Author: Mira Grant
Released: May 1st 2010
Warnings: Animal death, gore
Feed is the first novel in Mira Grant’s Newsflesh series. The series is Mira Grant (AKA Seanan McGuire)’s take on zombies. It’s not one I’ve seen before and thus would really like to give it a ton of credit for that fact alone.
Like a lot of Mira Grant’s works, this series has a lot of short stories to accompany it. So keep an eye out for them. I’ve also been told that Fed is a short story designed to change the ending of Feed. Not having read that one yet though, I honestly can’t tell you how the ending is changed (more on that later).
Feed follows Georgia Mason and her brother, Shaun, as they tackle a world full of zombies. They were born after the zombie apocalypse, and all things considered, it didn’t go as poorly as we expected. Yes, a lot of people died. But a lot of them survived. Granted, they’re still dealing with zombies, so there’s always a chance that could change…
There are two things that make Newsflesh stand out amongst the rest of the zombie novels out there. For one thing, as mentioned above, it starts after the first wave of zombies hit. For another, a lot of the focus is actually on how the media evolved after the outbreak. And thus this is just as much a story about media and reporters as it is a zombie story. Not what you’d expect, right?
Warnings: Man oh man does this novel need a warning label. I’ll be honest with you here if I didn’t love Mira Grant so much, and if I wasn’t so incredibly curious about the world she created here, I would have put this novel down. There are a lot of animal deaths. None of them are actually shown as they happen, but there are some pretty graphic descriptions of how the bodies are found. It gets bad. Really bad. Like other zombie novels, there are also a lot of people that die in this novel. A couple of them are fairly graphic, but I mostly mean that in the emotional sense. I almost added thankfully after that, but I think I would have preferred the gore, in a way. There are also graphic details of how the scene of a zombie outbreak is cleaned up. It may not be something you want to think about too much.
Feed was amazing, but it honestly messed me up something good too. The emotional hit I took because of this novel does show how invested I became during the course of reading it, so I’d like to take that as a good sign.
To say that this novel is not one you want to read in public would be an understatement. I was ugly crying at two separate points in this novel and had tears welling up at a couple of others. It did a perfect job of hitting me in all of the feels, and then some.
Now, maybe I’m just a sap. Okay, I am a sap. At least one of those ugly cry scenes was because of animal deaths – animals that we had never met during the course of this novel, and yet I was still crying for. There was one scene that I found to be really rough. I think any animal lover would, truth be told. So I’m bringing it up again to warn everyone out there.
Having said that, I finished this book. I know, without a shadow of a doubt, that I would have walked away had this been almost any other novel. So I’d like to think the fact that I finished it carries some weight. I was just too fascinated with the story to do anything but keep reading.
Okay, now that I’ve finished talking about how messed up this novel made me, let’s move onto the rest of the review, sound good?
I absolutely loved that this was a completely different zombie novel from anything else I’ve read. I love that it starts after the first outbreak. I love that it has a focus on the media. I love that society, on the whole, survived the outbreak. I love how much thought went into the science behind the creation of zombies. And last, I really did love the characters in this novel.
Having the novel start at a different point than most other zombie series was a good choice. It immediately identified itself as being something different, with just that one simple change. It also allowed the main perspective, Georgia, to have a lot of knowledge about zombies. After all, she’s never known a world without them. This let us immediately learn about the zombie virus – no theories, no guessing. Just facts.
Speaking of, I wonder if that was intentional? Considering how much Georgia loved facts and the truth. It feels intentional, so I’m going to go with it. That was another part I loved about this book. It wasn’t just about surviving zombies. It was about how the people of this world have changed. How they’ve become more reliant on the internet for news and interactions, and how their ways of getting said news have changed as well. It’s interesting to think that the news would shift so dramatically, but I also can’t argue with the logic.
I really loved Georgia and Shaun as well. I’ll confess that Shaun took a lot longer to grow on me than Georgia. But on the flipside, there were a few secondary characters that I became irrationally attached to from their first introduction. Go figure. It seemed like everybody had a unique personality, and better yet, they were human. They had hopes, dreams, and even flaws. It made them so much more relatable. Except for maybe Shaun – I just don’t ever see myself wanting to poke a zombie with a stick.
I don’t want to talk about the ending much, for obvious reasons. I will say that while I had a theory about who was behind all of this, I honestly had zero idea of what was going to happen in the end. I certainly wasn’t prepared for that revelation. Maybe I should have been.
On that note, I don’t know what will be changed in Fed. I’m conflicted because part of me wants to read it right away and see what’s different. The rest of me desperately needs some time to recover from what happened in this novel. The animal deaths alone are enough to put me off of almost any series, so I’ll confess that I’m a bit conflicted about continuing this series. I will probably cave at some point, but will likely give myself a lot of time between novels. If anybody would like to reach out and let me know what to expect from the later novels and short stories, I certainly wouldn’t mind!