When I picked up Mira Grant’s Feed at the local bookstore from the “spooky reads for Halloween” section, I was expecting spine-tingling zombie-horror with a fresh twist. Well, I got my twist but not so much horrifying zombie-action. This book certainly has zombies which are integral to the story line and creation of the world; it lacks excessive zombie-attacks and rampant outbreaks. This probably has to do with the fact that it begins over twenty years after the first outbreak known as “The Rising.” The government more or less has a lock-down on the infected – hazard areas have been designated with different levels of zoning (seriously, people need specific permits to enter higher level hazard zones), and the security industry is booming with all of the measures people take to keep zombies at bay and outbreaks minimal.
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, the virus 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 come out, even if it kills them.
The main character and narrator is Georgia Mason – or rather George – a blogger in a world where journalism has majorly turned to the internet. Early on, we learn that’s because other media sources (TV, newspaper) didn’t report initial outbreaks effectively deeming them hoaxes or made up some other illness as the reason. Instead, well-connected bloggers were the ones who brought the truth to light and provided survival guides in the early months/years of dealing with the undead. In the blogging world there are three different types of bloggers:
- “Newsies” who are journalists hell-bent on finding the facts and reporting the truth.
- “Irwins” who prefer the field action and poking dead things with sticks to see what happens all for the sake of daredevil entertainment.
- “Fictionals” who write poetry, short stories, novellas, etc. to distract readers from the woes of living in a post-Rising world full of infected.
George is a strong, competent, and intelligent Newsie. Her brother, Shaun, is a fearless, suave, and smart Irwin. They are two members of a three-person team running a blogging site based out of Berkeley, California. The third is a feelsy, religious, and tech-savvy Fictional, Georgette aka Buffy. Anyone well-versed in zombie media will note the numerous references to characters in well-known zombie movies/TV shows (and straight up shout-outs to the good ol’ George A. Romero).
The trio set out to cover the campaign trail of Presidential-hopeful, Senator Peter Ryman. And this is a really big deal for bloggers as Ryman is the first candidate to specifically request that bloggers join his official press pool. The novel really picks up when George and company are traveling around the country with Ryman and his entourage. Without giving away any of the exciting details, I can tell you that sabotage, espionage, infection testing, decontamination, zombie outbreaks, more infection testing, political intrigue, betrayal, terrorism, infection testing (seriously, Grant really wants readers to feel how oppressive and bothersome going through security measures in order to move about anywhere is in this post-Rising world), explosions, tragedy, and a cat all make appearances throughout this story. And for me some of the most terrifying parts had to do with the actions and words of some unsavory living people not zombies.
While I enjoyed and viciously devoured Feed, I wouldn’t categorize it as a BLOODY ZOMBIE HORROR. It fits more into the GRIPPING SOCIO-POLITICAL SCI-FI THRILLER with zombies category. If you’re looking for constant zombie-clawing at the door action, people frantically trying to escape the infected, and superfluous gore and bloodshed, you won’t get it here. But if you want a thrilling novel which provides commentary not only on politics but also social constructs, the media, technology, and just happens to utilize zombies to further the plot and provide some creep-factor, then I recommend you check out Feed and ask yourself if it was worth it.