Friday, July 19, 2013

Book Review: Feed

Feed by Mira Grant

The year was 2014. We had cured cancer. We had beaten the common cold. But in doing so we created something new, something terrible that no one could stop. The infection spread, virus blocks taking over bodies and minds with one, unstoppable command: FEED. Now, twenty years after the Rising, bloggers Georgia and Shaun Mason are on the trail of the biggest story of their lives - the dark conspiracy behind the infected. The truth will get out, even if it kills them.

Ah, zombies.  Here is one pop culture phenomenon that I just can't really buy into.  Not that I'm opposed to zombie stuff, mind you.  It's just not my go-to subgenre.  Lest you think I'm a snob, I want to point out that I voluntarily went to see 10000 B.C in theaters and I have an unhealthy collection of guilty-pleasure Jane Austen rewrites.  I'm not "too good" for any genre.
It's just that zombies, while they have the potential to be genuinely scary and creepy, seem like a one-trick pony.  There might be shuffle-groan zombies, there might be agile-strong zombies, but there's little additional depth to be plumbed. 

And yet I read some reviews by other bloggers and readers that said the Newsflesh trilogy is crazy well-written and worth the read.

Was it?

At the moment I'm inclined to say "yes."

The plot - a conspiracy about the provenance of the zombie virus - is truly engaging, especially when slowly uncovered by a group of young adults working as the blog-based news team for an up-and-coming presidential candidate.  The main character, Georgia, is well-constructed with a healthily suspicious and snarky nature.  For good reasons, she doesn't really trust anyone other than her brother Shaun and lives in frequent fear for her life, just like the rest of the world.  Her entire professional life revolves around her blog and she knows the cost of such a transitory and fickle career.

There are truly tense moments:  burst of action inserted rudely into otherwise prosaic events.  Zombie attacks, terrorist plots, unexpected deaths and so on.  Of course, without spoiling anything, I have to say that the final climax made my jaw drop.  I probably should have seen it coming, but I just didn't.  At all.

By the end of the book, the storyline had me hooked and I had to know how it ended.  However, throughout the book, there were many points at which I was tempted to put it down because I was tired about reading about blood tests and how they were administered and how many they had to complete.  I didn't care about Blog Administration 101.  These are the kind of things that become increasingly annoying once you notice them.  Just when I would be getting fed up with reading about non-crucial plot details, something exciting would happen and I would be hooked for another 30 pages.

After reading spoileriffic reviews of the next two books, I can't say that I'm too eager to finish the story, but this book is probably worth reading just for the climax alone.  You can judge if you want to finish the trilogy for yourself.

4/5 stars.

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