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A Reader of Fictions: 7 O'Clock News/Silent Night - Simon and Garfunkel

A Reader of Fictions

Book Reviews for Just About Every Kind of Book

Sunday, June 19, 2011

7 O'Clock News/Silent Night - Simon and Garfunkel

Newsflesh Trilogy, Book 1

Author: Mira Grant
Pages: 571
Acquired from: Orbit via NetGalley

Brief Summary:
Shaun and Georgia Mason are adopted siblings and well-respected bloggers. Georgia's a newsie, meaning that she tells the truth without bias, only the facts. Shaun's an Irwin (as in Steve), which means he likes to poke zombies with sticks. Oh right, did I not mention the zombies? There are zombies. And they do want to eat your brains or any other part of you they can get a hold of. Anyway, back to Shaun and Georgia. They, along with their fictional/techno-genius friend Buffy get selected to follow along on Senator Ryman's presidential campaign, which is super amazing, because the government has never taken bloggers seriously before. They're thrilled, until mysterious and awful things start happening around them.

My description of Feed kind of sucks, but I can't really think of how to improve it. Suffice it to say that there are zombies, mayhem, politics and sarcasm. What more does one need? It really is harder sometimes to summarize a really good book, because they tend to be a little deeper, making it hard to put all of the awesomeness into a summary. Thankfully, I can mention all of that in my review.

Zombies are ridiculous. We all know this, even those of us who rather like to read about them. There's not really any scientific reason to believe zombies possible; personally, I would more readily believe in pretty much any paranormal creature before I would believe in zombies. Unicorns? Sure, my young self is delighted and says they exist! Vampires? Why not? People can be cannabalistic, besides Catholics already drink their saviors blood. Back to pseudo-seriousness, though, Feed has the best explanation of zombie-fication that I have seen thus far. Grant also does a good job of giving a description and then doing the authorial equivalent of shrugging her shoulders and telling the audience to suspend disbelief, but in a good way.

I absolutely loved Feed from the first page. Why? Georgia/George. She is fantastically snarky and grumpy and sarcastic. She's like me, only with worse eyes (mine suck, but at least I can go out on a sunny day). Not every other character feels fully dimensional, but they are all built out in a believable way, to the degree that George understands/cares about them. George is standoffish and only bothers to learn about certain people, so everyone wouldn't be distinct in her world.

The writing is pretty fantastic. I always know an author has talent when he/she can write distinct voices and you can tell who's who without necessarily needing to be told. Grant achieved this. The little snippets from the various characters' blogs so obviously correspond to one or the other, even before you reach the part telling the author's name.

The format was pretty great, too. The bulk of the story was told from George's perspective, with only well-integrated background. The quotes from blogs enabled Grant to put in some more back story, which might not have fit in the flow of a characters every day thoughts without making the novel feel forced.

One thing that really amazed me about Feed was that it wasn't a dystopia the way you would expect. You would generally think that the zombies were the problem, right? Not really. I mean, they are a concern, but society has figured out how to live with the problem. The United States really is much the same as it has ever been, which is why the fact that it's a dystopia is even more of a creepy reflection on our current lifestyle.

In some ways, the society in Feed is the one I would least be willing to live in of all of the dystopias I've read. Okay, only in one way. But still. What's my problem with this rather-better-than-most vision of the near future (2040)? Needles. These people get blood tests approximately 85,000 times every day, to ensure that they are not in the process of becoming zombies. As a person who refuses to get the flu shot every year because I'd rather take my chances, this is not a future I want to be a part of. Needles are the worst.

Oh, and, less seriously, you may have noticed in my less-than-inspired description that there's a character called Buffy. She's actually named Georgette, but she figured, hey, I'm short and blond and cute...what else would my name be? Loving the reference so hard. And I'm fairly certain that Joss Whedon would appreciate it and the book as well. (I could be wrong, but this is my guess.)

To conclude a final iteration of how much I enjoyed this book (which I totally need to add to my personal collection and NEED the sequel to) and a quote in honor of my friends Heather and Nori, both awesome bloggers: "No levels, no van. No van, no coffee. No coffee, no joy." Seriously, go read this one!

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Blogger Heather said...

I read this review while drinking coffee and am thoroughly amused by your shout-out! haha. This book sounds kind of awesome...

June 20, 2011 at 9:57 AM  
Blogger Christina said...

You should read it! Definitely one of the best dystopias I've read in a while...it even almost made me cry (and I rarely cry over literature).

June 20, 2011 at 10:39 AM  
Anonymous Audrey (Bibliosaurus Text) said...

I loved this book! I'm about to start the next one, Deadline. Woo!

June 20, 2011 at 8:33 PM  
Blogger Nori said...

Yay! I'm adding this to my To-Read list for sure!

June 22, 2011 at 6:57 PM  
Blogger Sarah Elizabeth said...

I know what you mean about finding it difficult to summarise a good book. I had one earlier this year that was so complex I had to write an essay to try to get the plot points accross which was just ridiculous! I'm on the fence about Zombies, like you say they don't really make sence! I can't imagine living with zombies as if they were part of the normal population!
I have this one in my wardrobe cause I bought it when it was on offer a little while ago so maybe I need to go dig it out!

May 11, 2012 at 4:41 AM  
Blogger Christina said...

If you're going to read a zombie book, this is the one you should go with. Her zombies are the best-explained of all of the ones I've read. You learn a lot more in Deadline. :D

Ultimately, of course, they're pretty nonsensical still, but she takes a pretty good stab at explaining the phenomenon.

May 11, 2012 at 7:55 AM  
Blogger Dovile said...

I'm not really a fan of zombie books, but this is the only book I know about bloggers, so I'm really interested. It's already on my wishlist. I'll add Deadline too.

May 14, 2012 at 6:24 AM  
Blogger Christina said...

This one's totally worth reading. It's not like the other zombie books, imo. I mean, I like those too, but this one's a WORLD apart.

May 14, 2012 at 8:24 AM  
Blogger Ann Kristin said...

You're making me want to read a zombie-book, which really hasn't tempted me before (I've actually preferred to avoid them). Not sure if I should thank you yet. ;)

May 17, 2012 at 8:02 PM  
Anonymous Suz Reads said...

Great review! I wasn't sure about this book before but after reading how much you liked it I'll have to reconsider! The main character sounds fun - what's not to like about snarky, right? This could become my first zombie book :)

May 18, 2012 at 7:48 AM  
Blogger Christina said...

Ann and Suz,

This is a most excellent zombie novel. If you're not a fan of zombie books, I would definitely recommend starting with either this or This Is Not a Test by Courtney Summers. Both have zombies, but the focus is more on something else (in Feed, the focus is on politics, although you do get lots of scenes of zombie fighting). But, obviously, you're not surprised I would recommend it highly!

May 18, 2012 at 8:35 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ooh zombies! I'm in! lol. :D Great giveaway! Thanks for sharing :D

May 26, 2012 at 6:47 AM  

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