Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Review: Feed (Newsflesh #1) by Mira Grant

Feed (Newsflesh, #1)

Goodreads Summary:
In 2014, two experimental viruses—a genetically engineered flu strain designed by Dr. Alexander Kellis, intended to act as a cure for the common cold, and a cancer-killing strain of Marburg, known as "Marburg Amberlee"—escaped the lab and combined to form a single airborne pathogen that swept around the world in a matter of days. It cured cancer. It stopped a thousand cold and flu viruses in their tracks.

It raised the dead.

Millions died in the chaos that followed. The summer of 2014 was dubbed "The Rising," and only the lessons learned from a thousand zombie movies allowed mankind to survive. Even then, the world was changed forever. The mainstream media fell, Internet news acquired an undeniable new legitimacy, and the CDC rose to a new level of power.

Set twenty years after the Rising, the Newsflesh trilogy follows a team of bloggers, led by Georgia and Shaun Mason, as they search for the brutal truths behind the infection. Danger, deceit, and betrayal lurk around every corner, as does the hardest question of them all:

When will you rise?

My Review:
Wow! Oh, first, we need some zombie theme music. I don't know why, but I associate this song with one of the Romero "Dead" movies. I distinctly remember it playing as zombies were peeling themselves out of the grave. But I can't find it in a soundrack, so I'm just going to assume that's my association.

Although, I'm in such a zombie type mood that I did a mini-film fest- I watched "Shaun of the Dead" and "Zombieland".  So I do have "Night of the Living Dead" and "Day of the Dead"- the two most probable films this song may have appeared in- up for future viewing.  

Short review: Probably the best traditional zombie type novel I've read since World War Z: An Oral History of the Zombie War.  

Had this book remained "just" a zombie book, that would have been fine with me. It is fast-paced, well written, and full of well developed characters. But, it's more than "just" a zombie book. Yes, it takes place as Georgia and Shaun blog about a presidential race; they are the bloggers chosen to follow a candidate along the campaign trail. But it's not really "just" about that either. In essence, it's a thinly veiled allegory of the current "War on Terror."  Read it and think about it. It makes you think that a lot of the things we do to suppress/eradicate/control terrorism actually end up creating more terrorists.   

It's also about fear and the reality of having to trade freedom for safety. Which is something that we've had to balance after September 11- how much freedom are we willing to give up to be safe? Now, right around September 11th, I would have traded a lot for safety, for the ability to not be afraid. I wanted to be told that if we just do "X", the world will go back to normal. I was one of the unlucky people who actually had relatives in one of the places an airplane flew into on September 11th. My mother, grandfather, and I spent the better part of a day trying to find out if they were alive. (The phone lines were jammed, obviously, and we couldn't get through.) Fortunately, I ended up being one of the lucky ones and my relatives made it out of the Pentagon alive and uninjured. 

Like many Americans, I avoided doing a lot of things. We cancelled a trip to Disneyland, we avoided places with large crowds on "significant" holidays, etc. Why? Fear. Which brings us back to "Feed". A lot of the book is about the politics of fear- how politicians use our fear to get elected by promising to make us safe. Which brings up at catch-22 for them- we can never be truly safe. And once the crisis has passed and we start going back to feeling safe, we don't need them. So, some politicians create a climate of fear and use that to make promises to keep us safe. But it's not just about "them" (the politicians), it's about "Us". The book explores the question, "Do we believe a comforting lie, or a painful truth?" Do we elect people who are our better angels- who do the tough, unpopular, smart thing? Or do we elect the person who goes along with the comforting lie? Who does what we want, instead of what is good for us. Yes, this is a zombie book with brains.  

But, "I hate politics!" It's okay, you can still read this book. It's still fun and full of action, blood, and gore.   

Overall Rating: 4 1/2 stars  
Genre Rating: 5 brains
Mira Grant's Website
Mira Grant (Seanan McGuire)'s Twitter  
Feed (Newsflesh, #1)


  1. Replies
    1. Sorry I deleted your comment. It was an accident- I shouldn't try to do things before I've had my pot of coffee. I was in the comments section and was trying to click on the comment and erased it. (There was nothing offensive or bad in the comment, I'm just a klutz! I even fall up stairs- really! I fell up stairs and got a nasty bone bruise that leaked for months)

      I hope you do pick up Feed again and give it a chance. My husband is even going to read this one when he goes on break from school- I loved this book so much I gushed to him and now he's intrigued by it.

      Thanks for commenting, sorry I'm a doofus.


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