Wednesday, March 20, 2013

BLACKOUT by Mira Grant - Book Review

[Note: This review was originally published on on May 6, 2011. Seanan McGuire is JordanCon 2013's Author Guest of Honour and I'm stupid with excitement.]

Rating: 5/5 - So delicious that I read until my eyes went blurry!

Title: Blackout (book three of The Newsflesh Trilogy)

Author: Seanan McGuire writing as Mira Grant

Format: mass market paperback

Published: 2012

Genre: Horror/Thriller/Science Fiction

  Orbit Books

Landed in my hands:
purchased myself

Summary (from the cover blurb):

The world didn’t end when the zombies came. We just wish it had.

The conspiracy that rules post-zombie America is alive and well. The same can’t be said of the bloggers who dared tell the truth as they found it.

Now, with too much left to do and not much time left to do it in, Shaun Mason and his team must face mad scientists, zombie bears, and rogue government agencies--and if there’s one thing they know is true in post-zombie America, it’s this:

Things can alway get worse.

BLACKOUT is the conclusion to the epic near-future trilogy that began with the Hugo-nomiated Feed and its sequel, Deadline.


It says an awful lot about Blackout that I was a good 250 pages in before I remembered to stop and take notes. Any time I get that immersed in what I’m reading, it’s a good sign, and I’m happy to say Seanan McGuire has done a great job continuing the adrenaline rush she began with Feed and Deadline.

That said, I kind of feel I’m repeating myself with this review. What struck me as squee-worthy in the other installments did the same all over again in Blackout: the charmingly idiosyncratic characters, the snappy dialogue, the logical evolution (devolution?) of society, and the realism of her worldbuilding...

A great example of the nuances of post-Rising society is this snapshot of necessary changes to property law:

Durno v. Wisconsin was the case that decided the dead had no rights regarding property on or around their immediate persons at the time of death, making it perfectly legal to take a zombie’s car and claim it as your own. It’s been abused a few time over the years. It’s still seen, and rightly, as one of the best legal decisions to come out of the Rising. I mean, who has the time to transfer a pink slip in the middle of a zombie uprising?

It’s these little offhand remarks on the part of the narrator that give such great insight into the post-zombie-apocalypse world, most specifically into the state of the infrastructure and social systems. Most of my experience in zombie-based entertainment includes mass panic and a heavy dose of “everyone for themselves” mentality. McGuire’s take on how society would adapt — including constant viral testing, the basic infrastructure of new-build safety juxtaposed with pre-zombie architecture, and modifications to the government and established social systems for safety and efficiency — well, it’s incredibly well-conceived.

And with that, I’m a convert — erm, converted fan? (Somehow this doesn’t sound right. I swear I haven't amplified. Yet. Heh.) Feed was my first taste of zombies in the literary sense, and it will be far from my last.

Now if only I didn’t suspect Seanan McGuire had set the bar incredibly high...

Oh! Just one more thing: I'm going to go on record (my spoiler alarm's ringing too loudly for me to say in what capacity) and say that I was wrong about a particular aspect of this trilogy and I am more than happy to be wrong.

Because (nutshell version), I was sold on one view, and when McGuire pulled the rug out from under me it was oh, so satisfying!

And that, my friends, is why I read: I love being surprised shocked struck dumb by a twist. And when it's done so well I'm floored because completely didn't see it coming? I'm oh so excited to admit I'm wrong...

Thank you, Ms McGuire. It was worth it. All of it.

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