Here at last is the much anticipated sequel to Feed by Mira Grant - Deadline. In a previous post see here I proclaimed that Feed was not only the best zombie novel of 2010 but one of the best novels I'd ever read. So as soon as Deadline, part two of the planned trilogy, was available for sale, I bought it.
I want to tell you the plot of the book but how much can I say without spoiling the events of Feed, especially the big shock near the end? In brief, Feed was about a group of bloggers, led by siblings Georgia and Shaun Mason, who were invited to report on the campaign trail of Senator Peter Ryman as he ran for presidency. The year was 2032 and the zombie apocalypse was over twenty years old. Humanity won but at a major cost to their freedom. Most folk rarely venture far from home.
Deadline kicks off nine years after the events of Feed. This time, Shaun Mason is the narrator of the novel. He and his team are still blogging. Blogging has replaced the major news media as the number one source of news and information. Shaun's life is given a new purpose when, right out of the blue, a researcher from the Centre of Disease Control arrives at his apartment with news of an earth-shattering conspiracy that will affect them all. The researcher is Kelly Connolly, who assisted Shaun and Georgia in Feed and was a close friend of theirs. After hearing what Kelly has to say, Shaun agrees to help her and from there the novel takes off. To say more would be unfair.
If book one was as much a political thriller with zombies then book two can best be described as a scientific thriller with zombies. I mention the "with zombies" because zombies appear infrequently in both novels but, nevertheless, they are a constant threat, just lurking in the background, ready to spring forth when least expected... which they do! There is a lot of science to be explained in Deadline, regarding the nature of the Kellis-Amberlee disease that causes the dead to return to life, but it is written in a way that is easy to understand, mainly due to the fact Shaun needs things explained to him in simple terms. This makes things a lot easier for us, the readers, to understand what is going on.
My verdict of the novel is that it is a good sequel that I can highly recommend but it is not as good as Feed. Feed was a novel that got more exciting and more thrilling the more you read of it until it became unputdownable, well at least for me. Deadline lacks that rollercoaster ride. Instead it has moments of frenetic excitement interspersed with long periods of inaction. Also, it has a shock ending that didn't come as a shock to me. I hope I'm not sounding over critical because this is still a well-written novel with characters who are given time and space to develop. When a major character is killed it has an emotional impact. Deadline may not be as good as Feed but it definitely sets up book three, Blackout, very nicely. There is a preview of Blackout at the back of the book that left me screaming for more. Blackout is due to be published next year but I want it now! It'll be interesting to review the trilogy as a whole.
Deadline is published by Orbit Books and retails at £7.99. I bought my copy from Amazon UK for just £4.99. If you've read Feed you're going to want to know what happens next. If you haven't read Feed, go buy it now, along with Deadline and experience the thrills of a major new force in zombie fiction - Mira Grant, winner of the 2010 John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer.