Feed by Mira Grant
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
I started reading this book with all the wrong expectations: I thought it would be YA and that it would be about zombies.
As already stated in endless reviews before mine, zombies do not represent the lion's share in this book.
Nor is it YA lit.
The year is 2039. Society as we know it has changed profoundly. Due to the combination of two potent "vaccinations", one meant to cure colds and the other cancer, a new virus had developed and has affected the whole world population. Side effects? Once you die, you become a zombie.
Georgia and Shaun Mason are bloggers, which in the new society is equal to journalists. When they are chosen as official press to follow the Republican candidate for the presidential campaign, they think they've won the jackpot, the possibility to become popular Alpha bloggers.
Except that someone is trying to sabotage the campaign and, as their popularity increases, so do the risks of being involved in a dangerous political intrigue which might be more than what they've bargained for.
As I said, this book is not strictly about zombies. To me, it felt more like a legal thriller à la John Grisham, except with journalists instead of lawyers. The world-building is very detailed and complicated, both in relation to the insurgence and development of the virus and to the blogging tech details. So much so that this book really made feel like a Neanderthal of computers and tech devices, I felt like I still haven't discovered the wheel.
Directly proportionate to the detailed world building, is the infodump. There's a lot of info in this book to digest and I'm not sure I always liked the way the author introduced it. As the story develops, she throws in names and events - especially court cases, laws or names of public people - as if they're taken for granted, letting the characters explain later on the references she made. I have to admit this strategy she used was a bit unnerving. (And by the way, is the Cruise in the Cruise -Gore previous presidential campaign who I think it is?)
Also, but probably this was mainly my fault, I thought this book was YA. Automatically, I inferred my main characters to be teenagers. Wrong. They're closer to 25 years old. As I realized this, I was already well into the story and I had a hard time readjusting all my "visual picturing" of the action. I think the author should have probably made it clearer from the beginning. Probably, I got tricked by the fact that Georgia and Shaun were still living with their parents, a normal fact for the place where I come from, but maybe not in the US - though post-apocalyptic. Also, Shaun totally acts like a teenager (a 24 year old man acting like a kid? Never heard of one before. Never. I swear).
Georgia. Georgia is our main character for about 90% of the book, as the story is told from her POV. And I spent 90% of the book deciding whether I liked her or not. Most of the time she is so badass she turns into an arrogant bitch. She resents her adoptive parents for exploiting them (hate to break it you, Georgia, but there's much, much worse), she is cold but whines in her head.
Other times though, she would surprise me with her unconditional loyalty to Shaun (and was it only me who thought their relationship bordered on morbid?) and her moral integrity or she would win me over by citing Shakespeare out of the blue - "something is rotten in the state of Denmark" is one of my favorites quotes ever.
Reflective of her personality, the tone of the narration is pretty aseptic for a good part of the book. Her character is based on truth, and truth we get, but not much emotion.
But don't think that this book will easily make forget itself. As the intrigue unravels, the plot will suddenly turn and punch you in the face unmercifully. The narration will become so intense, you will feel miserable and unable to put down the book. Believe me, I shed some tears and I rarely do.
So. I strongly recommend reading this book because I liked it very much and I think that so will you. It's not for everybody. It's not romance. There is not really a HEA. But even if you're not a zombie lover, this book is one of the good ones.
The sequel Deadline is already out.
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