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Deadline Mass Market Paperback – June 1, 2011
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From Publishers Weekly
Starred Review. Grant (pseudonymous urban fantasy author Seanan McGuire) continues her postapocalyptic zombie series with this adrenaline-packed, quick-witted tale of medicine and mayhem. It's 2041, a year after Shaun Mason's sister and co-blogger, Georgia, became infected with the zombie virus (in 2010's Feed). After nearly three decades of rampant zombiism, procedures and protocols have evolved to keep humans safe, constrained, and scared. As Shaun struggles to cope with Georgia's death, a doctor from the Centers for Disease Control sets the After the End Times blogging crew to investigating a conspiracy around people with a reservoir condition—a state in which the virus goes live in just one area of the body—and the high death rate among reputable scientists trying to study them. Deft cultural touches, intriguing science, and amped-up action will delight Grant's numerous fans. (June)
"Astonishing ... a fascinating exploration of the future."―New York Times
"While there's plenty of zombie mayhem, political snark, and pointedly funny observations here, the heart of this book is about human relationships, which are still the most important thing in the world...even in a world where you might have to shoot the person you love most in the head, just to stop them from biting off your face."―Locus on Feed
"Feed is a proper thriller with zombies. Grant doesn't get carried away with describing her world or the virus. She's clearly thought both out brilliantly, but she doesn't let it get in the way of a taut, well-written story."―SFX on Feed
"The story starts with a bang as corruption, mystery, danger and excitement abound."―RT Book Reviews (4.5 stars) on Feed
"Gripping, thrilling, and brutal... Shunning misogynistic horror tropes in favor of genuine drama and pure creepiness, McGuire has crafted a masterpiece of suspense with engaging, appealing characters who conduct a soul-shredding examination of what's true and what's reported."―Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) on Feed
"Intelligent and intense, a thinking-person's post-apocalyptic zombie thriller set in a fully-realized future that is both fascinating and horrifying to behold."―John Joseph Adams on Feed
"I can't wait for the next book."―N.K. Jemisin on Feed
"It's a novel with as much brains as heart, and both are filling and delicious."―The A. V. Club on Feed
"OK, all of you readers who want something weighty and yet light, campy and yet smart, horror with heart, a summer beach read that will stay in your head and whisper to you "what if," Deadline is just what you are looking for."―RT Book Reviews on Deadline
"Deft cultural touches, intriguing science, and amped-up action will delight Grant's numerous fans."―Publishers Weekly (starred review) on Deadline
"Intelligent and exciting...raises the bar for the genre."―Telegraph on Deadline
"Wry and entertaining."―NPR Books on Blackout
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I didn't mind how much, or how few, zombies there were. This isn't a zombie apocalypse story, it's more about developing the notion of bloggers and general social media folk becoming a full force in society, after a zombie apocalypse. But there were still plenty of zombies.
However, slightly let down by a bit too perfect of a set up. I kept on visioning "I would have gotten away with it if it wasn't for you meddling kids". Yeah, vans of 20-somethings investigating will do that to you. I also liked how they immediately picked up clues that amateurs like the US Secret Service missed.
Also the villain(s) were just too gratuitously evil. The author tries to have the protagonists express a fair bit of tolerance and ambivalence about social and political parties, but it was let down by how much of cartoon cutouts the bad guys ended up being which made it slightly preachy.
So, a good story if you don't mind some rough angles and if you are not just looking for another standard zombie shooter post apocalypse thriller.
p.s. it also helps to remember that the slightly messed up co-dependent sibling relationship is between 2 adoptees who have no blood ties whatsoever. It feels a bit awkward and sexually charged at times - probably without really meaning to - but they are really not blood kin anyway.
Georgia and her brother Shaun are young journalists in a world where zombies are an accepted fact of life and the most reliable and cutting-edge journalism is coming from blogs. The siblings run their own up-and-coming blog and their career is poised for a boost when a major presidential candidate selects them to receive intimate access to his campaign and family.
The world-building is intricate and that's . . . well, that's part of the problem. Grant can't get out of her own way with all the technical details of her world and it becomes extremely repetitive. She's never content to tell us something just once, we get the same pieces of information over and over again. I wish she had trusted her readers to retain information from one chapter to the next. It's further complicated by Georgia and Shaun providing all these details in first person and it's unclear why they would be explaining what are basic facts of their life to us in such detail, especially when it requires them contrasting their world with the world that we current readers live in. As their entire life has taken place in the context of this zombie-filled world, it doesn't make sense *why* they bother to explain their world in such detail and contrast it to the pre-zombie world.
Georgia is constantly focusing on her role as an impartial and unbiased journalist which is what makes it confusing when her blog posts (presented as part of the story) directly contradict this. Things like this jarred me out of the story. There was also an issue of Grant's world-building failing to address the question that interested me most -- in the context of a zombie-decimated population, how are all these walls and air-dropped disinfectant sprays and high tech blood tests and special bleach-spray showers being paid for? Who is funding them? It all sounds very expensive and the economic aspect of the zombie outbreak is never addressed.
Do you ever just encounter a book that seems to call to you? It stays in the back of your mind, beckoning you. I had that experience with FEED. I went to the bookstore just to look around. I had absolutely no intentions to buy anything. I kept coming back to this book. Needless to say, it came home with me.
I knew that it was something special when I first started it. I had never encountered a zombie book that felt like this one. It was more than just zombies. It was this incredible story of people interacting and dealing with the stuff of nightmares. So many layers to it, there was nothing simple about it. I was hooked. I read it in two days and that was only because I had to go to class, study, and sleep. I could not get enough. It was one those reads that would stay with you long after you've finished it. I could not wait for the second one to come out the following year. I stalked that sequel.
Imagine if your job was to blog the news and you found yourself surrounded by monsters constantly, both human and zombie. You don't know who to trust or what the next day may bring. All you know is that you have to catch the story. You have to report it before anyone else does and that gets you into the front lines of the chaos. Danger is constantly breathing down your neck as you try to capture the story. People constantly trying to keep you from discovering the truth. Zombies everywhere you go. They want nothing more than to tear the flesh from your bones. They only want to FEED.
When I picked up that paperback, I had no idea that I would enjoy it so much and adore the series. I strongly recommend this book.