82 of 101 people found the following review helpful
Bloggers (and zombies) have taken over the world,
This review is from: Feed (Newsflesh, Book 1) (Mass Market Paperback)
I am reviewing an Advance Reading Copy provided by the publisher.
The year is 2039 and bloggers have taken over the world. Twenty five years ago the Kellis-Amberlee virus went live. Infected humans and animals began reanimating after death--some underwent spontaneous change--to become walking feeding machines. With an appetite for the truth as insatiable as a zombie's diet, Georgia--George--Mason and her brother, Shaun, have climbed the ranks of news bloggers around the world. Their ratings have everything to gain from their recent invitation to join a senator's political campaign. Now they're on the road providing coverage of what's promising to be the campaign trail for the next President of the United States of America. There's only one problem: wherever they go, KA begins breaking out, putting the team at risk. Will they survive to see their candidate win the Republican ticket?
Feed is Seanan McGuire's third published book, but first under the pen name Mira Grant. Fans of her October Daye books will recognize some similarities between the two series. Mainly, these are minor--writers will invariably develop quirks that nuance their writing. Georgia is an independent, no-nonsense workaholic with a license that requires her to carry a gun and a disease that makes it impossible for her to cry. Clearly Grant likes writing strong female protagonists. They lean toward the flinty end of the spectrum and stop just short of growling when not amused.
It might appear at first that the inability to cry is going a bit overboard. It isn't necessary to literally remove a reaction stereotypically associated with the female gender to show how tough she is, but Georgia makes it clear how frustrating Retinal KA really is. She wants access to that human reaction and is frequently reminded of the deprivation, however much reliant she is on it when the situation requires stoicism. Here is a character fighting against two polarities. Her tears were stolen and without the necessary moisture, she can't even "tear up" about it. Add to this being adopted by parents making the gesture for the ratings and Georgia's developed into a very sympathetic character. She's had a difficult life--who wouldn't, growing up in a world where fear of contagion has kept people indoors and glued to their computer screens? What makes her--and her fellow bloggers, Shaun and Buffy--different is knowing when to put fear and terror aside to keep living.
How they earn that living is very interesting. When established media proved untrustworthy reporting the first outbreak, the world turned to bloggers. Bloggers spoke for the common good--as much to inform themselves as the frightened public. They helped make sense of the unexplained chaos breaking out across the nation. Enter Shaun and Georgia, sponsors willing to fund their efforts, and After the End Times was born. Grant manages to build a convincing news body which isn't too far from the truth. Some people already rely enormously on the internet and trust amateur bloggers for any number of needs. Grant's astute observations integrate this relationship with her own universe to mesh into the working framework of her narrative.
Grant's characters are solid; her universe well-established. It's so established that readers may become as exasperated over the meticulous mention of blood testing kits and procedure as the characters were to get tested. Grant has thought of everything--not just the small details to consider when and how an outbreak could occur. Feed is politics-heavy, not just because George and Shaun are on the campaign trail. Kellis-Amberlee is cause to reconsider things like the death penalty (why kill someone when a dormant virus goes live at death, thus endangering the public at large), gun control laws, pet ownership, and public gatherings. Playing in the backyard now depends on the danger level your neighborhood has been zoned for. Presidential candidates are made or broken on a campaign trail riddled with archaic practices now seen as brave instead of expected.
I do have one, and only one, thing to nitpick about. George's relationship with her brother Shaun was a bit too unrealistic for me. I say this only because I have a brother and we're pretty inseparable, but would never share the same bed with each other, let alone the same room. I suppose it's a bit immature of me, but I couldn't relate to certain aspects of their relationship and so didn't appreciate how close they were as much as I could have. Other readers (who have siblings) may feel otherwise--I can only hope they do. After all, this is a fault of my own. About as close to understanding as I came was realizing they also had a working relationship that functioned best under those circumstances. And in the end, they were a strong pair. I can't complain too much.
With Feed, Mira Grant proves she's an author to be reckoned with. The book may be lengthy (almost 600 pages), but we have to remember it's the first in a self-contained trilogy. There's such a large and complex story to tell--a lesser book would not be this involved. If readers haven't already started paying attention to Seanan McGuire because of her October Daye books, Feed will do the trick. There may be similarities between it and her other books--mysterious murders, resilient and accident-prone female protagonist with ready access to pain medication and a constant need for good night's rest, deranged bad guy, suspect good guys--but you also can't let yourself miss a book where one of the main characters runs around in a chain-mail shirt for fun, can you? And, there's a kitty. You can't beat kitties.
I do not know when its sequel, Deadline, will be out, but I'm looking forward to it. I hear it has epileptic teacup bulldogs.
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Showing 1-9 of 9 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Sep 10, 2010 7:21:34 PM PDT
K. Sozaeva says:
Great review! This one is on my wish list and has been for awhile! I'm wondering ... how did you end up on a publisher's direct listing to get an ARC? I'm on the VINE program here with Amazon, and I suppose I really shouldn't get greedy .... oh, heck with it, the more books I can get from various places for free the better!! And if all I have to do is read and review them, consider it done! LOL I've friended you, but Amazon has changed things around to where friends are no longer able to e-mail one another through the Amazon site, so you can either just reply here or (probably for the best) send me an e-mail at:
Thanks in advance for any advice you can give me!
In reply to an earlier post on Sep 10, 2010 10:31:50 PM PDT
Thank you! I should ask you the same, but for Amazon Vine! I'll send you an e-mail about the process. :)
Posted on Nov 28, 2010 11:58:42 PM PST
Excellent review! You didn't gush over the author constantly, on which I have no respect. You actually offered examples for your opinions. AND, your words seemed genuine. (BTW, you are the only reviewer I've said this stuff to before and I read a lot. My only complaint would be that you write a bit too much, it might be a bit of a spoiler for some. (I'm one of those people who changes the channel when certain movie trailers go up.) But those of us who don't want to know too much can usually skip around. Will check out your reviews.
I will definitely read this. The first chapter was great and didn't have the problem I have with her previous books (I still read them but may not for much longer) and that is the lack of connection I feel for the character. I like the characters, very much, but their very stoicism and makes them "untouchable". A humerous or character-adding flaw (the tears thing maybe) or diff story in past like other heroine, only goes so far. I can't really explain yet what that thing is... vulnerability, that's it! So, maybe they don't play out the scene enough. Oops, I'm sorry, I'm trying to think of that thing that many books lack in relationships amongst the characters (not sexual, just genuine human feeling). That is what pulls me into a book with great characters, wanting good things for them. Sorry you had to read this all. :>
In reply to an earlier post on Nov 30, 2010 6:21:31 PM PST
No need to apologize! Consider it fair play for your having read my very long review. ;)
Thank you for your comments here. At the time I wrote this review I did tend to reveal a bit too much about the plot. Of course, I'd like to think I've improved since then, but I'll keep that in mind for the future. :)
Posted on Jun 17, 2011 11:01:37 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Jun 3, 2012 6:48:08 PM PDT
Cindy R. Joseph says:
SPOILER ALERT! (I am giving this one some space. Please, please do not read the spoiler unless you REALLY want to know about a major flaw. This is Cindy's husband, Scott. )
(Quite frankly, the Spoiler alert is for a spoiler that is quite disgusting in a way that has nothing to do with Zombies, or normal human behavior in the presence of same. Really very useless, stupid, nauseating plot point. I think I've given this enough space.)
DO NOT PROGRESS FURTHER UNLESS YOU WANT TO KNOW AN IMPORTANT SPOILER!
In the second novel in the series, there is a possibility of incest opened up.
In the third and concluding Novel, there is no "possibility" about it. "Ewww."
Posted on Aug 3, 2011 9:10:31 PM PDT
Larry Osterman says:
What she said. Feed is hands down the best zombie novel I've read.
Posted on Apr 7, 2012 7:00:24 PM PDT
Thank you for your very thorough review!
In reply to an earlier post on Feb 2, 2014 1:31:44 AM PST
How do you have incest issues with an ADOPTED brother?
In reply to an earlier post on Feb 2, 2014 9:47:54 AM PST
Don't believe that was revealed until the second book. This is a review for the first book in the trilogy.
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