Shaun Mason is a man without a mission. Not even running the news organization he built with his sister has the same urgency as it used to. But when a CDC researcher fakes her own death and appears on his doorstep with a ravenous pack of zombies in tow, Shaun has a newfound interest in life. Because she brings news-he may have put down the monster who attacked them, but the conspiracy is far from dead. To start with, hats off to Grant for creating a second book in a series that one could theoretically dive into without necessarily reading the first volume.
With Feed , we had a complete story. Start to finish, the entire plot was there. By this point, Grant likely knew that she was going to have the opportunity to continue in this universe after this volume and decided to structure the second book with that in mind. As far as Deadline almost standing alone, consider that we have an almost entirely new cast, in an entirely new setting.
The only recurring characters save Shaun were largely names on pages in Deadline. This is essentially book one of a duology. That particular skill is a fine line to walk. Grant does so with grace. As with my previous review, I will not be doing a full recap of the plot. People laugh at me because I watch a lot of horror movies, but horror movies are educational, if you know how to pay attention to them. They tell you about societal trends — about the things that people are afraid of. In the ones before the Rising, they were afraid of actual things.
Maggie, head of the Fictional division of After the End Times, lives in her own little wonderland deep in the California countryside. She is also the darling daughter of the extremely wealthy Garcia family, who have decided to indulge their only heir in any way that she wishes. Her wish? To inherit the ancestral farmhouse and live in near solitude while running an informal teacup bulldog rescue and how adorable is that last phrase?
Despite the remote home that she has built for herself, Maggie loves having her people around. She regularly hosts grindhouse film festivals that last for days at a time. Her friends descend upon the house, eat tons of popcorn and watch hours and hours of bad old horror movies. This makes Maggie uniquely educated on the subject of fear. Yet even Maggie is afraid.
Consider her living situation: an old farmhouse, yes. Potentially very dangerous. Surely a good fence with a good blood testing unit should be sufficient enough to protect Maggie and her friends from the possibility of the infected. This almost looks like security theater. Consider human nature for a moment. Humanity still retains some of the old instinctual behavior that kept us alive when there were fewer modern conveniences and many more things that wished to eat us.
Fear and stress are a normal part of our old monkey brains. Or anything to stress about? The monkey brain becomes agitated and invents things to be upset about. More and more individuals are on antidepressants than ever before. The same holds true for individuals with an anxiety disorder. We no longer have to fight with giant animals to live. We by and large no longer have to scavenge for food. We have less and less to fear, yet our anxiety and depression levels are rising. Yes, you could argue that we have more to worry about than our basic needs, but the point stands: the brain craves that fear.
Fear is a great motivator to improve, move ahead, work hard. Shaun and George Poor sad, haunted Shaun. If you remember him from Feed , you remember a fun-loving, brave, charming Irwin who was never afraid to jump into the middle of the hottest mess around. Here, Shaun is a broken, rather bitter shell of his former self. The things she's experienced The children under Miss West's care understand all too well. And each of them is seeking a way back to their own fantasy world.
The year was It was the year we cured cancer, the year we cured the common cold, and the year the dead started to walk. It was the year of the Rising. The world didn't end when the zombies came, it just got worse.
Georgia and Shaun Mason set out on the biggest story of their generation. They uncovered the biggest conspiracy since the Rising and realized that to tell the truth, sacrifices have to be made. Now, the year is , and the investigation that began with the election of President Ryman is much bigger than anyone had assumed. With too much left to do and not much time left to do it in, the surviving staff of After the End Times must face mad scientists, zombie bears, rogue government agencies - and if there's one thing they know is true in post-zombie America, it's this:.
Blackout is the conclusion to the epic trilogy that began in the Hugo-nominated Feed and the sequel, Deadline. Okay, I actually saw that coming, but I'm still kinda surprised she actually went there. So, if you have read the first two books in Mira Grant's Newsflesh trilogy, you know that Georgia Mason died at the end of book one, and was brought back to life as a clone at the end of book two. I'm not a big fan of "cheats" like this.
Throughout the second book, Grant coped with having killed off one of her main characters in the first book by making Shaun "crazy," so Georgia becomes a permanent presence in his head, thus allowing the living main character to have conversations with his dead sister. This continues in book three, even past the point where Shaun finally finds out about the cloned Georgia. I was expecting there to be some additional sort of "twist" to explain how the Georgia in Shaun's head could be telling him things Shaun didn't himself actually know. But nope, it was just crazy. The Newsflesh trilogy, supposedly a zombie post-apocalypse series, aspires to be a political allegory as well.
The "real" story is that in the wake of the unleashing of the Kellis-Amberlee virus, which causes the newly-dead to rise up again as viral-animated cannibalistic infection vectors, American society has responded to this terrifying change in the status quo by accepting a "new normal" that includes blood tests at every door, elevator, and vehicle, shoot-to-kill orders, safety protocols that make walking out in the open or doing pretty much anything but huddling within fortified enclaves unthinkable, and of course, listening to a government-coopted news media lie about everything.
Sound like Mira Grant might have an agenda here? The point is pressed home hard in the concluding volume, in which Shaun and George and their surviving newsies find themselves on the run, working with mad scientists and crazy hackers with crazier gun moll sidekicks, swearing to unleash vengeance and The Truth.
And they also kill a zombie bear. Like the first two books, it's fast-paced adventure from start to finish. Whenever things start to get slow, you can bet something is about to get blown up or another horde of zombies will come moaning around the corner. The Center for Disease Control, already revealed to be a little shady in the previous book, turn out to be an Evil Government Conspiracy that is literally holding the President hostage.
And there are some new revelations about the Kellis-Amberlee virus, and of course, there is the whole cloning bit, where they managed to clone Georgia and perform a memory transfer from dead Georgia's brain, so that the clone is kinda sorta the real Georgia, at least real enough to convince Shaun.
Which is where things get really creepy, because you know how I commented in my review of the last book that these two are Yeah, the author went there. I cannot say I was shocked or surprised, but between Shaun being a constant jerk even before Georgia died, and an even worse jerk after, and then when clone Georgia comes back, he is, as Becks points out so succinctly, "an incestuous necrophiliac" Mira Grant's writing is clever and full of banter, but sometimes the forced "punchiness" of it like we are constantly being reminded how Irwins, in the face of imminent death, cope by making wisecracks became wearying.
I also hesitated to label this series "YA" before, but there were too many points in Blackout where I felt talked down to by the author spelling things out through unnecessary dialog. For example, upon being told that they will not be allowed to continue without passing a checkpoint, Shaun asks: "And if we don't pass the checkpoint tests? Three entire books have been spent hammering the point home.
This is not even a question anybody living in this world would ask.
Everyone knows what the "safety protocols" are in the post-Rising world. Grant also gets a bit heavy-handed with some of the emails and blog entries that begin each chapter. Like: "Shaun is alive. Repeat, Shaun is alive! Now, think about it. If you are telling somebody something really important in an email, you might underline it or use boldface or something, and you might say "Repeat: blah blah blah" once for dramatic emphasis.
But you probably don't repeat it at the start and end like you are sending it out via radio broadcast on an uncertain transmission. I know, small details. But they annoyed me. For all that, I enjoyed the story and this was a pretty solid conclusion to the trilogy. But it's tasty brain candy, even if you aren't normally into zombie novels. I am docking book three a bit for the juvenile flourishes, so 3. The author just stretches my suspension of disbelief i. To get me to buy it takes a lot more than having a "metal snapshot" of a brain.
It IS a fascinating idea but it doesn't really go anywhere except to add a lot of self doubt to a character.
The author continues to do a really sketchy job creating settings and bullets will come out of nowhere but what the room looks like in which that could happen is often poorly or not at all described. The narrator for the main woman in the story sounds great and unchanged.
They changed the male narrator at least he sounded much different and most of the time he is fine but not is as consistently in his very cynical and harsh character as in the second book. Is there anything you would change about this book? I dislike it when a series sharply changes tone and or changes maguffin in the last book. What was your reaction to the ending? No spoilers please! Any additional comments? I liked the narrator of the first 2 books much better, and the audio quality in general was a bit disappointing, this one is not up to the same standard.
Would you be willing to try another book from Mira Grant?
Why or why not? Yes I would, provided the synopsis was something that I was interested in. I enjoyed most of this series, just thought the last half of the last book fell kinda flat. I enjoyed the juxtaposition of the 2 narrators! Lent a little more drama to it, which was needed by the end. Could you see Blackout being made into a movie or a TV series? Who should the stars be? I snapped this book up as soon as I knew it was out, and I was not disappointed with the first half of the book!
The last half dissolved into a watered-down conspiracy theory mess, with a heretofore unknown gov't agency riding is as the Cavalry. Overall excellent series. I just wish the author had made the ending as striking as everything leading up to it. I think I just let too much time elapse between Book 2 and 3, so I could not remember the particulars of the overall plot. At times, it felt as if was reading 6 different books none of which I really liked and I just became more confused as the book went along.
I cannot describe enoughhow fantastic this story is. I was riveted, I laughed, I cried, I screamed. Would you listen to Blackout again? In fact, the entire Newsflesh trilogy is on my "listen again" list as soon as I'm done processing everything that happened. What did you like best about this story? Georgia, and how smart she is, and how she deals with who and what she is. My first concern was when you read a book in a series and a lot of people are killed off, a whole new set of characters is introduced in the next book…and half the time I end up hating the series because I generally hate the newly introduced characters.
Now, Shaun hits the road to find what truth can be found at the end of a shotgun. Share this: Tweet.