Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Deadline book 2 of the Newsflesh Trilogy

By Mira Grant
Published by Orbit

*Warning, this review contains spoilers for FEED, the preceding book in Mira Grant's Newsflesh trilogy read the review here, then read that book first.*

It sucks to be the second part of a trilogy. The first part is young and impetuous, the vibrant child introducing us to new worlds and people while establishing the broad conflict. The last one is older, more mature, bringing it all together and providing us with a sense of closure. All the middle kids does is get everyone into as much trouble as possible.

Boy, howdy does DEADLINE do that.

Picking up scant months after the events of FEED, we're plopped into the head of Shaun Mason as he barely holds the crew of After the End Times together. The ghost of his dead sister is in his head, an officially deceased CDC researcher is in his apartment and his city is overrun with the hungry amplified. This new addition to the group has information that someone is willing to firebomb the entirety of Oakland to keep secret. It would appear that the conspiracy behind his sister's death is alive and Shaun will stop at nothing to get at the heart of the matter.

Everything that made FEED my favorite novel of last year, as well as my second favorite zombie novel of all time, is still here: political intrigue, in-depth and honest characters that work their way into your heart and life, spot on social commentary on the way we live under the threat of a terror state and some damn fine “hold onto your britches while you fill them with poo” action. Of course, Mira continues to ratchet up the tension with the increasingly tightening noose around the necks of our intrepid newsies. Her previously proven Whedonesque willingness to kill off any character, no matter how important they may seem, certainly kept me on my toes in that regard.

I specifically enjoyed the change in POV from FEED's supremely self-assured and driven Georgia to the increasingly apathetic and uncertain Shaun. His feelings of inadequacy and mental breakdown (he doesn't just talk to his dead sis, she argues back) provide the heavy emotional impact this go round. The world around and within him is collapsing into chaos and you'll feel every moment.

Sure, it will leave you hanging in the air once the last page is turned, but that is what middle children do. Also, there's a revelation near the end that I want to call cheap but it does fit with the information we are provided earlier and I'm curious to see how it will play out in BLACKOUT. Overall, it's a hell of a worthy followup to FEED that had me tearing through the pages and left me salivating more. What else can you ask for?

Buy it here.

Reviewed by Anton Cancre

Anton Cancre is one of those rotting, pus-filled thingies on the underside of humanity that your mother always warned you about. He has oozed symbolic word-farms onto the pages of Shroud, Sex and Murder and Horrorbound magazines as well as The Terror at Miskatonic Falls, an upcoming poetry anthology by Shroud Publishing and continues to vomit his oh-so-astute literary opinions, random thoughts and nonsense at No, he won't babysit you pet shoggoth this weekend. Stop asking.

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