Monday, March 11, 2013

DEADLINE by Mira Grant - Book Review

[Note: This review was originally published on on June 15, 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!

Deadline (book two of The Newsflesh Trilogy)

Author: Seanan McGuire writing as Mira Grant

mass market paperback


Horror/Thriller/Science Fiction

  Orbit Books

Landed in my hands: purchased myself

Summary (from the cover blurb):

Shaun Mason is a man without a mission. Not even running the news organization he built with his sister has the same urgency as it used to. Playing with dead things just doesn’t seem as fun when you’ve lost as much as he has.
But when a CDC researcher fakes her own death and appears on his doorstep with a ravenous pack of zombies in tow, Shawn has a newfound interest in life. Because she brings news -- he may have put down the monster who attacked them, but the conspiracy is far from dead.
Now, Shaun hits the road to find what truth can be found at the end of a shotgun.    


Ooh! Ooh! Who’s glad they pushed themselves out of their genre comfort zone with Feed?


And even more for promptly picking up Deadline, because it is such a rewarding read.

Grant has a great ability to keep the pace running with cliffhanger chapter endings. And I’m a sucker every time. Seriously, if my eyes literally hadn’t been blurry (yes, that rating system is based on reality) I would have read this in one sitting. Yep, I’m certifiably converted. Feed was my first zombie book, Deadline the second, and I’ll be damned (heh) if I don’t get my hands on the forthcoming Blackout, too.

There are a couple of casting changes from Feed to Deadline — to be expected within zombie and conspiracy tales alike — and Grant’s twist on this is refreshing. Shaun, Georgia’s brother, is the viewpoint character, and I was delighted to find him as entertainingly disgruntled in his commentary (and internal struggle) as George is in the first book. And their relationship is interesting as always, to say the least.

The lines of conspiracy have developed further in this installment, and Shaun, not the born-leader type, has to step up and lead the blogger crew of After the End Times to the truth. The all-encompassing, Big Brother-eqsue idea of government using and abusing power and information is not a new idea, but still all too chilling in its possibility. Power, corruption, all that jazzy goodness, am I right? Add a zombie outbreak, and suddenly it’s a dry conspiracy story no more...

The subtle comparisons the characters make between their current world and that which existed before the Rising (the first onslaught of the virus that created zombies), lends believability to the story. Grant is thorough with her logic for her setting, and the resulting forced adaptation of the society that she has created is both tragic and fascinating. The reality these characters inhabit varies significantly from our own, and Shaun’s filter is an amusingly irritated way to see how the world has changed. His take on grocery stores as potential death traps makes perfect sense:

I’ve seen pictures of pre-Rising grocery stores. They’re weird, cramped things, with narrow aisles filled with milling consumers — and of course, when the zombies came, they turned into effective little death traps, full of places for the infected to hide. Even the sprinkler systems they used to run over the vegetables worked to spread the outbreak, since all it took was a few drops of blood getting into the water system, and bam, you were literally misting live infection throughout the produce aisle. [...] The rise of the modern grocery store has been a reflection of people’s twin needs to eat and not get eaten. The layout is closer to the old megastores than anything else, but only a certain number of people are allowed in each department at any one time. Groups cycle through according to the store’s floor plan, with air locks and blood testing units between each distinct part of the store. The process takes hours. Grocery shopping is not an activity for the faint of heart.


My instinct is to imagine having to bring a toddler with me, but of course, in Grant’s 2041, I’d barely take my child outside, let alone risk exposure in an outing to the grocery store.

It’s exactly the kind of authenticity of detail that stabilizes the entire story, enabling this reader to suspend her disbelief and sink into a zombified future.

Yes, zombies aren’t for everyone. I get that.

But if you’re even a little bit interested in broadening your reading horizons, I highly suggest you track down Mira Grant’s Feed, because The Newsflesh Trilogy is worth it, for sure.

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