I really enjoyed Feed and was looking forward to the sequel. However, possible spoilers ahead, Deadline was missing a few key ingredients that made Feed so good. It also included stuff that really wasn't necessary. If you liked Feed for all the action and fighting, you really might not enjoy the sequel.
As a read, its pretty good. Its just as accessible and believable as Feed and Mira Grant paints an engaging picture of post-apocalypse. The characters are not great - we really only learn anything about Sean Mason as a personality, everyone else just exists in his world. Or head. The development of the plot from Feed works well enough for Deadline to feel planned, as opposed to just tacked onto an unexpectedly successful original story. But it is overly long - around 600 pages - largely due to way too many explanations that Sean is crazy and doesn't care what anyone thinks of this and far far too many descriptions of blood tests. Blood tests to get into buildings. Blood tests to get out. Blood tests to get into cars and into shops. Blood tests to go houses, garages, and the toilet. Yeah, technically that last one comes in the sneak preview of the final book in the trilogy, but you get my meaning.
If you enjoyed Feed, you'll probably have that 'what happened next?' kind of feeling. You have to know how deep the conspiracy goes and who was really behind Tate. In which case you'll get something out of this sequel. Go ahead and buy it.
But, here's the big problem with Deadline - this is a possible spoiler, but I doubt it. Anyway:
Deadline is not a zombie novel, it is a thriller. I say this because there are next to no zombies in the whole book. Seriously: there are almost zero undead in this book. There's a few in the prologue, we hear some about 400 pages later, and there is one fight with some undead about a hundred pages after that. Thats it.
Now I get it, I think. This is not supposed to be a book about the undead, as such, its about the world they exist in. This is the fabulous new breath of life certain critics claim Newsflesh is to the genre. But it still seems a little disingenuous to market this book as a zombie book and then just use them as background. I can read lots of conspiracy thrillers without zombies, but I choose not to - I like survival horror, not political thrillers.
Hopefully this is a deliberate tonal choice by the author. The first novel was about the living having to deal with the ever-living. The second book has no zombies, but its protagonist is obsessed with his dead sister who lives on in his head. She is the zombie, get it? And hopefully that means the third novel can get back to some real undead action with some actual locomotive dead folks to fight.
Because I will have to buy it. As bereft of the undead as Deadline is, and as full of extraneous descriptions of insanity and blood-testing equipment as it is, Deadline still managed to keep me hooked and turning page after page until I had read it all. Telegraphed plot-twist and all, I'll be eagerly awaiting the conclusion of Newsflesh and hoping it is a more concise and gory entry in the series.