighting for truth, justice, and the American way. Okay, so maybe I've never been particularly mild mannered, the newspaper was three hours from the nearest Metropolitan area. My fight for "truth, justice, and the American way" did actually happen - in the context of mostly news about sports and agriculture.
It was destiny that brought me together with the Newsflash Trilogy (Feed, Deadline, and Blackout) by Mira Grant - which I can only describe as zombie porn for journalists, news bloggers and people who like to poke things with sticks. A must read. Like all porn, however, it comes with a content warning: Not for people wanting just another zombie book. If you go in wanting to read about hand-to-hand combat with the undead, you will be all kinds of pissy pants. If you like reading about the fight for truth in a post-zombie apocalyptic world where the zombies are the least of your worries, hop aboard.
It's been 26 years since the dead began to reanimate - an unfortunate consequence of the combination of Dr. Kellis's rhinovirus to cure the common cold and Marburg-Amberlee, a cure for cancer. Since online media was largely credited for exposing the initial zombie outbreak in 2014, it has been growing in popularity and becoming the primary source for news.
Adopted siblings Georgia and Shaun Mason, owners of the news website, The End of Times, and their friend Georgette "Buffy" Meissonier, are among these bloggers. Georgia is a "newsie" (blogger who reports the facts), Shaun is an "irwin" (blogger who drives ratings by doing somewhat stupid things, such as poking zombies with sticks), and Buffy is a "fictional" (blogger who writes, what else, fictional stories and poems).
In an email, Georgia and Shaun are offered a career-making opportunity. Wisconsin Senator Paul Ryman has asked them to join his campaign to be the Republican presidential nominee. It's an offer they can't refuse. As suspicious attacks begin occurring on the campaign trail, however, they realize it's also an offer that will change their lives forever. In fewer words: "Oh shit!"
The first book, Feed, centers around the Ryman campaign, but it really sets up the basis for the overall story carried throughout the trilogy.Deadline, the second book, fuels the fire and builds up the antici...SAY IT...pation. The finale, Blackout, makes you white-knuckle your book (or ereader) until the final freaking page.
In some series, it seems like the in-between books are an obstacle to the finish. They delay the inevitable or venture too far from the plotline that, by the time they end, the interest just isn't there. The Newsflesh trilogy is NOT one of those series. Grant does an unbelievable job of tying the three books together without making each of the books any less exciting. New characters are introduced and they're taken on a rollercoaster of a journey, but, in the end, it all lead to that final moment. (The exception to this comment was a watered down, distracting "romance" between two characters that seemed like more of an opportunity to throw in some between the sheets action than anything else. It didn't last long, though.)
The story is primarily told from the alternating perspectives of Georgia and Shaun, but it includes blog posts and letters written by the other characters, giving the story a little more depth.
I loved Georgia. I wish I could be Georgia. She's by far one of the sassiest, smartest and most driven female leads I've seen in a while. Some might view her as cold or unemotional, but her passion for finding and reporting the truth is anything but. And, honestly, she has damn good reasons not to trust people.
Shaun was alright. I leaned toward liking him most of the time, but his "woe is me" attitude (especially at the beginning of Deadline) should've been accompanied by the world's smallest violin. If he wanted to die so bad, there were plenty of zombies that would've loved to help him out.
I've read some criticisms that the extremely high-tech gadgets frequently used by the characters were a little too science fiction-ish - from blood tests at nearly every door, retinal scanners, sanitizing showers (including a bleach wash) and, of course, every hacking/spying/broadcasting gadget that could exist onboard of The End of Times van. Were they a little unbelievable? Yeah. But this book also includes zombies, so I'm assuming we can have a little room to stretch what is possible. Right?