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So Much to Plunder That I Think I’ll Sleep Instead

Erin reviews Feed, the first book in Mira Grant's post-apocalyptic zombie trilogy, and wonders how a book can manage to be about free speech, political corruption, religious commitment, the hubris of man and delicious brains all at once.

So Much to Plunder That I Think I’ll Sleep Instead

BOOK REPORT for Feed by Mira Grant

Cover Story: Novels Aren't Appropriate for Young Ladies
BFF Charm: A Wary Yay
Swoonworthy Scale: STOP
Talky Talk: Multi-media
Bonus Factors: Not Just Zombies, Horsies, Virology
Anti-Bonus Factor: The Patty Chase Award
Relationship Status: I Want To Devour You

Cover Story: Novels Aren't Appropriate for Young Ladies

Remember how, Back In The Day, young ladies weren't supposed to read novels, because they were full of scandalous ideas like kissing and poor people and, you know, themes and motifs?  We can't have our precious ladies filling their heads with such filth and garbage!  They might get Ideas!  

This book's cover, I feel, is also not appropriate for capital letters Young Ladies.  So much blood and typeface symbolizing bold journalism headlines!  Why, I declare!

The Deal:

Great news!  In 2014, we have it made.  We did it!  We solved cancer and we cured the common cold!  Humans kick ass, no?  Dr Kellis invents a cure for the common cold!  Meanwhile, a strain of ebola is worked over in a lab and manages to cure cancer in 74 people.  Can you beat that with a stick?  But then something happens.  Some misguided folks who think Dr Kellis wants to sell his cure to the pharmaceutical agencies break into his lab and release his cure for the common cold out into the world.  And the Kellis cure meets the Amberlee virus.  And then the Kellis-Amberlee virus is formed and mutates in its hosts.  And then the zombies come.

Thirty years later, sister and brother Georgia (goes by George) and Shaun (get it?  Get it, get it, get it??) are A BIG DEAL when it comes to bloggers.  I mean, you could kind of call them the FYA of the post-apocalyptic, zombie ridden world, except they actually go out and poke zombies with a stick, and you know that we'd be in our underground bunker, which we'd have fashioned to look like a boat, drinking from our lifetime supply of champers.  Blogging has hit the big time and is actually an accredited part of journalism, mostly because traditional news media waited too long to break the Kellis-Amberlee story, and waited even longer than that to call the zombies by their actual name (never say the z word!), so most of the living world lost faith in them.  (I bet THEY never have to deal with stupid-ass op eds from the New York Times questioning whether this blogging thing will ever catch on.)

Along with their pal Buffy, the three intrepid bloggers are selected to follow Senator Ryman on his presidential election campaign.  Granted unparalleled access, the trio have their hands full maintaining their website, writing political articles and, you know, fending off hordes of the undead.  But when someone starts sabotaging the campaign and putting everyone's lives at risk, George and Shaun have to find out who wants them walking among the undead.

BFF Charm: A Wary Yay

George and Shaun both kick ass (even if they are maybe a little too close as brother and sister?  Perhaps that's my Post-VC Andrews Traumatic Stress Disorder kicking in.) and take so many names that, were I to be around for a zombie apocalypse, or even for a regular super-volcano apocalypse, I'd totally want them on my side.  EXCEPT FOR HOW I DO NOT WANT TO BE ANYWHERE NEAR THEM BECAUSE THEY ARE TROUBLE.  I mean, seriously.  Shaun's favorite activity is poking zombies with a stick, and George has never met a person she couldn't piss off in under two minutes.  Those two are POISON like in that Bel Biv Devoe song, y'know?

But!  They're fiercely loyal to each other and their friends; they're brilliant; and they know how to work pump-action shotguns.  I'm totally hanging out with them when the zombies come.

Swoonworthy Scale: STOP

They're brother and sister!!  Stop it!  Gross!  This isn't VC Andrews!!

Talky Talk: Multi-media

This book has excerpts from George, Shaun and Buffy's blogs at the beginning of each chapter, with the rest of the story being told from George's POV.  And it's one hell of a quick read.  I think I flew through it in about 3 hours - shouting out a bunch of "oh no!"es and "WHAT!  WHAT!" at my fiance`, who gave me the book for Chrimbo and had already read it.  I particularly liked having the story from George's point of view - she's a naturally prickly character who, if looked at from the third person, could seem cold and bitter but whose character development is lovingly presented over the course of the story.

Bonus Factor: Not Just Zombies

Man, I have to say, I was a little worried about reading this book at first, because, you know, another zombie book.  ANOTHER ZOMBIE BOOK.  But, like any good book, this was a book about many things that just happened to have zombies in it, not a book about zombies that happened to throw in a love triangle for interest (*cough*CarrieRyan*cough*).  There's political intrigue, gross governmental mishaps, freedom of the press and terrible parenting, all wrapped up in a neat little apocalyptic bow.

Bonus Factor: Horsies

The Kellis-Amberlee virus resides in every mammal, but only hits amplification (i.e. turns someone into a zombie) in mammals over 40 pounds.  So all large breeds of dogs, horses, cows, pigs, etc are at risk of turning into a zombie once they die.  For this reason, most people are vegetarians or pescetarians and hardly anyone owns pets, except for maybe cats or birds.  Senator Ryman's wife, Emily, breeds horses and I love her unwillingness to give up her family's business in the wake of zombie-related terror.

Bonus Factor: Virology

The roots of the Kellis-Amberlee virus, how it mutated and spread, are laid out so interestingly in this book (and in a companion novella!), and I find that so refreshing.  A lot of times in post-apocalyptic fiction the author just tells us that the apocalypse has happened and that's it, but I always want details!  I love that, in this case, it was all human error, but guided by, if not completely altruistic thinking, at least noble aims.  It makes me wonder if, given the choice, I'd choose to do things differently.  A cure for the common cold, eh, I couldn't care less.  But if someone said they had a cure for cancer?  I think I'd go for it, no matter the costs.

Anti-Bonus Factor: The Patty Chase Award 

Actually, both George and Shaun's mom AND dad share the award for terrible parentage, but I couldn't think up a bad tv father on the spot.  LORD, THEIR PARENTS ARE WHOLLY AWFUL HUMAN BEINGS.  I will not go into the details; suffice it to say that, unless your parents, you know, abused you in some way, you'll be calling them up to thank them for not being shits when you read this book.

Casting Call:

Jennifer Lawrence as George Mason

Nicholas Hoult as Shaun Mason

I didn't plan that, but it makes me laugh.

Relationship Status: I Want to Devour You

Listen, book, I'm going to be straight with you.  I wasn't sure what I was getting into when I took you on.  I mean, I'm a busy girl, and do I have time in my life for YAT (Yet Another Trilogy)?  No I do not.  (Although at least this one's fully written.)  And a zombie book on top of that?  Well.  Let's just say that it was only due to the fact that my fiance raved about you that you got a shot at all.

But!  I flew through our first date, book, and I'm already dressed up and ready for our second date!  It was so refreshing to hang out with some actual Young Adults for a change, and to get a little political intrigue on top of that?  Why, that's the cherry on top of my dismembered zombie sundae, darling!   You were just the fast-paced thrill ride I needed to unwind my mind over the holidays, and I've got you on speed dial for the rest of our dates.  Ta, darling. 

Erin Callahan's photo About the Author: Erin is loud, foul-mouthed, an unrepentant lover of trashy movies and believes that champagne should be an every day drink. When she isn't drowning in a sea of engineers for whom Dilbert is still uproariously funny, she's writing about books, tv, the cult of VC Andrews and more.