Series: Newsflesh #4
Published by Little, Brown Book Group Limited on October 6th 2016
Genres: Horror, Science Fiction
Reviewed by: Kim
FEEDBACK is a full-length Newsflesh novel which overlaps the events of the acclaimed and New York Times bestselling novel FEED. For the first time it reveals what happened from the perspective of reporters covering the Democrats' side of the story.
There are two sides to every story... The year was 2014. We had cured cancer. We had beat the common cold. But in doing so we unleashed something horrifying and unstoppable. The infection spread leaving those afflicted with a single uncontrollable impulse: FEED. Now, twenty years after the Rising, a team of scrappy underdog reporters relentlessly pursue the truth while competing against the superstar Masons, surrounded by the infected, and facing more insidious forces working in the shadows.
It felt so good to fall back into the world of Mira Grant’s Newsflesh novels, that as I worked through the book, I read faster and faster until the dramatic conclusion. Medical paranoia and zombie based intrigue make for an exciting novel that brings back the excitement of reading the first three books in the series.
I was a bit worried about reading a story set during a time I had already fully explored, but the viewpoints and action were separate enough from the events of FEED and DEADLINE that I didn’t mind at all. FEEDBACK could be read independently of the series, but I think it would raise more questions than would be fun for the average reader. The good news for new readers of the series is that it’s such a fun ride of a series that I can recommend it to anyone who loves conspiracies, science fiction, zombies, horror or political intrigue.
The main characters of the books are bloggers, and although in our world that doesn’t carry much weight, in the world of FEEDBACK, independent bloggers make up the bulk of serious news, and they come in two flavours: Newsies and Irwins. Newsies write factual reports and dig up data. Irwins strap on cameras and go into zombie infested places, producing exciting shows for the masses who are mostly too afraid to leave the safety of their house, even with the mandatory blood tests at nearly every door.
The zombie virus is in everyone. Anyone can amplify at any moment. Most mammals over a certain weight can also spontaneously amplify, like cows, sheep and bears. As soon as you die or suffer a large enough accident, you’re back and hungry for human flesh as the virus which was previously keeping you from getting cancer or colds now takes over, seeking to spread its more aggressive form. That means that if you’re in a room with someone who suffers a brain aneurism, you’re in a room with a zombie just as quickly. This has made everyone quite paranoid of crowds, which makes political rallies particularly scary places… Especially when someone starts targeting them.
I love how consistent the medical security/paranoia is in the books. There is never a gap in the security protocols to make way for plot, and everyone is aware how quickly any blood spilt can lead to full bleach-scented decontamination. The writing is good enough though that the security works with the plot, either heightening the drama or causing the characters to find workarounds: a blood test that only allows one person through a gate at a time doesn’t really help with sixteen people are being chased by thirty zombies. Fifteen people will never make it through in time.
The characters were varied, almost to the point of distraction, but they all worked really well together and I enjoyed meeting all of them. Like in the original books, the blogging team is a good mix of Newsies, Irwins and Fictionals. Fictionals are people who write fiction, aiming for content that is more interesting and exciting than the real world outside, which is difficult when the world outside includes zombies, you know.
If you’re a zombie fan, you’ve already read FEED and you’re going to pick up this book; I’m not even trying to sell it to you. I really recommend it if you are a scifi fan who hasn’t delved into the Newsflesh series yet. You’re in for a wild time with what may be a new favourite for you.Series Titles: