Impressions on Feed and Deadline

The problem with summarizing several books at a time, I’ve found over the last few book posts, is that it’s really hard for me to get across what resonated with me on each of them without either neglecting a few or going into a wall of text. And then there was this week’s batch, in which I can’t talk about the one I read without talking about the one that came before it. So without further ado—Feed and Deadline by Mira Grant.

There were two things that struck me specifically about the milieu. One, of course, was the zombies, in two simultaneous ways. As I explained to one of my friends, Feed wasn’t a book about surviving a zombie onslaught, it was a political conspiracy novel that happened to include zombies as a vital setting element—one that had, among other things, resulted in conglomerations of bloggers taking over the role of television networks in delivering both news and entertainment, since they’d gained credibility by responding to the original zombie outbreak more quickly than the traditional media had. In addition, there was the plague—as a biology major, I think I can safely say that while the science behind Kellis-Amberly wasn’t perfect, it was quite well thought out. It seemed a lot less self-destructive than most of the zombie plagues I’d heard about, and I liked details like reservoir conditions (one of which contributes to the characterization of the viewpoint character) and the minimum weight for likely zombification of an infected mammal (forty pounds, meaning that zombie moose are—and are addressed as—a threat and raising horses is tantamount to taking your own life in your hands).

The other element that got my attention was how the bloggers worked—divided into categories (as the friend who loaned it to me put it, “bloggers come in splats”) and aggregating in order to raise themselves in the ratings. I particularly liked the fact that it wasn’t just the ones focused on the news or on poking zombies with sticks for the thrill and ratings that got to play major roles: in both of the books, at least one of the vital players is a Fictional (I imagine you can guess what they do).

And there’s that one plot twist—you’d know it if you saw it—in which Ms. Grant managed to pull off something I never thought I’d see a writer do without a major cop-out being involved. But enough about the first book.

In comparison, I found Deadline somewhat disappointing. There’s considerably less by way of politics, and one could be forgiven for forgetting about what it means to be a blogger after the rising; it sort of fades into “Trying to simultaneously hide from and reveal a massive conspiracy, hopefully figuring out what it actually is in the process. And there are zombies.” It’s not that it isn’t cool; it does some really interesting things with the viewpoint character’s psychology, and I like the way elements from the prior book carry over, with people’s hurts staying hurts. More scientific background for K-A that explains some of the things that confused me in the first round? I’m all over it. Maybe it’s that I’m used to the world, so I’m not spending quite as much plot turning over rocks and squealing at the details under them. Maybe I’d hoped for a bit more of the maneuvering among people with political power that I’d liked so much in the original. Or it might be that I saw one element of the ending coming most of the book away and it still makes no sense.

There’s a lot to be learned, and some nifty characterization, so I’d recommend reading them—but you might want to wait until we’re a little closer to the third’s release date, whenever that is. Some things are just too bizarre to be left as cliffhangers for too long.

1 comment

  1. KreenWarrior says:

    Ooh, didn’t realize Deadline was out yet. Need to get on reading that!

Leave a Reply