Unholy christ, I just finished a zombie book. And actually liked it. Newsflash (Newsflesh! Hardeeharharhar, ’cause that is the name of this series): I don’t read zombies. Boo-ooring.
I can enjoy a good television zombie, but in books? Meh. They tend to fall flat. The gore works well on-screen, but rarely have I seen a book do zombies well. My most recent attempt to get over this was with Colson White’s Zone One, which I still haven’t finished. So what is so special about Mira Grant’s zombies? Georgia, Feed’s narrator, explains it pretty well herself:
“…the world is not, in any way, what people expected thirty years ago. The zombies are here, and they’re not going away, but they’re not the story. They were, for one hot, horrible summer at the beginning of the century, but now they’re just another piece of the way things work.”
Fucking exactly! Zombies aren’t interesting enough to be the story. Once, maybe, twice, sure. But once you’ve watched or read a few zombie-centric stories, you are going to get bored. (Same goes for most of post-apocalyptic literature.) Unless the zombies are just the backdrop in a far more interesting story. Which is exactly where Feed is ragingly successful: it isn’t actually a zombie story.
There are zombies, yes, and their presence shapes the lives of the characters in this world, of course, but Feed is really about a team of bloggers following a presidential race, about being a reporter, about politics, about family and friendship, and about telling the truth. The characters were complex and interesting, people I wanted to follow around for a couple hundred pages. The presence of zombies helps keep the tension high, but it is Grant’s skill at building a suspenseful, exciting story outside of the zombies that make this book so successful and that had me staying up until 2 am, reading until I could barely hold my eyes open, hoping I’d finally get to find out whodunit.
Six out of seven machetes.
Where I got it: Library, e-book
With this book, I hereby complete Peril the Third of the R.eaders I.mbibing P.eril reading challenge (which only requires that you read one book). Huzzah.