Thursday, March 24, 2011


Feed by Mira Grant
Orbit, 2010
Mass Market Paperback, 608 pages
Newsflesh Series, #1
ISBN-13: 9780316081054
highly recommended

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.

My Thoughts:

Feed by Mira Grant takes place in 2039, 25 years after the Kellis-Amberlee virus that turns infected people into zombies was released. Now zombies are simply a part of life and social media, especially blogging, is how people get their news. The protagonists who own a blogging news site include: George (Georgia), Shaun (George’s brother), and Buffy. They are all thrilled when Sen. Peter Ryman invites them to be the bloggers who cover his presidential campaign. At the end of each chapter are excerpts from the characters’ blogs.

This is a world where a bloggers' market share rules and people have learned to cope with the zombies. Actually, Feed is more a political thriller than a zombie novel. The zombies are there, but generally secondary to the intrigue. While there isn't much blood and gore, there is a clear indication of how living in a society where zombies are a reality is handled, including constant blood tests for infection and sterilization techniques in place. Various zones are rated by degree of safety.

I liked the way Grant had the Kellis-Amberlee virus developed from the mixing of two cures. She also handled all the precautions people would learn to take by necessity well. There was, however, also a lot of repetition of information that could have been edited out.

While some people likely will enjoy all the pop culture reference, personally, I didn't care for all of them because I didn't think some of them would still be in use in this future. What they do is place the novel firmly in the current time period. For example An "Irwin", as in Steve Irwin, is a blogger who likes action or "to poke things with sticks" - in this case, Shaun. I became quite weary of reading, as a running joke, about how Shaun wanted to poke a zombie with a stick. Mentioning it a few times would have been enough. I get it. Other pop culture references abound: Hunter S. Thomas, JFK, mp3's... even Buffy's nickname seems unlikely.

I also couldn't buy these young adults, born after the zombie apocalypse, describing something as "a cross between a carnival and a frat party" (pg. 196) when it is made quite clear that young people in this future do not like crowds and avoid them due to the risk that someone may go zombie-viral. Both a carnival and frat party are unlikely events. Sometimes it felt like some of Grant's references and/or descriptions distracted from the story.

Feed is told in a first-person narrative, which works well for a novel featuring bloggers but it might have been even better if it were told from multiple viewpoints. It is entertaining escapism even though the antagonist is easily and immediately identifiable. (Mira Grant is the pen name of author Seanan McGuire.) This is the first book is a purposed 3 book series. While I basically enjoyed it, I'm not planning to immediately get the next book in the series.
Highly recommended - for fun


Everyone has someone on the Wall.
No matter how remote you may think you are from the events that changed the world during the brutal summer of 2014, you have someone on the Wall. Maybe they’re a cousin, maybe they’re an old family friend, or maybe they’re just somebody you saw on TV once, but they’re yours. They belong to you. They died to make sure that you could sit in your safe little house behind your safe little walls, watching the words of one jaded twenty-two-year-old journalist go scrolling across your computer screen. Think about that for a moment. They died for you.
Now take a good look at the life you’re living and tell me: Did they do the right thing? opening

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 to see what happens. pg. 5

You get enough of the infected together and they’ll start displaying pack hunting techniques; they’ll start using actual tactics. It’s like the virus that’s taken them over starts to reason when it gets enough hosts in the same place. pg. 7

Most of California was reclaimed after the Rising, but no one has ever managed to take back Santa Cruz. The geographical isolation that once made the town so desirable as a vacation spot pretty much damned it when the virus hit. Kellis-Amberlee may be unique in the way it interacts with the human body, but it behaves just like every other communicable disease known to man in at least one way: Put it on a school campus and it spreads like wildfire. U.C. Santa Cruz was a perfect breeding ground, and once all those perky co-eds became the shuffling infected, it was all over but the evacuation notices. pg. 11-12

Kellis-Amberlee blood testing units hurt on purpose. Lack of sensitivity to pain is an early sign of viral amplification. pg. 20

After five years of work, we've managed to convert a mostly gutted Channel 7 news van into a state-of-the-art traveling blog center, with camera feeds, it's own wireless tower, a self-sustaining homing device, and so many backup storage arrays that it makes my head hurt when I think about them too hard. pg.22

"They picked up our application. They picked us. We're going to do it.
We're going to cover the presidential campaign." pg 47

Before them, blogging was something people thought should be done by bored teenagers talking about how depressed they were. pg. 47

The "real" media was bound by rules and regulations, while the bloggers were bound by nothing more than the speed of their typing. We were the first to report that people who had been pronounced dead were getting up and noshing on their relatives. pg. 48


samantha.1020 said...

I didn't even catch the Irwin reference when I was reading it...LOL! I'm glad to hear that you enjoyed it even if you had a few issues...I can't wait for the 2nd book myself!

Lori L said...

I'm glad you enjoyed it, Samantha. We'll see what the consensus is here - if other readers in my family like it we'll eventually get the next book in the series.