**BEWARE- Major spoiler if you haven't read Feed**
Mira Grant. This is the second book in her Newsflesh series. The first book, Feed, was one of my favorite books of last year and may end up being one of my favorite books of the decade. Feed was an explosive reading experience for me because all my emotions were engaged. Mira combines the zombie myth with technology and on-line blogging that worked wonders.
Feed had a very unique protagonist with George Mason. George lived and breathed reporting the news, blogging her complete obsession. And because of this, she was killed. George stumbled upon something big and not at all planned. She and her brother, Shaun found themselves in a world of political espionage where someone was using the zombies (that were unleashed on the world because of a cure created to combat the common cold twenty five years ago) as a way to control society and for their own maniacal greed. Deadline begins almost two years after the events of Feed and this time we’re in Shaun’s head as he comes to grips with losing George, his best friend and soul mate. Shaun still grieves over the loss of George and the guilt he couldn’t save her. He was the one to end her life by shooting her as she succumbed to the Kellis-Amberlee virus running through her veins that would transform her into a zombie. But Shaun doesn’t just have the memories of George to keep him company. George speaks to him in his head. He and she have full conversations. Is Shaun going crazy? Perhaps. But Shaun doesn’t care. As long as George talks to him, he can keep on living and reporting the news.
Shaun still runs his blog and has a new crew to help him. There’s Rebecca, aka Becks, an Irwin, who likes poking zombies with a stick as much as Shaun used to do. There’s Alaric, a Newsie trying to make strides as a journalist, Dave another blogger and Mahir, who blogs from London, England on behalf of Shaun. Then there’s the eccentric Maggie, who’s a bit on the wacky side, the daughter set to inherit her father’s Pharmaceutical company who blogs about movies, the majority being horror ones. Shaun and his motley crew are very popular bloggers who navigate in a world gone to hell. The hungry undead have become a way of life and the only thing the living can do is be aware that this new type of threat is all around them and won’t go away.
Shaun would love to get his hands on the person or people responsible for injecting George with the virus that killed her so mercilessly He lives for revenge. And he may get his revenge when Dr. Kelly Connolly from the CDC comes to Shaun with shocking news. She planned her own death. One by one, each member on her research team has been killed, and she was next. The CDC not only is still trying to find the cure of the Kellis-Amberlee virus, but are involved in something straight out of a science fiction novel. They have created illegal clones and are experimenting on them. It seems the d Kellis-Amberlee virus may not be as dormant as the public believes. There’s a big conspiracy that Shaun takes upon himself to investigate. Anyone along with him are in grave danger, not from infection, or from the zombies, but those people who would kill to keep their findings a secret until they decide to unleash it on the world.
Deadline builds at a steady rate where you turn each page, uncertain what’s going to happen. The first 500 pages moves slowly but doesn’t bore you. Everything is metrically planned out, much like a ride on a rollercoaster. You sit there in that small seat, your heart pounding as you climb up that rickety track, waiting to reach the top. And when you finally reach the top, you fall from such a height where your stomach drops down to your feet. Your adrenaline is running and you open your mouth as screams burst forth from your mouth. Deadline is a rollercoaster of a book.
Shaun really comes into his own in Deadline. I really couldn’t stand him in Feed. He was an immature, spoiled thrill seeker who finally grows up and man’s up after George’s death. Shaun has iron balls and is not afraid to use them. He’s on a mission and will die to find out the truth and bring down anyone who is out to destroy the world for a second time. He and his team are a cross between the characters from Scooby Doo and Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Shaun is a one man Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein from All the President’s Men. He’s tenacious, dedicated to reporting the news and in the immortal words of Harold Beale from Network, “I'm a HUMAN BEING, God damn it! My life has VALUE!'. I want all of you to get up out of your chairs. I want you to get up right now and go to the window. Open it, and stick your head out, and yell, 'I'M AS MAD AS HELL, AND I'M NOT GOING TO TAKE THIS ANYMORE!” Shaun is angry and more alive than he has ever been and wants to right the wrongs done to humanity and most importantly George.
Deadline scared the living crap out of me. A quarter away from the end of the novel, the shit got very real where I was shaking in fear. I can’t even tell you the last time a book made me have such a physical reaction. Talk about a doozy of an event that occurs out of the blue and one I never saw coming. And this isn’t even the shocking OMGWTF twist of all twists that’s announced in the last sentence on the last page. This is one of the best cliffhanger endings I read next to Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins. Your mouth will drop, your body will tense up and you’ll be not only on the edge of your seat, but climbing it. Talk about a rush. I think I felt high the entire time I read.
Deadline is as close to a perfect read as you can get. Every one of my emotions were engaged. Deadline will be in my top 10, most like my top 5 of 2011. This is a book that I want to squeeze tight as I lie in bed awake, so very afraid the undead will finally rise up and come for me, hungry for my flesh. Not many authors can make me jumped at my own shadow, but Mira has. I shake my fist at her for making me feel this way and yet I ask for more. (Orbit)
Final Grade: A
A few other Deadline reviews:
Pen and Ink
Side note: There was a goof in regards to George’s date of death. The year stated is 2032, when it should be 2039. When I read this, I was more than confused, but then asking Mira about it, she admits that it was a mistake that got through to the book somehow. Even with this issue, don’t think Deadline isn’t full of awesome. It is. I want to have babies with it.
Orbit has just created an awesome book trailer for this series. At the end you can see the cover for Blackout, the third and final book in this trilogy.