Pros: Absolutely wonderful milieu and characters!
Rating: 5 out of 5
In Mira Grant’s Feed (Newsflesh, Book 1), two curative viruses meet up and mutated into something terrible. So now we don’t get cancer or the common cold, but everyone eventually becomes a zombie, even if it’s when they die. The zombies haven’t really caused an ‘apocalypse’ but they’ve definitely resulted in some changes. For instance, if you’re a reporter you have to have all sorts of qualifications, be trained with a gun, and so on. It didn’t take long for traditional news sources to bow before the bloggers, who were much more willing to toss themselves straight into danger for a good story. Ratings are everything. George (Georgia) and her adoptive brother Shaun–along with their friend Buffy–got an invite to ride along on a Senator’s push toward the White House. They’re ready for the next level of providing the news.
George is a ‘Newsie’–someone who tries to report the facts of what’s happening. Shaun is an ‘Irwin’–he pokes and prods at the things that might bite back, enjoying the danger of it (I have to assume that’s named after Steve Irwin). Buffy is a ‘Fictional’–she writes poetry, stories, and so on. In this case she’s also along because she’s one of the best techies in the business, able to hide tiny little cameras and microphones in (or as) jewelry and so on.
There are zombies, and some information about them, but frankly this story is about the people. The real problem with the zombies is that in killing them you might get their blood on your skin. All mammals are already ‘infected’ by the virus, but it generally takes something to trigger that virus. An active virus from a blood spatter could activate a person’s dormant virus colony. This makes blood spatter–much easier to end up with than a bite–lethal. The bloggers go through so many quick blood tests, and gun training, and decontamination procedures, that they at least have some chance of surviving an encounter. Certainly they have to be bound and determined to do what they do if they want to go through all that. There are a couple of small mysteries to think about (zombies seem to get smarter the larger the pack they’re in), but not a whole lot of answers. It works.
The narration (mostly from George’s side) is fantastic. She and Shaun know very well how to handle their readers and the attention they get–George and Shaun’s parents basically adopted them as a means to get ratings, so there’s no love lost there. The group is bound and determined to ride their invitation all the way to the top. Along the way there are attempted murders, actual deaths, secrets unbound, global blogger conspiracies–and of course, zombie attacks.
The characters in here are fantastic. I love the relationship between Shaun and George. They use the campiness of the situation they’re in to play to the crowd, both informing and entertaining. I wouldn’t have expected to enjoy a zombie tale that was about bloggers, but Feed has changed my mind.