Feed (Newsflesh, Book 1)
Zombie novels have show up on bookshelves more and more lately. They’ve even invaded the classics, as Pride and Prejudice and Zombies can attest.
But how often are these tales any more than spatter-fests?
Mira Grant–a pseudonym of Seanan McGuire–has transcended the normal tropes to write Feed, a socio-political story about a world after a zombie apocalypse.
The cures for cancer and the common cold have combined to create a virus that literally uses any mammal over 40 pounds as a mule: Once dead, the body will rise again, seeking to infect others and sustain itself by feeding on living flesh. There is no cure, and no hope of escaping the inevitable rising, short of a bullet to the skull.
Siblings Georgia and Shaun are news bloggers, sharing their views on a United States infected with the living dead.
After winning a coveted slot to follow a senator on the campaign trail for the presidency, they begin to realize that the world may be even more complicated than they knew.
And there’s more to the presence of the infected than anybody could imagine, even in their worst nightmares. Georgia and Shaun may be putting their lives on the line for a chance at the truth.
Grant has done a stellar job of creating an America populated with zombies. She has thought through the events leading to this calamity, the social aspects of a country forced to face such a crisis, and the political ramifications of a presidential campaign in such a world.
In fact, the majority of the novel focuses on the culture itself, and not the zombies, and this works wonderfully.
And yes, there’s plenty of zombie killing to satisfy bloodthirsty readers.
Once one-third of the way through the book, I knew it was a strong candidate to become the best novel I’ve read so far this year.
The prose reads like the best action flick; the events are gripping and realistic; and the characters face dangers that will make readers cringe.
I’m not ashamed to say that I cried twice while reading.
So, if you pick up only one book this summer, be sure to choose Feed. It’s edgy, challenging and emotionally affecting.
This review originally appeared in the Davis Enterprise on June 17, 2010.