Monday, October 3, 2011

Feed by Mira Grant

Ok, so I haven't technically finished this yet. I still have an hour left in the audiobook. But I will definitely be knocking it out today. But the plot is finished and it's on to my least favorite part of every book, everyone is saying their goodbyes. The plot is over, and while okay the closure is great and if the book has great characters I'm eager to read more of them, but frankly just quit pussyfooting around and end the book so I can start the next one. I like closure and ending all in the same chapter. Harry Potter Six was a killer. "You mean I have to sit through the whole freakin funeral, and read another chapter after that?" I know I cried during the funeral, that's not the point. The point is I want to move on. Once the action stops for good my attention is shot.

That was a really long aside for what I mean to say, "What can possibly happen that is going to take up another hour?" Something has to. And I intend to download Deadline from Audible today so I can keep going. A word on the audiobook: Narrators can make or break a book for me. If you have a crappy narrator, or their voice does things to distract me, I won't be able to get into the book. Feed landed a great narrator.

I am not going to say a lot, 1) because I technically haven't finished it yet and 2) because Phil is listening to it, too. And Phil, Eakley is about as zombie-filled as this book gets. Don't get me wrong, they're everywhere, and they do attack, but they are part of the setting instead of part of the plot. The enemy is other people, not the zombies. Shaun and Georgia are trying to do their jobs in a world that is under the constant risk of attack or infection. But, you should still keep reading. Things get worse, and it's great.

Mira Grant does one thing throughout the book that is normally frowned upon but works really well in this case. There is backstory, ALL the time. There’s probably as much backstory as there is current plot. But it’s necessary, otherwise we have no idea why something is important in this strange-and-different America. As a writer, if you want to know how to do backstory well, I suggest reading Feed.

I don’t really know what else to say without giving something away to Phil or to anyone else. Before I’d read the book, I thought it was fluff and had no idea why it had got a Hugo nomination. But Feed so deserved it. I also can’t believe that she wasn’t nominated for the Campbell Award for Best New Writer. I certainly don’t understand how Lev Grossman won it. This is one of the few catagories where I had read more than half of the nominations. I was rooting for Lauren Beukes or Dan Wells. Had I read Feed, I would have nominated Mira Grant (Seanan McGuire? Don’t know how pen names work in terms of awards. It’s not a secret, in any case.) Her book takes a look at how humans would realistically react to a zombie infection: by shutting themselves in their houses and forgoing all human contact, then how they slowly reemerge. She talks about the simple things like day-to-day life (not many writers can make putting in contacts interesting, but it’s because she tells you why. Again: backstory is important.) Her infection is slow moving, and I think she was very realistic the way she portrayed the world's reaction. Eventually, the government stops caring who dies in an effort to contain the virus. Eventually, a few smartasses decide it's a good idea to weaponize the virus. Inevitably, it's the nerds who save the day.

All in all, a great book. I definitely recommend it. It's been a long time since I've posted a review! (It's been a long time since I finished a book.) I'll wait to rank the book until I've completely finished it, but it will definitely be happening today.

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