“The people who have the power want you scared. They want you walking around paralyzed by the notion that you could die at any moment. There’s always something to be afraid of. It used to be terrorists. Now it’s zombies.”
Feed, by Mira Grant
#1 in the Newsflesh trilogy
Orbit, April 2010
science fiction thriller
599 pages (mass market paperback)
The year was 2014. We had cured cancer. We had beat the common cold. But in doing so we created something new, something terrible that no one could stop. The infection spread, virus blocks taking over bodies and minds with one, unstoppable command: FEED.
Now, twenty years after the Rising, Georgia and Shaun Mason are on the trail of the biggest story of their lives — the dark conspiracy behind the infected. The truth will out, even if it kills them.
I’d never read a zombie novel before. They don’t really interest me, and I honestly can’t remember how this ended up on my TBR… but I’m so glad it did!
Right away, I knew I was going to like this book. I connected with the main character (and narrator) instantly, which is pretty rare for me. I’ve mentioned my potential issues with first-person narrators before… you don’t want so little personality that the story might as well be in third person, but it’s very easy for them to get too over the top. Georgia, on the other hand, was perfect, and her wry and snarky humor really made the book.
For anyone wondering at my genre classification… despite the zombies, it really didn’t feel like horror. To me it basically felt like a thriller that happens to have zombies in it.
There’s just so much else going on here. The zombies are a danger, sure — one that has radically changed the world and the way people live — but they’re not the whole story. And while these characters have been fighting zombies their whole lives, now they’re fighting something bigger, something they don’t understand at all. It reads more like a conspiracy thriller than anything else, and I love a good conspiracy thriller… even one that happens to include zombies.
In addition to the characters — Georgia first and foremost, but Shaun and several others as well — I loved the world that Grant creates, mostly because you really do believe that it evolved from our own. There’s a lot of talk about the way things were “pre-Rising.” Old zombie movies became instruction manuals on how to survive. The most popular kids’ names in this generation are variations on George, after George Romero (creator of Night of the Living Dead, among others, and whose name I’d never even heard before reading this). The adventurous breed of bloggers who go out of their way to capture zombie encounters on video are called Irwins (and in case you didn’t catch the reference, very late in the book it’s revealed that Shaun’s computer password is “crikey”).
There’s also the online community… which is already pretty big in our world, but imagine what it would become if suddenly never leaving your house wasn’t viewed as a kind of sad way to live but as actually pretty smart.
I could go on, but I can tell I’m starting to lose focus in trying to recapture everything I enjoyed about the book. Basically, even if you think you don’t like zombies, you might want to check the book out anyway. (And actually, if you do like zombies, I have no idea how this would stack up against your favorites.)
Does this sound like something you’d pick up? Any zombie aficionados want to chime in on how this compares to others in the genre?