Sunday, July 5, 2015
Book Review: Feed by Mira Grant
Even after a virus caused zombies to become real, humans haven't changed all that much. The American government is still running much the same way as it did, and that means a new presidential election is aout to start. For independent blogging journalists Georgia and Shaun Mason, this could be their big break in the ratings. They have just been selected to join the campaign caravan of Republican candidate Peter Ryman. Now, they have connections, they have inside information, and they have access to the biggest news stories of the year.
The only problem is everywhere they travel, outbreaks of zombies pop up. These aren't random uprisings. These are staged. And it's only a matter of time before the infected catch up to them. Who's behind these sudden bursts of infection? Is the scoop worth the risk?
That's my summary. Here's the one I pulled from http://miragrant.com/feed.php
Shaun and Georgia are orphans of the Rising, the cataclysmic event which left the world reeling in the aftermath of the zombie uprising. Adopted by the Masons and raised in the strange world of the post-Rising media, they've spent their lives chasing the next big story, the one that will allow them to break into the big leagues once and for all. Now, in Senator Peter Ryman's run for the Presidency of the United States, they've finally found it.
All they have to do is survive until the election.
In a world filled with the constant threat of both the living and the living dead, it will be all that Shaun and Georgia can do to keep themselves in one piece. Accompanied by the rest of their blogging team, Senator Ryman's staff, and a whole lot of caffeine, they might succeed...or they might finally answer the big question of their post-Rising world: When will you rise?
In Grant's setting for Feed, the Rising occurred in 2014. It's now 2040, long enough for a generation of adults who have never known a world without zombies to be taking center stage in world affairs. So with Feed, Grant has set the "zombie apocalypse" right at our feet and taken things forward from there. She's not assuming it won't or can't happen right now. She's forcing us to deal with it, and that makes for a great setting. Seriously, with zombies being such a trend right now, it's great to see an author take on the issue of how we, as a people prepared for the Rising since it's such a fad, will actually react when faced with the living-impaired.
Turns out, we're doing pretty well.
Grant's writing style is sophisticated and clear, with distinct differences in the few writing and POV switches between characters. Blog posts from a few characters have their own voices, and that carries over into the variety of speaking styles of her characters. She's put a great deal of detail into the writing, which is only proper considering the news-reporting truth-telling subject matter of this book.
Overall, Feed was written very well.
Yeah, yeah, I know. Here I am, a self-proclaimed disdainer of zombies, reading another zombie book. Hey, I do like to stretch myself and explore genres and subject matters I'm not overly fond of. Tastes can change.
I wasn't overly impressed with this book. Don't get me wrong, the writing is excellent, the structure and events are great, and I did like the characters. But in my opinion, based on my own interests and aesthetic, Feed just wasn't quite worth the sum of its parts. It is NOT a bad book. It just didn't grasp me the way some others have. I spoke to a friend who had also read it (he didn't finish it), and I summed it up as this:
The book entertained me, but it didn't engage me.
I felt one step too far back from the action. I loved the narrator, Georgia. I loved Shaun. I loved Buffy and Steve. But I was never one of them. I didn't belong with the crew. I think another holdback for me on this was that it is politically centered, with the campaign, and I don't care for politics much (if at all).
I think the tastes for this book are a little more narrow than some, which isn't bad. There is a great audience for this book. I just wasn't part of it.
Would I Recommend This Book? Personally, no. On the whole, no. If you're interested in zombies, journalism, or politics, yes. Just know that this book is fairly long compared to some others (the audio version is about 15 hours), so it is a bit of a time investment to read. I think it's worth a tackle, if you want to give it a shot. In light of how wonderfully it is crafted, I give Feed a repeatedly-tested 4 of 5 stars.
For more information on the author, visit http://miragrant.com/index.php