Review: Feed by Mira Grant

feedTitle: Feed

Author: Mira Grant

Rating: 3 star

Publisher: Orbit

Format: Paperback

It’s been twenty years since the Rising — a zombie-apocalypse resulting from a virus that was meant to cure illnesses. But the pandemic hasn’t overtaken all of humanity and the human-zombie population has approached an equilibrium.

In this dangerous world are two siblings, Georgia and Shaun Mason, who have pursued blogging as a career. Like Hunter S. Thompson, they are gonzo journalists, on the road reporting news. Making news.

After Georgia, Shaun, and their friend Buffy land a job to follow the presidential campaign of Senator Peter Ryman, they find themselves in the middle of a vast political conspiracy that threatens to change the whole political landscape of what is now America.

For those who are uncertain, Feed is not a horror novel. In fact, much of the novel is slow-paced, serving more as a satire and political thriller in a dystopian setting. Mira Grant has created a believable relationship between the two siblings and throughout the narrative we read the very different blog entries the two have created. Shaun is a risk-taker, often purposely devoid of protective clothing in the midst of a crowd of zombies. Georgia reports straight news with her own liberal politics bleeding through her posts.

It may seem ironic that she is covering a Republican candidate in Senator Ryman, but he is more of a moderate compared to his VP candidate, Tate. In fact it is this political bias that in many respects gives away too much of the novel. Issues like same-sex marriage and abortion are brought up and are used to blame right-wing politics as more of the reason for the degenerated society than the zombie infestation.

While a novel like this should not be without political opinion (for example, I love George Orwell’s 1984), I found it off-putting the way religious fundamentalism and conservatism was portrayed. It completely misses the worldview many in this group adhere to, dumbing them down to mindless, religious zealots. In fairness, this is similar to the reaction I had after reading Dan Simmon’s right-wing leaning, Flashback. Ultimately, the black-and-white portrayals leave many of the characters paper-thin, much like the megalomaniac enemies we find in James Bond films.

What Mira Grant did well is forming real relationships with the characters and more importantly, giving real consequences for their risks and actions. There is a lot of emotion and empathy the reader gains for the characters. The first couple hundred of pages move along quite slowly, exploring the possible political and social scenarios that would accompany a zombie-infested America, but the narrative picks up in the second half of the novel.

Feed is a novel that was good, but not great. The writing is sufficient and the premise of the story is different than most of the other zombie novels and movies out there. If you are looking for an action-packed horror novel, stay clear. If you are looking for a cerebral dystopian novel with emotional bonds between characters, this may be the book for you. I was glad I read it, but am not rushing to the bookstore to pick up the next novel.

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