Zombie Book Review: The News Flesh Series by Mira Grant

I will be perfectly candid, I was adamantly opposed to reading zombie literature. I swore it was not a genre I’d ever dip my toe into. I’m a Vince Flynn, Daniel Silva, Tess Gerritsen kind-of-gal: I like espionage, government conspiracy, medical mysteries and things of that nature. Zombies seemed too sci-fi for my taste, too hard to believe. My husband finally convinced me to give the first book in the series, Feed, a try, promising that there was indeed government conspiracy involved, as well as some medical mystery. This sounded like a splendidly horrible combination. He had my attention.

So I picked it up. About 72 hours later I finally put it down. I think my children got fed and changed, I’m not sure. He’d already finished both books in the series, and my mother-in-law was in town for Christmas, so certainly they took up the slack in my book-induced absence (I hope!).

The series, which currently includes not only Feed, but also Deadline, and a novella entitled Countdown: A Newsflesh Novella, is set roughly 40 years in the future and tells the story of a brother/sister blogger team, Shaun and Georgia (George) Mason who have won an assignment to follow a presidential candidate on his campaign to the White House. These siblings are orphans of “the Rising,” the event that changed the world and is common vernacular for the zombie apocalypse they survived. They run “The End of Times” blog along with their technical guru, Buffy.

The Rising occurred after two viruses combined to form the Kellis-Amberlee virus, which is responsible for creating the uncontrollable urge to munch on one’s relatives, friends, pets, etc. It’s the byproduct of the cure for cancer and an unfinished and untested cure for the common cold. As the old saying goes, the road to hell really is paved with good intentions, as you’ll find out.

After the Rising, society is turned on it’s ear and a severely controlled and regulated society is a happy society. Multiple daily blood tests for the Kellis-Amberlee virus are the norm, and people do not congregate in groups larger than about 10 people for fear of someone going into amplification (their technical word for becoming a zombie) and eating everyone in sight, causing those eaten to also go into amplification, and in turn eat everyone in sight, and so on until everyone is either eaten or stuffed. Animals over 40 pounds can go into spontaneous amplification and convert into zombies, so the keeping of large dogs and pets such as horses is unheard of and people no longer eat red meat. Traveling is dangerous as you may come across a zombie deer on the highway or you may even run into a gang of shambling, drooling, infected individuals.

These books made me rethink my daily life and how many liberties and freedoms I take for granted. I can’t imagine living in a society where captivity is freedom and freedom is danger. They are perfect mix of suspense, horror, and drama to keep you up reading way past your bedtime. I read 84 books in the last year and a half and these two were hands-down my favorites; I gave them each 5 stars on Goodreads.

And I’ve got a plan if the earth ever has a “Rising” of it’s own. I won’t run, I’m too out of shape. Perhaps my husband would be a tasty alternative to a life in a not-so-guilded cage, were truth to become as strange as fiction.

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