It’s been twenty-five years since the Kellis-Amberlee virus hit the world population. When the virus that finally cured cancer, in a young girl called Amberlee, and the virus that cured the common cold, created by Dr Kellis, combined, disastrous consequences ensued. The virus wound up living inside ordinary people and reanimating them once they died; these zombies are a constant threat, hungry for flesh that they, too, can infect, a neverending supply of horror. The world has changed drastically in the face of the virus, and Georgia and Shaun Mason, brother and sister, are part of the new wave of media – bloggers who report from the edge . Together with the third member of their team, tech whiz and writer Buffy, and a crew supporting them, they’ve just won the biggest contract of their career; the position of press team on Senator Ryman’s quest to become President of the United States.
I let Feed languish on my shelves for a number of months before I finally persuaded myself to pick it up. Although I adored Warm Bodies a year and a half ago, zombies have never really been my favorite member of the horror brigade. What did draw me to this book were the spectacular reviews and the simple fact that Mira Grant is a pen name for Seanan MacGuire, the author of one of my top two favorite urban fantasy series. In search of something I could love as much as I love October Daye, I finally picked this book up. And I was rewarded far more than I’d expected to be, because this is a truly fantastic book, and not really about zombies at all.
There is some background to be learned in the first part of the book; we need to know about this world, and this particular author happens to be an incredible world builder. It takes a little longer to get started than other books, with all the time spent learning about Kellis-Amberlee, about the characters and their lives, and about the new way that people get their news in this post-apocalyptic world. By about halfway, however, the book is constantly exciting and suspenseful, building up a mystery that had me turning the pages faster and faster, both dreading and anticipating what would come next.
As with many books I adore, the main character, Georgia Mason, generally known as “George” to the people who love her, is a fantastic, gutsy, brave, smart woman. She’s not afraid to love, with her brother the primary example, but she’s ferociously loyal to her ideals and sticks by her mantra of always delivering the news. She’ll do what’s right for journalism and for the world. She loves her brother Shaun above all others, including the rest of her family, and together, they make an incredible team that has resulted in the success of their news site. She is the narrator of this book, but each chapter has snippets of blog posts and news stories from each character, so we do hear all of their voices.
This is an excellent way to tell the story, because in truth all three of the main crew, Georgia, Shaun, and Buffy, alongside some side characters, are very well fleshed out. I cared what happened to all of them, especially as things started to heat up, and parts of the book very nearly had me in tears.
This isn’t just about zombies, truly; and in fact, there really aren’t that many zombies in it, which makes their appearances all the more suspenseful. No – it’s about the barriers set up against the truth, about how ordinary people can be more threatening than our worst nightmares, and very much about what journalism should be at its best. It’s also very political; Georgia is right inside a presidential campaign, and imagining how politicians might cope when the very fabric of their world and morals is constantly fraying makes for further amazing characterization.
Is this a book you should read? Yes – I was completely swept along for the ride and left with my jaw on the floor at the end of it, longing to find out what this author could possibly do next. The book doesn’t end in a cliffhanger, but it was so good that I was eager for more. Very highly recommended.