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on 31 January 2013
What's Good About It

A lot. Frankly. This is one of those books you can't put down. Physically can't - lest it get destroyed if it leaves the protection of your hands and you never find out what happens next. Which is odd, really, because a lot of the book is detailed description of the post zombie-apocalypse world that Georgia and Shaun inhabit. It's clear that Grant has thought long and hard about the realities of living in such a world, and she's dedicated the word count to making the ins and outs of daily life perfectly clear, from the blood testing to the nature of the virus itself.

I think she gets away with it simply because it's so fascinating. There's also a lot going on in terms of plot events, so it's not like the book ever goes through a dry spell where nothing much happens. All the description and exposition is spaced out between nail biting, edge of the seat action, and touching character moments.

The characters are great too - fully developed and explored. The true horror of the story doesn't come from the zombies, but the characters willing to use them for personal gain - both on a small and large scale. Whether it be a Mason family trip to the zoo to boost ratings, or a political plot to halt the momentum of a presedential campaign, these moments are full of the darkest elements of the human race.

The story is gritty, the pace intense and the world is fantastically realised. Absolutely incredible stuff.

What's Not So Good

No book is perfect, but for me this comes pretty close. I imagine it's length might be off putting to some, and those looking for a gore-fest zombie horror of the Zombieland ilk will be disappointed. This is a taught, political thriller. Which just happens to have zombies.

Rating: 5/5
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It's several months after FEED and Shaun still hasn't recovered from the murder of his sister Georgia - to the extent that he now hears her voice in his head. He's retired as an Irwin but still runs After The End Times with the considerable help of Mahir from his base in London. When Dr Kelly Connolly from the CDC suddenly arrives on his doorstep it's troubling for a number of reasons, not least of which is the fact that she's been reported on the blogsphere as having died.

Kelly's brought news of a troubling conspiracy within CDC relating to data on the spread of the Kellis-Ambrose virus (the virus that led to the zombie apocalypse). Shaun almost immediately gets an idea of how powerful a conspiracy this is when the powers that be call down a firestorm on the headquarters of his blog. Soon he and his team are on the trail to get to the bottom of the mystery, which will see them go cross-country, encounter underground labs and meet lots and lots of zombies ...

Mira Grant's sequel to FEED develops the overall conspiracy story arc and widens the scope of the action while giving Shaun a more central role.

Depressed by Georgia's death, Shaun's getting used to the responsibility that comes with leadership. His conversations with Georgia worked well and Grant does well at showing how his attachment to her harms his relationship with others, especially new Irwin head, Rebecca, who's emotional interest Shaun remains oblivious to.

You don't need to have read FEED to follow DEADLINE, but you get more from it if you do. Although I'm a little tired of shadowy government conspiracies and games within games, Grant keeps it going well and it's interesting to get a new slant on familiar characters.

There's plenty of zombie action but at times it got a little repetitive albeit not as repetitive as the scenes where Grant shows the procedures that people have to go through to show they're zombie free. These became really boring after a while, frequently killing tension and deadening pace and I wished that she'd just skipped over it in a couple of sentences rather than plunge into the detail.

However the book does end with a real jaw-dropper shock, which should really shake things up for book 3, which I will definitely be checking out.
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on 8 June 2012
Having read and thoroughly enjoyed Mira Grant's Feed, I couldn't wait to get my hands on the follow-up novel, Deadline.

Without giving away the plot to Feed, Grant's own website provides the following information without giving the game away regarding her Newsflesh trilogy:

"In 2014, two experimental viruses--a genetically engineered flu strain designed by Dr. Alexander Kellis, intended to act as a cure for the common cold, and a cancer-killing strain of Marburg, known as "Marburg Amberlee"--escaped the lab and combined to form a single airborne pathogen that swept around the world in a matter of days. It cured cancer. It stopped a thousand cold and flu viruses in their tracks.

It raised the dead.

Millions died in the chaos that followed. The summer of 2014 was dubbed "The Rising," and only the lessons learned from a thousand zombie movies allowed mankind to survive. Even then, the world was changed forever. The mainstream media fell, Internet news acquired an undeniable new legitimacy, and the CDC rose to a new level of power.

Set twenty years after the Rising, the Newsflesh trilogy follows a team of bloggers, led by Georgia and Shaun Mason, as they search for the brutal truths behind the infection. Danger, deceit, and betrayal lurk around every corner, as does the hardest question of them all:

When will you rise?"

Grant continues a short while after where she last left the characters of Feed and for me, Feed was quite the story and to use an old-cliche, I genuinely couldn't put it down. Feed married up that horror classic, the zombie, with a tale of assassinations and corporate politicking that could easily have been a compelling novel in its own right without the horror aspect. Deadline follows on from this but for me, didn't quite hit the same spot. Where Feed was spot on with using the horror aspect as a lurking terror and a veritable weapon, cementing the real story, Deadline very much has the horror in the background and for me, this sequel was more sci-fi; with a heavy emphasis on the science.

Now, I know I don't have the most sophisticated of reading palates but I am of the opinion that there really was no need for the over-explanation of the science used. In Feed, it was used to illustrate a point and create a new way to have the infected running about munching people. In Deadline, at times, I felt like I was reading a fictional wikipedia entry.

I found myself becoming annoyed at parts of Deadline where the author felt the need to recap large parts of Feed, undoubtedly for the first time readers who have bypassed the first novel. Perhaps my criticism is unfounded since I read the first novel a matter of weeks ago and its events are still fresh in my memory but all the same, I found it irksome.

There is no doubt that Grant is a skilled writer and has written a decent sequel to her first novel. However, with its content and cliffhanger ending, it feels very much like a bridging step to the final novel. Deadline is very much worth a read for those who have had the pleasure of the first novel and intend to discover the ultimate plight of the protagonist bloggers central to the events narrated herein.
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on 24 October 2011
It starts in the same way as Feed, with someone poking a zombie with a stick but soon departs in a different direction. If you haven't read Feed yet, then this review will contain spoilers for the first book in the trilogy.

The narration moves to Shaun in this instalment. I think the man we see from his point of view is different from the one George saw and described in Feed. Maybe we can let him off as he's having a tough time getting over the loss of his sister, although she's not completely gone; Shaun has started to hear her voice in his head. He's aware he's most likely crazy but that doesn't stop him trying to get to the bottom of the conspiracy which got her killed.

Whereas Feed dealt with the evolution of news reporting and spread of information, Deadline doesn't have any strong message other than the need for answers. There's a lot of repetition, I lost count of the times Shaun explained about his craziness or that he just doesn't care what other people think. The novel is over 500 pages long and it could have easily lost 200 of them and been a better book. Considering they're running round avoiding the CDC and zombies, it all felt a little slow and that wasn't helped by the desire to slap the whining out of Shaun.

And as for those zombies, they didn't really feature much. It was much more about the Kellis-Amberlee virus which in itself is interesting but didn't have a strong enough plot to carry it. There's an event which occurs nearer the end which I would have loved brought forward as it suddenly became gripping and there were all these unanswered questions swirling round in my head. Though I kind of saw the actual ending coming.

Saying all that, I will be reading Blackout when it's released. I like the world that was created in Feed and I want to know what happens next...
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on 13 January 2013
Much as I like Zombies and end of the world books, this is much more than that. Well written and more of a thriller/conspracy novel that keeps you turning the pages and with a surprising twist at the end. Now have to read the next book in the series as soon as possible.
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on 15 June 2016
Absolutely glued to this book. Best I have read in a while, a refreshing concept and great take on the world of the instead.
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on 22 December 2012
I hate my Zombies to be special...different...improved.
Authors hate the Zombie straightjacket holding their imagination back, forcing them over old ground and into the normal plot ruts.
The usual way out is to have runners, or semi-intelligent, or with special types or abilities. No. Just no.
Mira Grant avoids tinkering with the zombies and expands her options by creating a whole world learning to live with the fact of zombies and proving to be just as devious and inventive as they were before the Zombie Apocalypse.
The people involved seem like they rally do live in the new tech heavy but medievally horrific new world of the future.
Unlike some reviewers I don't find the zombies underdone in this novel, and am happy with the political thriller aspects and the bloggersphere set up. More zombies is always good, but if thats all you rely on in a zombie novel you are never going to 'Rise' above average.
My only gripe (and this is more in evidence in the sequels)is the steady introduction of mega-rich people as a kind of 'Deus Ex Machina' to move the plot along.
Best book in the trilogy but all 3 have their "Oh wow" moments.
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on 3 March 2012
I'm sorry but if you are going to call a book 'Feed' and have a cover summary that states there is a virus outbreak which turns people into zombies, then I expect that book to be zombie focused. This is not the case at all and whilst I accept that for you non zombie fans out there it will be a bonus, for zombie fans like me it is hugely disappointing.

The main character of Georgia is pretentious and doesn't ring true and the scene where she (and her brother Shaun and associate Rick) were arguing with Tate was laughable.

Then to cap it all the stuff about Newsies, Irwins, etc sounded fake and the author started throwing in too many double barrelled names for various virus strains which just looked like she was trying too hard.

If you want to read a book about blogging in the future with a smidgen of zombie related stuff thrown in, this is for you.

If you want to read a 28 days later / Day of the dead style book then avoid at all costs.
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on 25 July 2010
I finished `Feed' in 2 days, and couldn't put it down. It's one of the best pieces of zombie related fiction I've ever read, and I recommend it to everyone.
Feed brings something new to the table. The book presents a world where zombies are a part of life. The `zombie war' happened. We survived, but we didn't get the world back; outbreaks still happen every day. Almost everyone goes armed, and blood tests are mandatory when entering any building. Mira Grant offers a different perspective on the infection that makes zombies, and she pulls it off very well indeed.
She also offers an interesting take on social media and news; since most people don't like to leave their homes for fear of getting caught up in an outbreak, they rely mostly on the internet for their news. It's an interesting idea and works well in the context of the books.

If you like zombie stories and are looking for something new, I recommend this book to you, however it's different from a lot of other stories, in that zombies are a fact, they're just there. This is a world where you're never truly safe from infection, but the zombies aren't always scratching at the door. They don't need to be.
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VINE VOICEon 20 October 2012
The Newsflesh Trilogy (of which Feed is the first book) is the book that spoiled zombie fiction for me. In a good way.
You see, after reading a zombie novel that is well written, so exciting, and so rich, almost every other zombie novel just seem naff in comparison!

Feed is set many years after the outbreak. Humans have found ways to survive, through careful and strict procedures that keep anyone who may be carrying the zombie virus well away from those who are clean. After the outbreak the "official" news sources lost their customers and privately run blogs have become the number one source for all things news and entertainment. Feed follows a group of bloggers as they land the job of their dreams. But dreams come at a price, and soon they are neck-deep in political conspiracies, danger, and fear. Before long their lives will be changed forever.

Feed can sometimes take a bit of effort to keep reading, the richness that makes it so good can at times make it difficult to get through. However about the halfway point it really picks up speed and flies pretty much nonstop until the end of book three! Feed will make you laugh, cry, and possibly chew your fingernails to bloody stumps. Even if you are not a zombiephile, this book has plenty to offer since it is the humans who are the main characters of this story, not the zombies.

Feed is absolutely my all time #1 zombie novel, so much so that although I read it originally on Kindle - I bought the paperback too just so I could force it on friends!

You may also be interested in reading Countdown by the same author, which is set in the same universe and explains exactly how the virus came about and how it was unleashed on the world.
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