“Feed” by Maria Grant is one of the books that if there was a “required reading before starting a blog” list, this would be #1. This book is very fast-paced with few “filler” pages. Along with some really well developed characters, makes this one of the best books I have read in a while. I could not put it down and I never wanted it to end.
”Feed” is the first book in the “NewsFlesh Trilogy.” It starts you off in the year 2039, 25 years after the zombie apocalypse, also known as The Rising in their world. The Rising, in year 2014, was caused by two man-made “cures” one the cure for the common cold, the other, the cure for cancer. These cures were released into the atmosphere to spread all over the globe. Good news, they worked!! Bad news, they mutated together and became what is known as Kellis-Amberlee, a virus that will infect all mammals, converting anything over 40 pounds into a zombie upon its death. But, it is impossible to ever get a cold or cancer now.
In the world of “Feed”, bloggers and other sorts of news media have taken over as the primary sort of information and entertainment. Bloggers are accredited and awarded licenses to go into infected areas; generally to try get information and news. There are three different kinds of bloggers in this world, the ‘Newsies,’ who report straight facts. The “Irwins,” which I found out later were named after Steve Irwin, their job is to basically try to get themselves killed. They go out and poke zombies with things until they get a reaction and try to get away. Finally we have the ‘Fictionals’ who create fictional content.
Now one thing I find relatively unique about “Feed” is that they refer to the infected as Zombies. Meaning they had actual zombies in their world as we do in movies, and games. In the book, George Romero, (creator of Night of the Living Dead, Dawn of the Dead, Land of the Dead…you get the picture) is a hero. The most popular names in their time are all based off of George, and any sort of other spelling; for he foresaw the zombies, and through his movies, gave instruction on how to survive attacks. These zombies however are unlike those in most movies; they are what I like to call “smart” zombies. For they need to eat to stay strong, and knowingly try to infect other people to create more of their kind by spraying whatever fluid they can onto their target. They also hunt in packs like animals, and like animals, create ambushes to take out their prey.
The book follows the crew of a website called the “After the End Times.” Georgia Mason (a Newsie blogger and head of the website), her brother Shaun (an Irwin), and their friend Georgette “Buffy” Meissonier (a Fictional and technology guru) are selected to cover a presidential campaign. Soon after joining things begin to go wrong for them. Before they know it, they are in serious trouble, having uncovered both a plot to undermine the entire campaign but to also kill them in the process. Both of which involve what the book is about…all together now children…ZOMBIES!
The citizens of the “Feed” world are scared isolationists who rarely come out of their house for more than a few hours. They are afraid of what is waiting in the outside world. People are afraid of crowds and other people in general. In “Feed”, every time you basically leave an area, or enter any sort of building, you are required blood tests with testing kits that automatically upload the information to the Center for Disease Control, who is more or less the military now. They have containment crews who respond almost immediately to outbreaks and infections.
But thanks to bloggers, who can broadcast everything from cameras ranging in size from pebbles to shoulder/car mounted ones, there is not much of a need to venture out. Honestly, who really needs to leave their home when you can live via the blogger broadcasting live from the field? Between each chapter there are excerpts from the three main characters and the other staff members at “After the End Times” which really draws you into the book, giving you a glimpse into their world, and how they feel about it. Though this book is action-packed, she really develops the characters into ones you relate to and care for.
I really do not want to give too much of the book away, but this is defiantly on my “blogger must read” list. Easily one of the best zombie books I have read in a while. With two more books, and a short story to go, I am very anxious to get back to reading! So get to it! Check out the NewsFlesh trilogy by Mira Grant!