Saturday, 28 July 2012

Feed by Mira Grant

Feed by Mira Grant is a novel I picked up earlier this year and left lying around on my ereaders while I was distracted by other things. Now that I’ve read it, I wish I didn’t have to read two more books before buying the sequel.

This was a book that snuck up on me. It started interestingly enough and for a while I wasn’t sure what the main action was going to be. Then, in the last 20–30%, the action picked up and didn’t slow down until the very end. I didn’t take many breaks while reading the first part, but for that last part I could not put it down.

Twenty years after the zombies started rising, humanity endures. During the Rising the media as we know it today fell on its face in a few ways and bloggers rose to feed the public’s demand for truth (and sensationalism). As journo bloggers, Georgia, Shaun and Buffy run around looking for news and sometimes poking dead things with sticks (that’s mostly Shaun). At the start of the novel, they’re chosen by one of the Republican presidential candidates to follow him on the campaign trail in the lead up to the primaries. Drama (and zombies) ensues.

When I finished it, I wanted to give Feed five stars (which I reserve for my absolute favouritest books — they go in the side bar) but after some reflection there were some things which bothered me but which the awesomeness of the last part distracted me from.

Firstly, it’s a book about the US presidential elections making it, obviously, very US-centric. That’s fine but there were some parts where there was assumed knowledge which I’m sure USian readers would know but that went a bit over my head. And I say that as someone reasonably well informed (US elections are probably the ones I know the second most about, after Australian ones) but who couldn’t look up some references while reading (because I had no internet at the time). So, for example, this was the first time I’d heard about Super Tuesday. It was explained enough for the story to make sense, but I couldn’t help but feel more background knowledge (or slightly more explanation) would have helped.

I also really want to know how, if the zombie apocalypse started in the US, the entire rest of the world also became infected. Once people realised what was going on, it doesn’t seem like it would be hard to keep relatively isolated countries like Australia (or at least Tasmania…) and New Zealand clean. And if the outbreak started in the US, wouldn’t it be the hardest hit? How can it still be “the greatest country on Earth”? I suspect some of these questions are addressed in the related novellas Countdown and San Diego 2014: The Last Stand of the California Browncoats, which are set at the time of the Rising and which I look forward to reading.

I very much enjoyed Feed and I look forward to reading the rest of the series. I highly recommend it to anyone who likes zombies, post-apocalypic stories, near-future SF or political or epidemic thrillers. It’s definitely a worthy read.

4.5 / 5 stars

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