Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Review: Deadline

Mira Grant
Newsflesh Trilogy/Book 2
Orbit/May 31, 2011

*Spoilers for Feed (book 1)

From the back cover ~

Shaun Mason is a man without a mission. Not even running the news organization he built with his sister has the same urgency as it used to. Playing with dead things just doesn't seem as fun when you've lost as much as he has.

But when a CDC researcher fakes her own death and appears on his doorstep with a ravenous pack of zombies in tow, Shaun has a newfound interest in life. Because she brings news-he may have put down the monster who attacked them, but the conspiracy is far from dead.

Now, Shaun hits the road to find what truth can be found at the end of a shotgun.

This story took me on a long journey complete with bumps, potholes and a long layover. I started reading Deadline at the beginning of July, got about 250 pages into it and had to set it down. The two main problems I was having was the slow moving plot and the narrator's voice. It didn't feel like much had happened in those 250 or so pages. Obviously not enough to hold my attention. After letting it sit for over a month I decided to give it another try. Some might wonder why bother? I hated to to give up, having already read 250 pages. I do like the world Grant has created and I was curious enough to find out what happened next. I just hoped it happened sooner rather than later.

Let's start with the narrator's voice. In book 1, Feed the narrator is Georgia (George) Mason who, while I didn't always agree her views and felt she got too preachy at times, she didn't get on my nerves the way her brother Shaun does, who is the narrator this time around. Shaun is practically wallowing in his grief for George, who died at the end of Feed. It's been over a year since George died and Shaun doesn't seem like he's gotten anywhere close to beginning to heal. He says he wants revenge on the ones responsible but I'm not sure what he's been doing towards that end. Then there's the Coke drinking. George liked Coke, Shaun doesn't, preferring coffee for his caffeine fix. Yet he drinks Coke in George's memory. Lots of Coke. All. The. Time. It got annoying quick. George also talks to Shaun in his head and he talks to her. No one else can hear her and many think Shaun's gone crazy but it's all good since George does give Shaun some decent advice. Was this part of Shaun's coping mechanism? It was more of an example of how Shaun relied on George and still was.

The plot moved slowing, with surprisingly few zombies showing up. There was more discussion of Kellis-Amberlee and it's possible anomalies along with government conspiracies and cover-ups. If you like scientific discussions and conspiracy theories, then this could definitely work for you. For me, I would have liked more suspense and tension in the plot. Based on reading Feed I knew there was a high possibility that not everyone would make it to the end of the book. In fact, I would have been surprised by it. I wasn't surprised. Things do begin to pick up momentum around 3/4 of the way through. Which puts us at around page 430 of a 580 page book. At this point, I had a hard time putting the book down.

There are a number of revelations regarding the truth behind the research of the Kellis-Amberlee virus. The CDC's overwhelming control of information and the power they have to declare an area hazard zone. They have power over who lives and who dies. I found the CDC's abuse of power one of the scariest parts of the story. The zombies are not the major threat to Shaun and the After the End Times staff. It's the CDC that is working to wipe them out.

*Major Spoilers Ahead*

You know when a big shocking revelations occurs in a book and at first you're surprised then the more you think about it and look back, the more you see the signs? That happened a couple of times in Deadline. One of those shockers didn't surprise me for long simply because I found it hard to believe such a strong character was dead. It's George and she's not just in Shaun's head, turns out she's really alive. That's how the book ends but if you read the excerpt for Blackout, book 3, you find out that George has been cloned. Cloning a complete person does happen in Deadline so there is some precedence for it. It didn't surprise me so much that George came back, I just wasn't expecting clone George.

The other revelation was Shaun and George's relationship. They are siblings but they are not blood related. They were adopted by the Masons and raised as brother and sister. Granted, Mr. and Mrs. Mason did not provide what could be called a loving environment, instead using their children as props to get their message out. But the reality is, everyone treated them as siblings. Their relationship was more than that as we find out when Shaun has sex with one of his staff and calls out George's name. Yeah. Adopted and not blood related, it still smacked of incest. I can see how Shaun and George would develop a close relationship given how their parents treated them but I really wish Grant hadn't gone there. It came across as more for the shock than for anything it may add to the story or character development. They could still be as close as best friends and siblings without sex entering into the equation.

So, time for the grade. I did like the final quarter of the book but I don't feel any desire to read the final book. Plus, setting it aside for over a month and considering DNFing it leaves me to think this is not the trilogy for me. I do think if you loved Feed then there's a good chance you'll like Deadline. The science is interesting but can become tedious if that is not your thing. If you're looking for lots of zombies and fighting, then you might want to pass on this.

Rating: C

Books in the Trilogy ~

Countdown (novella prequel, August 2011)
Blackout (May 2012)


  1. Oh, this is the book about the zombies?! Hmmmm.

    Well at least, you finished it :) You didn't give up, so good for you Leslie :) Just too bad you don't feel like reading the third book.

    I find that I have a bit of difficulty with Orbit books. I love fantasy and urban fantasy, but when they're published by Orbit, it gives me pause a little... it's never exactly what you're expecting.

  2. Nath ~ I did finally finish it and in a way I'm glad I did so I'm not left wondering if it got better.