Saturday, January 5, 2013

Review of Feed (Newsflesh #1) by Mira Grant

Feed (Newsflesh, #1)

Title: Feed
Author: Mira Grant
Pages: 571
Publication Date: May 1st, 2010
Publisher: Orbit
Source: Purchased myself

Back Cover

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

First Lines

"Everyone has someone on the Wall."

In a Sentence

I haven't read a book this good in awhile.

My Thoughts

I have to admit...I'm on a bit of a zombie novel kick at the moment. Feed is actually my fourth zombie book in a row, though I decided to put my review of it second in line (ahead of Patient Zero by Jonathan Maberry and Plague Town by Dana Fredsti, which I will be reviewing in the near future). I'd heard a TON of great things about the book before finally deciding to cave and buy the NookBook a few months ago (special thanks to Maja and Felicia, who heavily tipped the scale in Feed's favor). I actually lucked out and snagged the book awhile ago when it was on sale, so I only paid $2 or $3 for it. You guys, I got a great deal with that bargain, but this is a book that is definitely worth its full list price. In fact, even though I had book one in e-book format, I immediately ordered the whole trilogy in paperback because this is just one of those series that I want a hard copy of (especially because the e-book isn't lendable and I WILL be passing these around). It's THAT good.

In Feed, the narrator is Georgia Mason, a tough, intelligent, kick-ass-and-take-names kind of gal with a thirst for the truth and a heart full of fierce affection and protectiveness for her danger-loving brother, Shaun. Georgia (or "George," as she's called by her friends) has a narrative voice that is almost compulsively readable. I had no trouble latching onto her story and hanging on for the ride. Speaking of which, Feed definitely doesn't have a slow start. Within the first few pages of the book, the characters are thrown into a heart-pounding, nail-biting situation. Personally, I felt that this beginning was a well-executed writing move in a strategic sense, as it allows for the reader to be catapulted into the story right off the bat, but then it takes the audience a step back to appreciate the finer details that are necessary for successful world-building. 

I was also incredibly impressed with the characters in Feed--both primary and secondary. The relationship between George and her brother Shaun seemed so realistic that I felt as if they could both jump right off the page. The supporting cast members were equally well-crafted...with Senator Ryman's wife Emily and the security guard Steve being two of my favorites (among others). I actually have to go into a little more detail on Emily, because even though her role in the story is a minor one, she represents a lot of the reasons why I enjoyed Feed as much as I did.   I'm afraid I can't say a whole lot about her without spoiling the book for someone, but she was such a strong, fierce, and brave character that I thought she deserved more than just a brief mention. In all honesty, I'm interested enough in Emily's character that I would LOVE to see a story (or dare I say series?) written from her point of view, especially if it showcased her life as she was growing up in the new, scary, zombie-infested world. 

I could also tell that Mira Grant (or Seanan McGuire, if you prefer) had put a ton of work into the research for Feed. Using zombies in any work of fiction takes enough work, but to use them in the way she did, while providing detailed but clear explanations of how the infection came about and how it was passed on...that had to have taken a lot of time and effort. So kudos to Grant for that! 

Because I've always been a sucker for good quotes, I had to include a few of of my favorite ones from Feed in this review. Don't worry...the ones I've picked are spoiler-free! 

"Our story opens where countless stories have ended in the last twenty-six years: with an idiot--in this case, my brother, Shaun--deciding it would be a good idea to go out and poke a zombie with a stick and see what happens." **

"Every life has a watershed moment, an instant when you realize you're about to make a choice that will define everything else you ever do, and that if you choose wrong, there may not be that many things left to choose. Sometimes the wrong choice is the only one that lets you face the end with dignity, grace, and the awareness that you're doing the right thing. I'm not sure we can recognize those moments until they've passed us." **

"No one gets to ask us for anything more. Not now, not ever. When history looks our way--stupid, blind history, that judges everything and never gives a shit what we paid to get it--it better remember that no one had a right to ask us for this. No one."**  

Don't make the mistake of assuming that Feed is just another zombie book, because you'd be missing out. This book is about love and hate, fear and courage, and most of all, it's about humanity--about making our stories heard, no matter how insignificant they might seem at first. It's about shining the light on the skeletons in our closets and learning to deal with imperfection; and finally, it's about realizing that sometimes, in the most horrible of horrible moments, you have to stand by and watch a tragedy unfold before your eyes without being able to do a thing about it. But as Shaun Mason says, "It is what it is. Isn't that how these things always go? They are what they are. We just get to cope."** And as humans, in a world where terrible things happen to wonderful people everyday, learning how to cope is something we all have to deal with.

Anyways, not to end on a grim note there, but if you haven't gotten the hint by now, you should really consider reading this book. I don't give out five-star ratings on a regular basis, because I tend to be pretty darn critical when it comes to rating books (I blame my pending Masters in Literature. I can't seem to turn the inner lit critic off!) In fact, I'm not entirely sure when I gave my last five star review. The last one I remember went to Brightly Woven by Alexandra Bracken in the summer of 2010, and that was two and a half years ago!!!  See what I mean? The majority of the books that I read wind up in the three to four-star range, and after I spend enough time away from them, they frequently seem a little less great in my memory. But the fact that I not only considered giving Feed a five, but actually stuck with it? BIG DEAL. So read the book and tell me what you think! :)

**I was absentminded enough to write down quotes from the e-book on a pad of paper without recording the page numbers, but all quotes included in this review were pulled from the e-book of Feed. 


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Absolutely loved it!

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