Review: Deadline (Newsflesh, Book 2)
By Mira Grant
SPOILER ALERT – If you haven’t read Feed (Newsflesh, Book 1), stop! Go read Feed now…
Taking your narrator and killing her is damned risky. Mira Grant did this in Feed, leaving her readers to wonder how she would approach the telling of the next book in the Newsflesh trilogy, Deadline. The answer is much better than the television standby of having her twin show up. Instead, Grant made the narrator’s brother, Shaun, “a crazy person” who is able to talk to his dead sister, George. This could have been trite, but Grant managed to pull it off. In a sense there are two concurrent narrators, but this is more Shaun’s story.
Where Feed was more a political zombie thriller, Deadline is a medical zombie thriller. A researcher with the CDC, first introduced in Feed, arrives at the After the End Times media compound in Oakland. Within minutes there is an outbreak and half of the city is blown-up. Shaun and what is now left of his crew escape, taking the CDC researcher with them. As the initial stages of a global conspiracy are revealed, Shaun shakes off the grief that has been paralyzing him and begins seeking revenge for his sister’s death. As a blogger and reporter he does this the only way he knows how – by exposing the truth.
The series is set a generation after the initial outbreak, so existence is highly controlled. Everyone is paranoid, tested and tracked, because everyone is infected with the Kellis-Amberlee virus. Some even have secondary reservoir conditions, with concentrations of the virus infecting specific systems. It is these reservoir conditions and some statistical improbabilities that begin uncovering the larger conspiracy first revealed in Feed.
Grant manages to describe a large amount of technical and medical information without losing lay readers. She blends the actual, with the probable and improbable in such a way that the reader is left guessing what is truth or fiction.
At 608 pages this is actually a compulsive read. The worst part in the book is the cliffhanger ending and knowledge that I will have to wait a year to find out what happens to Shaun and the rest of the After the End Times crew in the final book, Deadline. On the bright side, Orbit has begun releasing short stories related to the universe Mira Grant has created. Highly recommended!
For the true fan check out http://www.thefeedbook.com and the novella, Countdown, http://www.orbitshortfiction.com/2011/08/countdown-a-newsflesh-novella.