|Nomadic SA Chick||
Page Count: 599
Fiction Genre: Sci-Fi, Fantasy, Dystopian, Horror, Thriller
Dates Read: November 14-16, 2015
Reading Challenge: Alphabet Reading Challenge
Topic: #171: A title that starts with the letter "F"
Series: Newsflesh #1
It's the year 2040, and a virus has taken over humanity. For the most part, people have adapted to their new environment and learned to deal with the zombies that are roaming around. The news outlets can no longer be trusted because they are controlled by the government. Bloggers are the face of the future for news. They operate without hindrance from the government and can post the truth as they see it. Now that the latest presidential elections are coming up, a candidate is looking at a group of bloggers to follow his campaign around so they can post the honest truth directly from the campaign trail; enter George (Georgia), Shaun, and Buffy (Georgette), our bloggers.
I want to like this. I really, really do. I feel like I need to go back and read it again so that I will like it. I'm afraid that even rereading this won't fix the numerous issues I had with Feed. first, let me start with the good. Grant created a very vivid image of America in post-apocalyptic America. I appreciated the difference approach she took, that humans can still have fairly normal lives with zombies hanging around. She makes this very realistic and seem totally possible. The way she describes this world, it reminds me a lot of the ending to Shaun of The Dead.
I liked that the three main characters names are all connected to a zombie world. George (Georgia) is in reference to George Romero, Shaun refers to Shaun of the Dead, and Buffy (Georgette) comes from Buffy the Vampire Slayer. I thought there was a cute dose of nerd humor that Grant slid in here. Most of all, I loved the way Grant ended this by challenging the status quo of characters. She's very ballsy in this area and I give her a standing ovation for that.
Though Grant's world building is very well done, terrifyingly plausible, and super descriptive, it was also very repetitive. At least once a chapter, though usually at least 4 times in 20 pages, she would remind us about the extreme security measures everyone must go through to keep the virus contained, that George has a special eye condition that she always tests positive for on a retinal scan, and needs goofy looking glasses when she's in bright light (her eyes don't dilate). She is never neglectful to constantly remind us that George and Shaun must always go through additional screenings because of where their house is; it's for insurance purposes. Yeah, home insurance is still a thing in this world. As much as I was annoyed by the constant repeating stories of the world, nothing annoyed me as much as the terrible editing; misspelled and missing words should not have been a thing. While this is initially an issue for Grant, in the end it falls in the hands of her editors who should have caught these errors.
Where Grant excelled at building this world, she also failed at developing her characters. George is meant to be this bad-ass, no fucks given, tomboy who wears sun glasses all the time. But the George Grant shows us is an agoraphobe who believes in honest media and news sharing, and who hates her mother. It is a very thin attempt at character building, because Grant tells us these things, but really does not leave us with anything to believe these are true. George is really just a moody twenty-something that acts more like a teenager. Meanwhile, Buffy is supposed to be the funniest person in this book, but she says a total of 0 things funny or even near funny. She is supposed to be this light-hearted princess who is all about having a good time, but what we actually see is a status obsessed, anal retentive technology junkie. Then there is Shaun. I'm not 100% sure what Grant wanted us to see in him, and I'm even less sure of how to describe him. I struggled with the ages of George and Shaun. Buffy I was always able to keep in mid that she was somewhere near her mid-twenties, but George felt like a 15-16 year old to me, while Shaun felt like a 13 year old. George and Shaun are supposed to be the same age. It's a befuddled mess of character growth.
The greatest offense with this book is how Grant build a complete post-apocalyptic, zombie dystopia, but had so very little zombies involved with the story. How do you have a zombie story with practically zero zombies? Who does that? George Romero would be so disappointed in this. When the real zombie action happened, it felt like it was more of an afterthought of Grant's. Like she was sitting at her writing desk, realized that she was nearing the end and thought "oh yeah, this is supposed to have zombies in it. Let's put some here". Also, we must not forget about how completely obvious the plot twist/villain was. Seriously? Was she trying to surprise us, because that was a crummy surprise. Please tell me there is a gift receipt for this one.
On the plus side of all this negativity, at least it was a very quick read. While I applaud Grant's ending, it would have been a more emotional affair if I felt event the slightest bit of love for any of these characters. I was so frustrated with this book that I struggled to finish the book. There is no way I will continue this series.
Pass on this one. You'll save yourself a lot of time and frustration by reading spoiler alerts and the wiki page. Have you read this book? Leave a comment below with your thoughts about it.
Ratings (based on a 10 point scale)
Quality of Writing - 4
Pace - 5
Plot Development - 3
Characters - 1
Enjoyability - 3
Insightfulness - 5
Ease of Reading - 6
Photos/Illustrations - N/A
Overall Rating - 2 out of 5 stars