Sunday, 5 June 2016

Please Do Not Taunt the Octopus by Mira Grant

Please Do Not Taunt the Octopus by Mira Grant is a Newsflesh novella, set in the same world as Feed and sequels. I admit I mainly picked up this specific Mira Grant novella because of the title. I was justified in my choice when the octopus's eyes on the cover came up under the transparent loading symbol on my iPad, making them appear to flash just before the book opened.

As Dr. Abbey knows, there are difficulties in running an underground virology lab in a post-Rising America. 

And unwanted guests must be dealt with.

This book is set after the Newsflesh trilogy, I'm pretty sure. It's been a while since I read it, but from memory, it's definitely set after the second book, and probably after the third. My point being, don't read this if you don't want to be spoiled for the later Newsflesh books. Some of the most important later events are spoiled in this novella.

Warnings aside, I enjoyed this novella. The strangest thing was confusing which Mira Grant world I was reading in near the start. The main character reminded me a bit of a character in Parasite and Symbiont, so my mind kept drifting over into that world until zombies became more prominent. Obviously this won't be a problem for everyone, and was mainly an issue for me because I read those books more recently.

The main character — telling the story in first person — is a mad scientist running an illegal private lab during the zombie post-apocalypse. Her life involves paperwork, making sure the research is going to plan, and toying with the CDC plants/spies sent her way. But then a different spanner is thrown into the works, proving to be more than just a hiccup for her to overcome. It was the kind of story where the initial setup is interesting by itself, but the additional complication pushes it into even better storytelling territory. My one complaint is that the titular octopus didn't play a larger role.

This was a fun novella that I would highly recommend to all fans of the the Newsflesh universe. It's fairly different (other than the setting) to the trilogy, mainly because there is not journalism or politics. It probably is more similar in style to the Parasite books, despite being set in a different universe. I want to recommend it to people who haven't read the Newsflesh books, but I hesitate because of the spoilers for the trilogy.

4.5 / 5

First published: 2015, Orbit
Series: Newsflesh universe, a novella best read after the main trilogy
Format read: ePub
Source: Purchased from Google Play

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