brilliant political thriller
that just happens to take place after the zombie apocalypse
I don’t used the word, “brilliant,” often in reference to books. Mira Grant’s Newsflesh Trilogy is a well-deserved exception.
The trilogy opens roughly 25 years after the zombies rose and focuses on a brother/sister blogger duo. In Mira Grant’s future, no one under 30 trusts traditional news sources. Why would they, when the networks called the Rising “groups of teenagers in costumes” in a mistake that cost millions of lives. George (Georgia Carolyn) and Shaun Mason are children of the news. Their parents adopted them as a ratings stunt, their entire lives have been on camera, and they don’t see a reason to do anything else. Shaun pokes dead things with sticks to see what happens while George carries the brunt of the factual reporting.
Feed follows George, Shaun, and Buffy (techie, poet, and fan of pre-Rising television) as they pack up their news van to follow a rising star in the Republican presidential primary. Things ensue. Georgia Mason narrates, and is one of the most compelling female protagonists I’ve encountered. She knows her flaws, tries to work around them, and puts the truth and Shaun ahead of everything else.
I don’t want to say much more about the plot. One of the amazing things about the series is how naturally the story flows while still catching you off guard. It’s a story about truth, media, and human nature. It explores the idea that we, as people, can adapt and survive almost any change to our environment. Even better, it show us the way we are continually manipulated into staying scared instead of changing for the new world.
Here’s what takes the series from excellent to brilliant: I don’t know that I’ve ever seen world-building this well done.
Mira Grant knows everything about her post-Rising world. Maybe it takes an author with acknowledged OCD to gather that level of detail. I don’t know. What I do know: if you asked her what happened in Somalia, on the Galapagos Islands, in Antarctica, etc., during the Rising of 2014, she could tell you.
While the Masons’ story is over for now, I look forward to reading her upcoming short stories in the same universe. Her new series, exploring the parasite hypothesis gone horribly wrong, begins November, 2013. I can’t wait!