Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Review: Feed

Mira Grant
Post Apocalyptic/Futuristic/Horror
Newsflesh Trilogy/Book 1
Orbit/May 2010

From the publisher's website ~

The year was 2014. We had cured cancer. We had beat 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, Georgia and Shaun Mason are on the trail of the biggest story of their lives-the dark conspiracy behind the infected. The truth will out, even if it kills them.

Zombies. I was never crazy about zombies when all the multitude of "Living Dead" type movies came out. I do love the Resident Evil movies, but a big part of that is because of Milla and her kickass ways. I don't usually read horror but I picked up Feed from the library because I liked the premise and I was in the mood for some post-apocalyptic drama. The zombies are not as prominently featured in Feed as I expected. Sure, they're there but on the fringe for the most part. The interaction with the zombies is of course as quick as possible for survival reasons but given how the zombies are portrayed, I expected them to figure more in the overall story.

The main focus is on three bloggers - siblings Georgia and Shaun Mason and their poetry loving computer geek friend Buffy. In this new world bloggers are powerful. They are the voice the population listens to after being lied to and misled by mainstream media when the Rising occurred over twenty years ago. Bloggers are celebrities, getting big name sponsors for their blogs. The other focus of the book are the politics of the time. Georgia, Shaun and Buffy are given the chance to travel with one of the top presidential candidates and report from the campaign trail. The political beliefs of the main narrator, Georgia, are front and center. Unfortunately, sometimes it felt like a lecture, with Georgia giving her beliefs in such a forceful manner I couldn't help but hope a few zombies might interrupt her tirade.

What people learned from the George Romero horror movies helped combat the sudden mass of zombies. But not everything went well, millions died and the really bad part - everyone is infected. Everyone. I thought that twist was decidedly wicked. When anyone dies, even from say a heart attack or natural causes, they become a zombie. The virus is dormant in everyone until it is triggered either through death or exposure to the live virus. And it's not just humans the virus infects. Animals over 40 pounds can become infected. This makes for some very heated debates on animal control and going vegan.

Georgia and Shaun have a very close bond that comes from being raised by two media hungry parents that have no qualms when it comes to using their kids to get more exposure for their causes. I loved the relationship between Georgia and Shaun. The love and respect along with the annoyance and teasing that close siblings have, was there in the way they talked to and about each other. Their relationship was my favorite part of the book.

I will say Grant doesn't pull any punches. You get the feeling that no one is safe from exposure and death, and rising, and death again. Hopefully. There are some extremely emotional scenes in this brutal world. In a place where sections of land, cities, heck even Alaska, are left to the zombies, no one can expect to be completely safe. These are not mindless, slow moving zombies, in fact, they exhibit pack mentality when enough of them converge. They have two main goals - feed and infect. One thing I never quite understood is why the military didn't work at eliminating the zombies to a greater extent. There were teams set up to contain and dispose of the aftermath of zombie attacks so why not be more proactive?

Aside from the political lecturing, I liked Feed more than I expected. I think because it had two well developed characters and didn't rely completely on the horror aspect. I did find the mystery of the political saboteur weak, it was fairly obvious who it was. The plot itself was layered with political and religious beliefs that had characters making difficult, life and death decisions with far reaching affects that are not fully realized in this first installment. I'm looking forward to reading the next installment of this fascinating trilogy, just not for the zombies.

Rating: B


  1. Wow! Leslie, you're reading horror with zombies? Actually this sounds quite interesting. Looking forward to your review of the second book. :)

  2. Hmmm, sounds interesting... but not sure I can read zombies LOL. and yeah, definitively can do without the political lecture. Glad you liked it more than you expect though!! I think that the Orbit publisher really tries to put different stuff out there :P

  3. Hils ~ I don't think this is horror as much as the more mainstream horror, ie. Stephen King, John Saul etc. It really had more of a UF feel to it. The way Feed ended, I have to read the second book. :)

    Nath ~ I've started thinking of zombies just like any other UF/PNR monsters. And since they weren't the main focus, it didn't have a strong horror feel to it.