This review will contain spoilers for Feed, the first in the Newsflesh trilogy. Please go to my review and read the book before you read this review!
After the heart-breaking conclusion to Feed, where he lost his sister and best friend Georgia to Kellis-Amberlee, Shaun is lost. He knows he should follow through on some of the things his sister was so passionate about, including the site they ran together, but his heart’s not in his position as an Irwin any longer. But Georgia hasn’t quite left him; her voice in his head drives him forward to solve some of the ever-eerier mysteries that she only began unearthing during the Ryman campaign.
I knew this book was going to have a hard time living up to Feed, the first book in this series, which I simply found amazing. I worried when I started this; would it have the same relatively slow build-up before I got engaged in it again? How would I adjust to the shift to Shaun’s narrative voice? Would he be distinguishable from Georgia at all? And so on. My worries were, for the most part, unfounded, and I was completely wrapped up in this book while reading it, speeding through its many pages in a single weekend.
What about those worries? First of all, there wasn’t a slow build-up. I still felt as emotionally attached to the new characters as I had to the old. I didn’t love them the way I really loved Georgia, not even Shaun, but I did find myself getting fond of him by the end of the book. There are some fairly tense events close to the start of the book that get the action going, and one moment that I suspect was intended to be as jaw-dropping as the first death in the first book was. (It wasn’t, but it was still pretty good). I could easily distinguish Shaun from Georgia, and his persistent melancholy didn’t bother me very much at all.
I did, however, have a few reservations with this book that I didn’t have while reading the first one. I didn’t like that Shaun spent the book talking to Georgia and hearing her in his head. Maybe he couldn’t cope without her; but it felt cheap, like she’d cheated death, unlike the absolute complete absence that took place when Buffy died. They still haven’t caught up without her, after all. Georgia may not have been conventionally alive, but the fact that her character still lives on bugged me, in a way.
I also noticed some repetitive writing here which I hadn’t in the first one; in Deadline’s defense, my “repetition” sensors were on full blast after Fifty Shades of Grey, and I’m not sure I’d have noticed otherwise. One character is constantly paling and the rest of them often start swearing on a very frequent basis. And they continue swearing for what should be minutes; I can understand uttering an expletive, but surely stringing many swear words together is not entirely a necessity when in a life-or-death situation. I suppose I don’t know; I’ve never been in one. But it happened very, very often.
Anyway, all that aside, I did actually genuinely enjoy Deadline, and I was happy that I’d already preordered Blackout so I could continue with the story right away. I’ll definitely recommend these as absorbing reads that are still very thoughtful in their own way, and I’m looking forward to wrapping up the trilogy in the very near future.