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Confessions of a Bibliophile

An aspiring writer and bookstore employee with an incredibly bad book-buying habit... I'll read just about anything (so long as it will appeal to my interests in some way), but my main loves are YA and sci-fi/fantasy. I also like quirky history and science books and will book nerd. A lot. Currently in the process of weeding out my personal library. Find me on Twitter @princess_starr or check out my YA book, Snowfall, on Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/240027

Countdown (Newsflesh Novella)

Countdown - Mira Grant (So, um yeah, originally read this back in November, in preparation for Mark Reads Deadline, but…never got around to doing an actual review. I did do a reread in honor of finishing the trilogy so…yeah.)Part of the reason that I’ve said that I’m not looking to certain upcoming zombie films is because aside from looking like an In Name Only adaptation, the trailers and description of that movie is the plot of EVERY MAINSTREAM ZOMBIE/PLAGUE APOCALYPSE FILM IN THE LAST TWENTY OR SO YEARS. “Oh teh noez! There are zombies and we can’t fight against them because we don’t know how to defeat them even though it’s been a cultural touchstone since the sixties! SAVE US WHITE AMERICAN MALE WHO CONVENIENTLY CAN SAVE EVERYONE.” (Yeah, I know, I know, I’ve been bitching about the World War Z for a while and I shouldn’t judge it based on the trailer alone, but honestly? That trailer does not make me wanna watch that movie ESPECIALLY since I’ve read the book and screamed bullshit about the trailer. Multiple times.) The thing that I liked about Feed, and particularly in the set-up of the world-building is that not only did it take place after the zombies have risen and were subsequently beaten back (at the time of the trilogy’s start because HAHAHAHA oh it still hurts) but it made very clear that there is no cure for Kellis-Amberlee. Everyone is going to turn into a zombie, no matter how they die. That’s it. Coming in to Countdown also leads to the very precarious issue of writing prequel stories. I have said in the past that I’m not a huge fan of prequel novellas, especially when they’re released in between books. Mainly because most of the ones I’ve read give way too much away for future plot developments, and it feels at times that the author wrote the prequel after the original book—so none of the revelations feel new or give the fan something to be surprised about. Countdown, however, is the exception that proves the rule.Unfortunately—and don’t get me wrong, I loved this—I do feel that this has more impact if you’ve read Feed first. The summer of 2014 is very well explained in Feed itself, so you’re not missing out on a major plot spoiler in Countdown if you pick it up later. But the emotional ramifications and parallels between the two stories is what makes Countdown work really well. Yes, going into it, you know that there’s not going to be any magical cure to swoop in at the end, you know that every character is completely doomed (The Masons. THE MASONS. God. Knowing how they used to be made everything about Georgia and Shaun so much worse, especially during Blackout.) But not only that, McGuire fleshes (heh) out the major players in the spread of KA—people who were mostly names that have been either hailed or vilified in 2039. Here, only one major player in the events surrounding the rise of KA and the First Rising is presented as a villain—not that Robert Stalnaker thinks of himself as a villain, but he’s clearly unrepentant of the damage that he’s done. However the other major players, particularly Dr. Kellis, are shown as just who they are: well-meaning people who wanted to help people. And that’s really the tragic thing about the whole prequel; unlike the full trilogy, none of the scientists involved wanted to profit out of the situation. This is a fantastic interlude for the Newsflesh-verse, and one I think can very easily fit in anywhere when reading the series. It manages to expand the backstory without feeling repetitive or overstated, and the characters not only give more insight into the motives of how everything in 2039 came to pass, but even knowing the inevitable outcome, you secretly wish that they could make it out okay. (And this being Seanan McGuire, she laughs at that wish.)