At this point, even the most rabid zombie fiction fan has to be thinking, “Okay….seriously…I’m getting kind of tired of all the zombie stuff…” We are included in that group. Yes, even Steve. So when we picked up FEED, by Mira Grant, we began reading with trepidation and skepticism. After all, no matter how much you eat a food you love (this is not in reference to the dietary habits of zombies), if it is a course often served, you will get tired of it. This is how we approached FEED. Not very lucky for poor Mira, who could have, easily, been subject to one of our hate reviews.
Lucky for her, and for you, and for us, FEED isn’t just a flavor of the month (Or rather, flavor of the year. Seriously. It’s time to move on to something else. Give zombies a break. Well…first give Vampires a break, shortly followed by a brief respite for the zombies. Brief, because they ARE undead after all. Is this the longest parenthetical you’ve ever read? Shall we try for a record? No. You’re already going to have to go back to remember what this sentence started as.), it is a pretty unique take on zombie lore.
OK, confession. Unique is a somewhat of a misnomer, because the zombies do adhere to just about every Romero trope. In fact Grant references Romero so much, even two of the main characters are named after George Romero, that we wonder just how many times Grant was watching the Romero’s movies while writing this book.
The plot centers around three young blogging news-people, Georgia, Shaun, and Buffy (please note the name-relations to other slayers of the dead). They are, respectively, the hard-line journalist, devil-may-care sensationalist (think Bear Grylls, only with zombies), and the technophile/attention seeker. These bloggers get chosen to be a part of the campaign entourage for a Presidential candidate, Senator Ryman. Things basically devolve into the zombie nom-nom-nom-fest that is necessary. However, while Kellis-Amberlee (the reanimatory virus) and zombies are the basis of the story, they aren’t the focus. Which was refreshing. The focus of the book is the campaign for election and the uncovering of a conspiracy.
Not only was the delivery and focus of a zombie story fresh, but the setting was pretty rad. Everyone in the world is infected with KA, but in a ‘dormant’ state. When certain circumstances are met the virus goes live and zombifies its host. This gives us an interesting way of life where constant blood testing is necessary. Quarantines, hazard levels, safe zones, and danger zones are all commonplace. In fact the blood testing is so common (and a point is made about how they are painful on purpose, because loss of pain sensation is a sign of virus amplification) that we wondered why the main characters fingers and hands weren’t hamburger from all the abuse they take.
The characters are all very likable, except for Georgia, who is the 1st person PoV character for the book. Georgia is aloof, and not personable at all. Being inside her head only makes this more noticeable. It distances the reader from her, which is a bummer. There were times when we wondered what it may have been like to have the 1st Person narrative from one of the other characters.
While just about everything is fresh, well-written, and fun, the story falls apart the minute Grant actually gives us a glimpse of what the main character’s blogs look like. We can understand Buffy’s being bad, it’s supposed to be kind of trashy. We can even understand Shaun’s entries being somewhat sensationalist. But Georgia, who in her first blog entry we see talks about keeping opinion out of it, is just not believable as the “only the facts ma’am” kind of reporter she touts herself to be. The premise that these three are chosen out of so many to follow a presidential candidate and give the news about it is beyond ridiculous. We had an easier time believing that, should we put the book down, open the drapes to our front yards, and have a look around, there would be real, live (Or is that real dead? Real undead?) zombies out there, than believing these three kids have garnered the kind of attention depicted. Grant makes an issue of how these three bloggers have achieved readership that succeeds porn and pirating sites. With the bland blog entries we are shown, we can’t believe that.
Besides. It’s common knowledge that when (note: not if) bloggers are chosen after a zombie apocalypse (it WILL happen), the first bloggers chosen will be us.
“Oh quite being such sticklers about belief. You’re reading a zombie book.” You say? Well it is common knowledge that zombies do exist. What are you talking about, ‘belief’? Steve is going to send zombie ninjas after you, if you don’t wise up. Anyway…onward…We talk about believing these characters, because we have already suspended belief so much to accept this post-zombie-apocalyptic setting. Though, to Mira Grant’s credit, it didn’t take THAT much suspension to believe it, her setting was that well crafted.
FEED was a fun, and unique, ride through the flavor of the year. If we could choose a zombie book to recommend as a final foray into the zombie tropes, it would be FEED. We enjoyed it immensely, despite the failed blog entries. We see why Grant wrote and included them, we just didn’t like them. It was such a small gripe when compared to just how fun the rest of the book was though, that FEED is firmly entrenched in the Books We Like category.
Recommended Age: 18 and up. Its pretty gruesome at times, and there is adult content. But mainly, the political aspect may bore younger readers.
Language: Yep. All cuss words. It isn’t ridiculously prevalent though.
Violence: No more dumb questions… It’s a zombie book.
Sex: A few jokes here and there. Nothing actually ever happens though.
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