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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
Feed - Mira Grant I do love a good zombie apocalypse. (Hey, I’m from Pittsburgh and I spent a lot of time near the Monroeville Mall growing up.) Fast zombies, Romero-esque, viral, space mutations, and generally supernatural means, as long as it has undead masses engaging in brain-noshing, I’m there. And one of the things that I love about the different takes on the zombie uprising is what happens to our society and what changes are made in light of the aforementioned mass brain-noshing.So, I was surprised that it took me a while to pick Mira Grant’s Feed. Partially because I think that the focus isn’t so much on the post-zombie apocalypse world, but the society that just happens to deal with the zombies. Undead hoards take a backseat to the new world of politics as bloggers follow an upcoming presidential campaign. The zombie hoards do play a large role, but the majority of the book follows the bloggers—Georgia and her brother Shaun, and their tech goddess Buffy—as they slowly unravel a conspiracy surrounding another mass outbreak.The societal elements are interesting, because this is one of the few examples I’ve read were society has marched on instead of falling back. We’ve got high-tech equipment, medical scanners that can detect the slightest nuance of viral amplification and a culture largely revolving the Internet. The catch here is that most people are afraid to leave their homes/gated communities, so bloggers like Shaun and Georgia become the eyes of the world. I kinda liked that this didn’t fall on reverting back to older technology, and instead that we’ve advanced to the point that medical kits can tell the slightest bit of zombie plague. There’s a greater risk here, as our news trio has to trek across America and deal with the continual checkpoints and very real dangers of being set on. It’s also very much a commentary on news and our society, and doesn’t feel like Grant bothered to veil this. I’m surprised that it went more toward the blogosphere, rather than integrating ideas like Twitter and Tumblr, but it still works for the purposes of the book.There’s also several pop culture references in here. The different blogger subsets are identified into Stewarts, Irwins, Aunties and Fictionals (the only group missing here is an Auntie); Buffy says that she’s “cute, blonde, and living in a world of monsters. What else would I call myself?”; and George Romero is not only hailed as the savior of mankind, but we also learn that after he dies, his zombie body is held in a governmental facility. (At which point, I burst out laughing.) Some of the references work, and some feel like Grant’s trying too hard to make a recognizable reference. They do make sense in the timeline of events—starting with the zombie outbreak in 2014—but I wish that there was a little more development of the societal culture to get an idea of where things stand.I rather liked the intrepid trio. Georgia comes off cool and stoic, but I like the softening of her personality through her personal blogs and narration. Looove Shaun, the stupid idiot. Not because he does have some of the best lines in the book, but also that we get another depth of his personality and how much he and Georgia really depend on each other. I like their rapport with each other, with Buffy, and with Senator Ryman and the other members of politics and news media. And while I do enjoy the Buffster, I really wish that her character would have been developed a little more. She comes off as too space-cadet and then no, she does it as a cover-up, but there’s very rare hints to what she’s really feeling. Of the three, she’s the Fictional, so a lot of her blog posts are purple poetry and lurid romance-horror stories. I would have liked to have gotten more with her.The political backdrop of the plot does feel more like a venue to shine commentary on our current society, but aside from one or two ideas that Grant throws in (the former porn star congresswoman who strips? Really?), it does largely work. There’s a lot of similarities that I’m pretty sure a lot of people could pick up on, but aside from being blatantly obvious, it does work fairly well.The plot though—while some of the political stuff tends to drag, Grant manages to keep the ball rolling and the reader hooked. There’s a sense of desperation that mounts as Georgia and her team uncover the main conspiracy to start a whole new outbreak, and you honestly don’t know what they’re going to find next. And then we start with the emotional gut punches—Buffy getting killed, and then finding out that she sold out the team. And if that wasn’t bad enough, GEORGIA dies. With three chapters and an epilogue left. The finale of the book is narrated by Shaun, and the transition between the voices (it is first-person POV) is handled deftly. You get a strong sense of Shaun’s voice and how shaken he is by the loss of his best friend. By this point, the whole conspiracy revealed to the reader, and you just keep turning pages to find out if Shaun will a. have his revenge and b. if he survives that long.It’s an interesting look at a post-zombie apocalypse world, and I’m highly interested in picking up Deadline just to find out “Now what?” It’s certainly different enough that you get all of the “how do we survive now?” tropes, with added cultural and societal lens positioned on this future. It’s a gripping read, and aside from one or two missteps, highly recommended to at least check out.