Feed by Mira Grant
Series: Newsflesh Trilogy #1
Published by Orbit on May 1 2010
Genres: New Adult, Horror, Dystopian
Pages: 571 (906 minutes)
Rating: 4/5 stars
The year was 2014. We had cured cancer. We had beaten 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, bloggers Georgia and Shaun Mason are on the trail of the biggest story of their lives - the dark conspiracy behind the infected. The truth will get out, even if it kills them.
I tried to read Feed on four different occasions before finally sticking to it and seeing it to the end – apparently what I needed was a really great audiobook, narrated brilliantly by Paula Christenson and Jesse Bernstein, to truly get into it. That isn’t to say that I didn’t like it upon my other attempts. I did, I just got distracted somewhere along the way each time. This go around I listened to the fifteen hour audiobook in about two and a half days. I got into it this time, in a big way. There was nothing for me not to like – zombies, politics, and blogging all in one book? Count me in!
Despite some flaws, I really loved listening to Feed. It caught my attention and didn’t let go of it, and I quickly grew to love the characters for all of their strengths and their faults. They are what fictional characters should be – fully rounded people with all of the intricacies that are involved in being a human being.
I actually liked the weird, super-dependent relationship between Georgia and Shaun. It’s not something you see very often – it’s clear that their environment growing up led them to be distrustful of anyone who isn’t each other. I’d be pretty jaded if I had their parents, too.
Even the secondary characters were depicted as real people – I became quite attached to the likes of Steve, Rick, Buffy, and even Senator Ryman (I consider Shaun as much a main character as Georgia). The only character that I thought could have used work was Governor Tate. (SPOILER AHEAD) It was clear from the very beginning that he was the primary villain, and I would have liked a more interesting motivation that religious fanaticism. I get that it’s completely possible and even perhaps likely, but it’s nothing new – it’s a stale bit as far as zombie fiction goes.
This is the way that I like my zombies – enmeshed in the atmosphere and part of the background. They pose an element of risk and influence the events of the story, but they themselves are not the focus. It’s not about the zombies – it’s about the people. I’ve had a lot of exposure to zombie stories – I took an entire class revolving around them – and this is one of my favourites. It isn’t as misogynistic as some of its contemporaries (I’m looking at you, The Walking Dead), though it certainly isn’t without its own issues in that area – most notably the treatment of Senator Ryman’s female opponent, whose recent acquisition of a new, enlarged pair of breasts is mentioned and derided repeatedly by Georgia. It is obvious that no one takes her seriously as competition to Senator Ryman. There is also a statement that Tate makes about Georgia, though it’s different when it’s explicitly a character being malicious, not woven into the narrative.
The end of the book, as many other reviewers have stated, is absolutely heartbreaking. I’m not ashamed to admit that I cried on multiple occasions.