Sunday, October 6, 2013

Quick Book Review: Feed

Title: Feed
Author: Mira Grant (aka Seanan McGuire)
Genre: Zombie Apocalypse, Political Thriller


There are two things Georgia Mason cares deeply about: the Truth and her daredevil brother Shaun.  As part of the post-Zombie Apocalypse generation, Georgia and Shaun run a multi-media blog reporting (and occasionally making) the news.  When asked to cover the presidential race of long-shot candidate Senator Ryman, they think they've hit the big time.  But when a series of zombie attacks start hitting the senator's camp, Georgia realizes she's stumbled upon a conspiracy bigger than she knows.  Georgia is determined to find and expose the Truth.  But with the assassins honing in on her team, will Truth come at a cost too high for her to pay?


Anyone paying any attention to the presidential race of 2008 will immediately notice the parallels in this book, starting with the young senator who becomes a front-runner overnight and isn't afraid to use new media to his advantage.  There's also a fanatic of the religious right who "cares so much about freedom he's willing to give it to you at gunpoint" and a comic-relief female candidate with no platform but a great set of boobs.  Aside from the election, the book tackles recent trends of celebrity culture, new media versus old, and the atmosphere of fear and isolation within the American public.

Georgia is a new kind of journalist with an old heart.  She makes extensive use of technology to give readers up-to-the-minute feed, but at the same time she's unafraid to go into the field for stories and ask politicians the tough questions.  She's also a fanatic on fact-checking.  Truth is her passion.  Yet I personally found some of her methods disturbing.  She and her crew are walking hidden cameras.  Dare to question her right to have live video streaming of private meetings after an assassination attempt, and she'll scream censorship.  She's often rude, sometimes bullying, and rarely doubts the rightness of her cause.

What saves Georgia from being a two-dimensional ideal of the perfect journalist is her relationship with her brother Shaun.  They love and trust each other and continually risk their lives together, all while keeping up a stream of witty bickering.  The brother-sister relationship is close to the point of co-dependence, but it makes sense given the isolationist world they grew up in and the lack of affection from their parents--media whores who exploit their children for ratings.  Georgia and Shaun have each other--no one else.  And therein lies their greatest vulnerability, for this is a world where one stupid mistake can lead to death.  Georgia and Shaun both fear losing the other, a fear that intensifies as they deal with not only zombies but full-on assassination attempts.

Plotwise, Feed moves fast, balancing zombie action with political intrigue.  I didn't want to put the book down.  Be warned, however, that as the story reaches its mid-way point, the deaths start coming fast and with greater emotional weight.  No one is safe.  I suppose I should have known enough about the zombie genre not to be shocked--but I was.  This is not a happy story.  It is, however, well-written and thought-provoking.  Whether or not you agree with the author, this book will make you think about the kind of world you want to live in and your duty to bring that world about.

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