Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Review: Deadline (Newsflesh #2)

Mira Grant, 2011, Orbit
(Warning: the following review contains spoilers for the first book in the Newsflesh Trilogy, Feed.)

Shaun Mason is a man without a mission. Not even running the news organisation he built with his sister has the same urgency it used to. Playing with dead things just doesn't seem as fun when you've lost as much as he has. But when a researcher from the CDC fakes her own death and appears on Shaun's doorstep with a horde of ravenous zombies in tow, Shaun finds a new purpose in life; because it seems that, while the man who murdered Shaun's sister is dead, the conspiracy behind that act is far from buried...

Deadline is, of course, the highly-anticipated sequel to the spectacular Feed - and I'm truly overjoyed to report that Mira Grant has delivered a novel every bit as brilliant, engrossing, and downright terrifying as its predecessor. Shaun Mason provides a fascinating replacement as narrator for the ill-fated Georgia, being a deeply damaged, self-destructive and, frankly, mentally ill character (holding animated conversations with his dead sister, among other things). The plot gallops along at breakneck speed, through numerous twists and turns, to deliver a twist that - while perhaps not as shocking as that which concluded Feed - is nonetheless superbly powerful, and will whet the appetite of any reader for the final installment of this series.

Perhaps the most wonderful thing about Deadline is how Grant, as in the first book, maintains an atmosphere of 'mundane dread' - the feeling that the terrors of the tale are part of everyday existence for her characters - while keeping actual zombie appearances to a minimum; her perfectly-extrapolated future society is one in which everything the characters do is in some way regulated by the constant threat of death and/or zombification. It's emotionally exhausting to read at times, yet absolutely riveting, and one of the most rewarding pieces of zomfic to hit the shelves since...well, Feed.

I'm not going to ask you to go out and buy a copy of Deadline. I'm telling you. Do it, and do it now. And pick up a copy of Feed also, if by some miracle you've not done so already. This is not negotiable.

And if you don't...well. I know where you live. And I'm real hungry...

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