Average Rating: 80 points/100 (4.25 stars/5)
Currently Complete with 4 books and a novella with a collection of 6 novellas and a short story.
Genres: horror, science fiction, zombies
George and Shaun Mason are bloggers, along with their friend Buffy. Now, they’ve won the opportunity of a lifetime: they get to follow a Senator on their campaign trail to the presidency. Then someone decides to commit an act of terrorism against them by sending Zombies after them, and they find themselves in a conspiracy. After that, everything goes to hell.
Feed had the best start to a book I’ve read in quite so time. I was highly amused by the start. The entire series had moments where it amused the hell out of me, even. The way George and Shaun are written manages to intersperse moments of joyful exuberance along with all the horrors that are happening throughout. It is really well done. The start though was a perfect way to start this book and this series.
Feed was originally intended to be a standalone book, before Seanan realised that it just had to be more. In some ways it feels different than books two and three. Yet, it is one continuous story. There is a short story released on the Orbit website that was the original ending to Feed that shows how it originally was going to end, which would have switched it into being a standalone.
There is also the matter of the trilogy and the fourth book, Feedback. The trilogy is a contained trilogy with a solid ending. Feedback takes place concurrently with Feed, with a different set of characters, but essentially the same story. Feedback definitely feels like it was conceived and written after the trilogy was completed. It is a good story, though, and is worth reading if you like the trilogy.
Rise is a collection of novellas set in the same world. Some of them are prequel, some of them are sequel. They mostly showcase characters that we came to love during the series on their own journeys. There is some that don’t, though. And one of those stories is just plain horrifying. Horror in the true sense of the word. I’m glad I read it, but I never want to read it again.
Another interesting part to Newsflesh is that we follow what are essentially journalists. Only they’re bloggers because people now trust bloggers more than they trust journalists. I enjoyed the fact that they are journalists dedicated to telling a story. And that story is following a presidential candidate through their election campaign during the first book. It is incredibly interesting and this combination isn’t actually something I’ve seen done before like this. After Feed, the story changes a bit, and focuses more on the science and the zombies.
The idea of the zombie plague quickly grows even more complicated in Deadline. What started off as a simple idea grew to monumental proportions. It kept changing every time we figured out the new part. On the one hand, I understand the need to do this to keep the story going. After what happens at the end of the feed, the series had to change to keep itself going.
The world is pretty bleak. It is filled with zombies and things that can kill you. Anyone could become a zombie at any time. The people are kept in fear of the zombies. They have rebuilt the entire world with them in mind. Anyone could be required to kill anyone else at a moments notice, and they do with frightening regularity.
The series is very character heavy. If you like the characters, you will love the series. You can come for the zombies. You can come for the science. You can come for the despair and the bleakness of the world. But, you’ll stay for Georgia Mason. You’ll stay for Shaun Mason. You’ll stay for Georgette Meissonier and Shannon Abbey and Mahir Gowda and Alaric and Dave and Becca and Maggie and Ash and Ben and Audrey and Mat and anyone I’m forgetting. It is such a diverse cast that if you try you can find just about anyone to love. Yet the stars have been and always been Georgia and Shaun Mason. I fell in love with them, and I rode this through because of them.
The level of codependency between those two are unreal, though. It adds a lot to the story. I love it. They don’t want anyone else in their life to mess up what they have with each other. They would happily live their lives without anyone else in it. They have friends, though, and they can make new friends. As long as that doesn’t try to come between them. The world supports this idea of codependency, though. People no longer go out and do things and meet people. When you find someone you can rely on, that is it, you’re set.
The secondary characters are quite good, too. They all add something different to the story and they’re all necessary. I really like a lot of them all. They all feel like people, and they tend to be good people, too. The only bad person (in the sense that he didn’t feel real, not that he was a bad person (because he was that, too)) was the villain in Feed. It is easy to forget about most of the other characters when you have a duo like George and Shaun. Yet, they secondary characters are not forgotten about.
Everything that has been said though, this is a very bleak world. Anything can happen, and anything does happen. Do not read this if you’re not ready for a massive wave of despair. I’m going to be riding this wave of pain for a solid month. If you’re looking for something that will tug at every emotional string you have, read this. You won’t regret it.
Check this out if:
* you love zombies, but don’t like outbreak stories
* you want some characters to die for
* you want to poke some dead things with a stick
* you love anything else from Seanan McGuire, because this is just as good as her urban fantasy stuff, and better than some of it
Don’t bother if:
* zombie science makes your eyes feel tired
* you don’t like dark worlds where bad things happen