Feed by Mira Grant: A review

Feed is one of those books that I was going to read when it first came out. I never got around to it. I’m not exactly sure why. I thought I bought the book but then couldn’t find it in either of my Amazon accounts for the Kindle. So, I wound up getting the book from the library.

The synopsis: In 2014, a cure is engineered for cancer. Then a cure is created for the common cold. When the two cures meet in the wild and mutate into a combined virus , the entire world is infected with a zombie pathogen. Everyone is infected. People, as well as any animal over 40 pounds and “amplify” and become a zombie at any time. The novel takes place 20 years after the zombie outbreak that is known as  the Rising. The books protagonists, Shaun and Georgia Mason are bloggers after the biggest story of their careers.

Feed was a fascinating read. I don’t know what my experience reading this book in 2010 or 2011 would have been, but it was definitely interesting reading the book in 2017. The themes about the media about power and about values really resonate with the political climate of today. People are afraid to leave their homes and look online for entertainment. Given the fact that we are now in the era where “fake news” is an issue, the idea of blogging supplanting the traditional media seems a lot more possible today then it did a year ago.

Some people have criticized the book as being the least zombie-like zombie book they’ve ever read. Given the fact did that the novel takes place years into the zombie uprising, I thought the way the zombies were represented in the book was appropriate and made total sense to me. What I found interesting was the changes that took place in society as a result of the zombie outbreak.

One criticism of the book that I thought was interesting is this someone complained that the author was being repetitive by constantly talking about the blood tests that were necessary to prove that someone was about to turn into a zombie. Since in the novel, everyone carried the zombie virus, the knowing When someone was about to turn (or amplify as the book puts it), made total sense. It also, for me, really sold the world that they were living in. While blood test after blood test after blood test might seem repetitive, for those living in the world of feed, it would make perfect sense in the same way we have to go through security checkpoints to fly on an airplane. The blood tests are the same type of security measure that everyone would have to deal with.

Another criticism was that the characters were too flat and one-dimensional. From my point of view, I thought the characters were supposed to be this way. In a world where someone you loved could become a zombie at any moment, a sense of non detachment would probably be an emotional survival mechanism. I saw those types of characterizations as part of the world building. Despite what they said above about non- detachment, there were some points in the book which were extremely emotionally intense. The ending surprise me and packed a big emotional wallop.

The book also scored big pop culture points with me for references to George A. Romero, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and Steve Irwin.

I find myself wondering why I waited so long to read this and am looking forward to reading the next in the series. I have a feeling that this one is going on my fave zombie books list.

Feed is book one in the Newsflesh series. Other books in the series are DeadlineBlackout, and Rise, a collection of short fiction in the series. Also available is Feedback, a novel of events that overlaps with the events of Feed.

Mira Grant is a pseudonym of author Seanan McGuire. You can check out more of her books here and can connect with her on the web at www.miragrant.com.