Tuesday, 28 December 2010
Feed by Mira Grant
Feed tells the story of a trio of bloggers - Georgia and Shaun Mason and their friend Buffy Meissonier. Georgia and Shaun are siblings and all three are teenagers, meaning they were born after the outbreak began. As a consequence, they never knew what life was like in a world where zombies never existed. Blogging has become such a growth industry as more and more people turn to the internet for the news of the day.
Georgia is the narrator of the story and the most level-headed and grounded of the trio. Shaun likes to live dangerously and in the eyes of his sister takes too many unnecessary risks. Buffy on the other hand, is much more reserved and shuns the limelight. Her forte is that she is a technical whizkid. Their lives change forever when they are asked by Senator Peter Ryman to record his presidential nomination campaign trail. Ryman is one of the first politicians to see the merit of involving the blogging community to join him personally on his quest for the presidency of the USA. All goes well at first, until one night their security is breached and a zombie horde almost breaks through the supposedly impregnable perimeter. Lives are lost and lessons are learned. From then on it becomes increasingly obvious that someone is out to stop Senator Ryman at all costs.
Mira has crafted a very believable world and comes up with a plausible explanation for the zombie virus or as it is called in the book - the Kellis-Amberlee disease. The development of the world of blogging has been well thought out, with bloggers categorised as one of four archetypes - Newsies, Irwins, Stewarts and Fictionals. Georgia is a Newsie, Shaun an Irwin (named after Steve Irwin the Australian wildlife expert) and Buffy is a Fictional.
The novel is divided into five parts, with each part becoming more gripping and absorbing than the last. At the end of part four there is a death that I could never have predicted and is such a shock. Even though it's not quite the end of the book it is such a huge sting in the tail. I read parts four and five in one sitting as I was so emotionally tied up with the story that I had to know what happened next. It was one hell of an emotional rollercoast ride!
It is fair to say that Feed starts off slowly as it introduces the major players and the very different world they live in to ours. The pace picks up once Georgia, Shaun and Buffy are chosen to ride with the Senator on his campaign trail. You won't have much trouble in predicting who the main villain is but by the end of the book it is just as obvious that he/she was working at the behest of someone else. Which neatly leads to book two. Feed is the first part of a planned trilogy and if parts two and three are anyway near as good as part one, I'll be a very happy bunny indeed.
What made this book such a compelling read for me was that the main characters were people I cared about. Even the senator came across as likeable and trustworthy, traits that I wouldn't normally associate with a politician. As a blogger myself I could instantly relate with the heroic trio. No one is perfect in real life and in Feed everyone has their flaws, which only makes them more believable. This is a novel that can be read as a political thriller with zombies, which is how I described it to my parents. They both read it and both enjoyed it as much as me, which is high praise as neither of them has ever read a zombie novel before. Some may be disappointed that the zombies only make a few appearances but the threat of them is ever-present. Don't let that put you off. This is far and away one of the finest zombie novels I've ever read. Book two will be called Blackout and is due to be released in the summer of 2011. I can't wait!