Author: Mira Grant
Rating: 4 out of 5
This review contains spoilers of the first book in this series, Feed. This review does NOT contain spoilers for Deadline. I'm sorry folks, I know I said that I would not include spoilers in my reviews, but it is unavoidable in this case. All of my feelings for the second book branch off of large events in the first book, and I would be unable to write a complete review if I did not refer to them directly. If you have not yet read Feed, check out my spoiler-free review here. If you want a spoiler-free review of Deadline, check out this review on Goodreads. But, if you have read Feed or do not care about spoilers, click on "read more" below to continue!
The events of Deadline take place about a year after those of Feed. Zombies are still on the prowl, humanity is still living in fear, and government officials are still corrupt. Shaun Mason takes the reins of the popular After The End Times online news network and tries to get to the bottom of a government conspiracy that lead to the death of his sister. With old friends and new, Shaun struggles to stay alive and retain his dwindling sanity.
Unlike Feed, the second novel is narrated by Shaun Mason, a character that was stuck pretty much in the background of the first book. Georgia Mason was such a powerful character in Feed that she stood head and shoulders over her reckless brother, and Shaun was relegated to the role of comic relief. Now that Shaun gets to be the narrator, the story takes on another feel entirely. Instead of thoughtfulness and introspection, the thread of the story is seeded with Shaun's sarcasm and urgency.
This change in narrative is good and bad, in my opinion. The good part is that Shaun often feels like a much more flawed character than his sister. He never really knows the right things to say and is left to doing whatever comes into his mind at the time. This makes the plot events much more interesting. The bad part is simply that the narrative was so much better when both Georgia and Shaun was on the scenes. The two characters balanced each other out, and the feel of the second book suffers because Shaun is flying solo.
The only other big part that I didn't enjoy about the book is the shift into the realm of Science Fiction. And although mutating viruses that cause people to turn into zombies can be considered Science Fiction, the leaps of logical faith that Grant expects us to make in Deadline are almost too large. The last chapter in particular had me shaking my head in disbelief, unsure of how the final book in the trilogy was going to handle it.
So what was good about Deadline? Well, everything else. With the giant character of Georgia behind the curtains, we get to learn so much more about the other members of the news team. Each one has their own great personality, and they all mesh together very well. The reader feels that they all truly care for one another, which is great. At the beginning of each chapter are snippits of blog posts from the main characters, which allows you to really get into their world.
The zombies, as always, are second fiddle to the giant political game of chess that goes on around the characters. In truth, the zombies are much less scary to the characters than the potentially deceitful humans around them.
The second novel of a trilogy is usually the weakest of the three. And although Deadline may not be as shiny and new as Feed it holds its own as a great SciFi/Horror novel.
4 out of 5 zombies getting poked by sticks!