Thursday, November 24, 2011

Book Review #2: Feed (Newflesh Trilogy #1) by Mira Grant

This is the truth: We are a nation accustomed to being afraid. If I'm being honest, not just with you but with myself, it's not just the nation, and it's not just something we've grown used to. It's the world, and it's an addiction. People crave fear. Fear justifies everything. --George Mason

Feed is technically a zombie novel. The opening page has a main character literally poking a zombie with a hockey stick; however, if you walk away from this book AFTER reading it and still think it's just a zombie story, then you weren't paying attention. The book lives in the YA section of the bookstore, but any fan of stories that include zombies, or stories that hate on ignorance and modern journalism, will love this book.

The setting: America, fourteen years after two innocent viruses combined and created Kellis-Amberlee, a disease that results in flesh-hungry, mindless beings. George and Shaun Mason, adopted siblings, are part of a top journalist blogging team in a world full of people afraid to leave their homes.  Journalism has gone online because print and TV media lied to the people at the time of the KA breakout, resulting in over a third of the world's population becoming zombies. When the team earns the coveted role of being the only blogging team to follow Democratic candidate Peter Ryman during his campaign, they're elated. As expected, the campaign is not not a boring collection of speeches, but rather a dangerous attempt to unravel the mystery of who would want Senator Ryman, and their team, dead.

“My mother once told me that no women is naked when she comes equipped with a bad mood and a steady glare.”

Let me start by saying this - I don't read zombie books. I fought a whole passel of my friends when they handed me Grant's book. I did not need, nor want to read a cheesy horror book about the flesh-eating undead. But, I fell into this book. I love the characters - George is a strong, intelligent, snarky woman and Shaun is brave, quick on his feet, and 100% ALIVE. All of the side characters are real, 3-dimensional people, and no one is all good or all evil. Feed shines a light on a lot of important issues: the fallibility of the news/media, the growing trend of relying on online sources, and the direction we are headed as a country, insofar as social structure and interaction.

I struggled to find things that I disliked about this book, aside from not being able to find the sequel the exact moment I finished reading. The ending threw me for a loop and made me angry, but it fit the storyline.

Once upon a time, science fiction was the setting for social commentary, as it was safe to discuss politics or gender discrimination, so long as it's far away or happening to another species. It seems like post-apocalyptic and good zombie books have taken up the social commentary torch, and are bringing the issues closer to home.

If you like reading about poking zombies with a stick or thoughtful commentary on society, politics, and the various types of news media, you will love Feed.

If you like Feed, consider trying Alden Bell's The Reapers Are the Angels. 


  1. caught my attention at the first mention of "zombies." I recently read "World War Z" having low expectations, but was surprised to see how well the author created a world post-large-zombie-infestation. I was impressed by how the problems people faced seemed very real and plausible (were such an unlikely thing to happen). I hope that this book can do the same. A lot of times Young Adult books are very tamed in their language and content, or don't know how to balance it. So I'm curious to see how it plays out in this book.

  2. Both Feed and Reapers should sit well with fans of World War Z, though you might find the socio-political message in Feed to be a bit heavy handed. Let me know what you think!