Author: Mira Grant
Number of Pages: 593 (Kindle)
Published: April 10th 2010 by Orbit
Genre: Post-Apocalyptic, Horror, Zombies
The year was 2014. We had cured cancer. We had beat the common cold. But in doing so we created something new, something terrible that no one could stop. The infection spread, virus blocks taking over bodies and minds with one, unstoppable command: FEED.
Now, twenty years after the Rising, Georgia and Shaun Mason are on the trail of the biggest story of their lives-the dark conspiracy behind the infected. The truth will out, even if it kills them.
FEED is the electrifying and critically acclaimed novel of a world a half-step from our own—a novel of geeks, zombies, politics and social media. – from Goodreads
Feed is a post-apocalyptic tale of zombies, bloggers and… politics.
Or, putting those things in order of time devoted to them in the book I’d go for blogging, politics and zombies. The zombies are there, and can wreak havoc very easily, but they’re not really the main focus of the story.
Years after the world changed forever as a result of the Kellis-Amberlee virus, survival in a world populated by the infected is the norm. In this new world internet journalism has taken over from print news, and includes video uploads and real-time feeds, so the bloggers take centre stage.
There are even people who deliberately put themselves in harms way and blog their adventures, they’re called Irwins. There are also Newsies, who deal in facts and truth, and Fictionals, who venture into fiction and poetry in their blogs.
The team at After the End Times consists of Georgia (Newsie) and Shaun (Irwin) Mason, adopted siblings, and Buffy (Fictional). They win the right to follow promising senator Peter Ryman on his bid for the presidency, and they travel across the country following his campaign and reporting news from the political world.
Of course, these things never go smoothly, and it becomes apparent that even if Ryman is on track to win his campaign, there are unknown people who will go to great lengths to stop him, and this for me is the best part of the novel – the twists, and the lengths to which the enemy will go to gain their own ends. There is very little they won’t stoop to, and Ryman himself isn’t the only target.
No one is safe – those who work for him, his family, and certainly not the bloggers covering his campaign. In the end they must risk their lives to uncover the truth and survive long enough to reveal this to the world. Exciting stuff.
The action scenes were so good; one minute all is well, the next, all hell has broken loose, and given that Shaun is an Irwin (runs straight into danger rather than away), we’re often at the centre of the action. Even if they’re not seeking out danger, trouble never seems far away and sometimes situations begin from nothing at all.
There’s plenty to enjoy here, but at times I found the narrative a little dry, with info-dumps and great detail regarding safety procedures, sterilisation, blood tests to detect virus amplification, technology etc.
Other people have noted that the strength lies in the characters so I’m probably in the minority here where I didn’t particularly warm to the brother/sister duo at the heart of the story straight away. I don’t know why, and it certainly wore off towards the second half of the novel, but at first I found virtually every other character more appealing, such as Buffy, Rick and the senator and his family. Perhaps this is a masterstroke though, because when things start to happen, and no one is safe, there’s an emotional impact.
As things became serious and the full scale of the conspiracy started to be revealed I did appreciate Georgia and Shaun a little more, for they remain dedicated to the pursuit and revelation of the truth, knowing full well that exposing these people may put their own lives at great risk, whilst trying to protect those who work for them. They’re undeterred even when direct threats are made against them, and by the end I was willing them both to survive.
The final stages of the story really make the whole book worth reading. I didn’t see certain events coming at all, and was pretty shocked. I still can’t believe that happened. It was one of those moments where I sat thinking ‘no, that didn’t just happen. There’s going to be a way out of that, or another twist’, so obviously by that point I’d become more invested in the fate of these characters. I’ll probably check out the rest of the books at some point, and I know I have Feedback in my TBR pile somewhere…