This was not what I expected when I went looking for a zombie story to read.
Sci-fi; Political Thriller
Newsflesh, book 1
The year was 2014. We had cured cancer. We had beat 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, Georgia and Shaun Mason are on the trail of the biggest story of their lives-the dark conspiracy behind the infected. The truth will out, even if it kills them.
FEED is the electrifying and critically acclaimed novel of a world a half-step from our own—a novel of geeks, zombies, politics and social media. (Goodreads)
“We report the news, we make the news, and we give you a way to escape when the news becomes too much to handle.”
This was probably not the best thing to read in the midst of the Covid-19 epidemic, but I was in a zombie mood in the summer. I watched a bunch of zombie movies and TV shows and decided to jump into a zombie book too to keep the vibe going. So I picked up Feed, which Seanan McGuire published under the pseudonym Mira Grant.
Since the novel was published in 2010, the setting of it is its future, in 2014. Zombies have swarmed the world due to the Kellis-Amberlee virus, which came about after scientists cured cancer and the common cold. Those cures got mixed resulting in a zombie virus called Kellis-Amberlee.
When the story begins, some years have passed since the Kellis-Amberlee virus developed. Now everyone and all animals are infected, but the virus can remain dormant in the body for decades. However, it can randomly become active causing the person or animal to become a zombie.
Of course, with zombies at large, much about life has changed. One of the big things the story focuses on is where people turn to for reliable news. In the story, blogs have become as important as other mainstream media entities and are often more reliable. The main characters, Shaun and Georgia Mason, are journalists who manage a very popular blog that grows in popularity when they are invited to accompany Sen. Peter Ryman on his campaign trail to become the next president of the United States.
The story has a slow build and mostly focuses on politics and journalism, or rather blogging, and how the two have changed since the zombies came about. Because of the focus on these rather than the zombies, I was a little turned off the story at first. But as the political intrigues built, my interest grew. Plus, I liked Georgia as a narrator. She focuses on the facts and can be a little cynical at times.
What we do learn about the zombies and the virus that causes the condition was interesting. I prefer zombie stories that give us a cause that seems realistic. And, based on this interview of Seanan McGuire on Wired back in 2012, it seems that she really did her research to develop a plausible-seeming zombie virus.
However, as interesting as several elements of the story were, it didn’t really grab my attention until toward the end. There’s more action, many of my questions were answered, and the scene between the siblings, Shaun and Georgia, was heart wrenching considering how close and reliant they are on each other. Throughout the story, I wasn’t sure if I’d continue with the series because I wanted more zombies than I got, but the last bits kind of made me want to check out the other books.
Overall: ★★★☆☆ ½
A zombie story that’s more political thriller than horror but a good read.
Buy | Borrow | Bypass
Quotes from the book:
“Sometimes, the hardest habit to break is the habit of doing nothing beyond the necessary.”
“The difference between the truth and a lie is that both of them can hurt, but only one will take the time to heal you afterward.”