Saturday, August 7, 2010

Girl on Book Action: Feed by Mira Grant

Feed by Mira Grant
ISBN: 978-0-316-08105-4


“Alive or dead, the truth won’t rest. My name is Georgia Mason, and I’m begging you. Rise up while you can.”

The year was 2014. We had cured cancer. We had beaten the common cold. But in doing so we had 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.


My Thoughts:

Have I mentioned that I rather love zombies? Well, I do. I’ve read Max Brooks’ Zombie Survival Guide multiple times (actually, I’m due a re-read for the sake of being prepared) and I adored his World War Z. I’ve been on the look-out for more zombie fiction, while being aware that there might be certain limits to this genre. I mean, how many times can you tell the same story of survival in the face of the hordes of the walking dead before you run out of different ways to tell it? Well, Feed delivers a good story – but it’s not the story of the immediate aftermath of the dead rising. Instead, it shows how North American society has survived and adapted to a world affected by a massive zombie uprising. In that respect, it’s similar to World War Z. Anyway, I’m not here to write a comparison.

From the very beginning, I was pulled into the story by the strength of the first person narrator’s personality. The character was appealing and felt more like a real person than a fictional creation. Since blogging is a key part of the book, the feeling that I was reading Georgia Mason’s blog rather than a novel may have been intentional on the author’s part (to clarify: the novel wasn't written as a blog, it just had that personal feeling). If it was, it worked for me. I liked Georgia and her voice, her no-nonsense attitude and her commitment to the truth regardless of the cost. She is someone I came to admire. That’s quite the feat. I want to be friends with Georgia Mason and she doesn’t even exist. That’s either good writing, or an indication that I need to get out more. The supporting characters are also three-dimensional and you care about their well-being, too. All of them are very human and therefore full of surprises.

Another aspect that helped with the overall feel and appeal of the book was the use of blogging, not only as a narrative device, but also as a way in which society changed due to the zombie infestation. Most zombie stories, whether in books, movies or comics deal with the complete destruction of our current way of life. Our technologies abandoned in a desperate fight for survival in conditions bordering on the medieval, but that didn’t happen in Feed. Instead, tech is alive and well and bloggers are the new source for reliable news and glimpses of the world beyond the relative safety of the outposts of humanity. As much as I love me a good zombie apocalypse, seeing a scenario that wasn’t about complete destruction was refreshing. It also made me wish I were a better blogger with more interesting things to tell you about than awesome books (I bet you’d prefer frontline zombie reporting).

I also enjoyed some of the pop-culture references – for instance, Grant includes a rather nice reference to Joss Whedon’s Buffy: The Vampire Slayer, and she mentions San Diego Comic-Con. Oh, and George Romero saved the world! All of these little things make the story more believable, more compelling. I could see the possibility of this world in our future.

I have no complaints story-wise, but I do have a couple of things to nitpick (you knew I’d get to this eventually). The format of the book bothered me – it’s tall, like a trade paperback, but the width was that of a mass-market paperback, which made the book feel weird in my hands as I was reading it. I got used to it after a while, but the first 100 pages felt odd. I did like the cover. My only other complaint is one you should be used to seeing from me by now: there were typos! Not that many actually, but I did notice. It probably makes me petty that they bother me so much, but they really do.

Alright, let me wrap this up. I think one of the key things I take away from this novel is that I really, really need to learn the lesson that if I’m reading a zombie novel I should not get emotionally attached to the characters, no matter how compelling they are, because it’ll only lead to being sad when they get chomped. Secondly, the world doesn’t have to end, humanity might prevail. We’ve all seen enough zombie movies to get the basic idea of how to kill one of them. I better make sure to re-read the Zombie Survival Guide to brush up on preparedness measures. Off I go!

PS: If you like the icons you can get them at the Feed website under "Extras": Click for the Feed

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