- Series: Newsflesh (Book 3)
- Publisher: Orbit (June 7, 2012)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 9781841499000
- ISBN-13: 978-1841499000
- ASIN: 1841499005
- Product Dimensions: 7.9 x 1.6 x 5.1 inches
- Shipping Weight: 14.9 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 233 customer reviews
Amazon Best Sellers Rank:
#918,428 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- #16670 in Epic Fantasy (Books)
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Blackout Paperback – International Edition, June 7, 2012
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As we saw in Deadline, Shaun has been in charge of the remaining members of After the End Times since his sister died. He’s also gone a little insane, since he hears his dead sister’s voice (and sometimes even hallucinates her image). While Shaun and his team are investigating the origins of a mosquito vector for the Kellis-Amberlee virus–a horrible new development that destroyed the state of Florida–George must figure out how to escape from her CDC holding cell and avoid becoming just another casualty of unethical science. Boy, was I glad to have George’s wisecracking POV back, but I liked being inside Shaun’s head too. In this book, we got both.
If Deadline may have felt a little slow-paced after the action of Feed, Blackout ramps it up several notches. The Masons and company encounter everything from viral mosquitoes to walking dead scientists to zombie bears–on top of the drama going on within the team. As I mentioned in my review of the last book, I was disappointed by George’s lack of a romantic subplot. Little did I know that all along, there was a romance blossoming right under my nose. (Although I guess most readers probably figured it out by Book 3). [SPOILER] I loved the way we finally find out that Shaun and George are more than just adopted siblings, emphasis on the adopted. It’s the only way Shaun believes it’s really her when she comes back from the dead as a clone.
The fact that George was illegally cloned by the CDC, a powerful organization that’s been trying to kill Shaun and the others for a long time, plays a huge role in this book. We got a taste of medical thriller in Deadline, but the full conspiracy is revealed in Blackout. We see more of Dr. Abbey, and meet the mysterious Monkey who’s so good at manufacturing fake identities. The After the End Times crew has faced a lot of terrifying obstacles so far, and many of them have ended up on the Wall (an internet chronicle of the heroes of the Rising). And yet the baddies keep coming, and the team keeps making heroic sacrifices for each other, and I keep sniffling.
That’s because Grant has figured out the key to making me care about a zombie book: she’s created a cast of such nuanced, believable, likeable characters that I feel it in my chest every time one of them goes down in a hail of gunfire (or, more likely, a horde of zombies). Grant’s writing has only improved since Feed, managing to somehow inject so much detail into her outlandish situations (mosquitoes transmitting the zombie virus? Totally plausible!) that I always end up feeling submersed in her world.
Blackout was a great ending to a great series, and I’ll miss riding along with George and Shaun and the rest. The Newsflesh series has been a great way to pass the time while I’ve been traveling around Europe, although it has made me a little paranoid around crowds. Maybe I’ll try picking up one or two of Grant’s accompanying novellas.
What makes this book great is what made Feed great, and likewise for what makes this book not the greatest.
The good (has a few very, very tiny spoilers):
- I found the book difficult to put down despite its many pitfalls.
- This book returns to many of the best elements of Feed, which were lost in the previous book. To spoil as little as possible, Shaun forms a relationship with a newish character that hearkens back to his relationship with George in the first book.
- Steve makes a very welcome return
- Has a somewhat emotionally satisfying conclusion depending on how you feel about certain relationships.
- Has some alright plot twists.
- Introduces some interesting characters.
- Her use of epigrams to every chapter helps to understand what characters are thinking.
The bad (slightly more spoiled, discusses plot structure):
- It has a tendency to be repetitive, but less so than the preceding two books. Although, don't worry, you'll hear about how KA progresses for the 50th time, etc.
- Along with the previous comment, this book probably could have been cut to roughly 1/2-3/4 the length it is, which would have left room for more satisfying conflicts and resolutions.
- I would estimate that 75% of the conflicts in this book are resolved by convenience or coincidence. In fact, some conflicts are introduced and resolved in essentially the same breath.
- A lot of the exciting adventures promised in this book never happen because of the previous comment.
- The motives of the bad guys in this book are somewhere between stupid and inscrutable.
- Mira Grant continues to abuse science in new and exciting ways with her very poor understanding of how the universe (and science) works. That said, the science in this book is better than in the previous book.
- At times her endless use of epigrams is formulaic and seems to serve only to waste our time by telling us things everyone already knew for the third time rather than to actually accomplish anything.