by Mira Grant
The year was 2014. We had cured cancer. We had beaten 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, bloggers Georgia and Shaun Mason are on the trail of the biggest story of their lives - the dark conspiracy behind the infected. The truth will get out, even if it kills them.
Have you ever had a book take you completely by surprise, to the extent that what you thought would end being up a book you enjoyed ended up being a book you adored?
Very recently, Feed was, for me, exactly that kind of book.
I can say without a doubt that Feed is not only one of my favourite reads of 2014, but also one of my favourite reads of all time. I loved this book. So much.
Feed is the first book in the Newsflesh trilogy, and follows bloggers Georgia and Shaun Mason, and their friend Buffy, who are hired to follow and cover the presidential campaign of a popular senator. They live in a world in which both cancer and the common cold have been cured, but when these two cures met and mutated they transformed into a virus that reanimates the dead.
Civilisation hasn't collapsed in Feed, at least not in the first world countries, there just happen to be zombies and measures have been taken to prevent the spread of the virus. The amount of detail Grant has poured into this world - from the hygiene procedures to the exclusion of red meat from our diets - is just exquisite, and even though Georgia, our main protagonist, spends a lot of the novel explaining certain things about her society to us I didn't find it boring at all.
What I love about this book is that it's unlike any other zombie story I've come across - in fact I'd even go so far as to say this isn't really a zombie story. There are zombies in it, but Feed is a lot more focused on people and the pursuit of truth. As someone who's always been somewhat cynical when it comes to journalism, this novel gave me renewed hope that there are journalists out there who want to find the truth and tell it.
Throughout the novel there are some very powerful and thought-provoking passages from Georgia's blog, and I loved reading them. Georgia has quickly become one of my favourite heroines. I love how committed she is to her job and to sharing the truth with the world. Her narration was a joy to read; she's funny and honest and just gorgeous. In fact considering this book is a little on the chunky side (my edition is 571 pages) I flew through it! Then again, I'm not usually intimidated by larger books unless the page count gets into the thousands, so keep that in mind if you prefer a 300-400 page read.
The entire cast of side characters in Feed were also a delight. Georgia and Shaun's relationship was lovely, and it was so refreshing to read the first book in a trilogy that didn't hint towards any romance whatsoever. I'm not an enemy of romance by any means, but I love series in which romance doesn't develop instantly, and to be honest it's a nice change to read a series that doesn't prioritise a love story over the quality of the plot.
Feed is also the first book to make me sob - really, really weep - since I read The Book Thief a couple of years ago. It's not unusual for me to cry over a book, but it takes a really good book to make me blub and the ending of this book made me sob my heart out. This book has one of the most shocking endings I have ever come across, and if you plan on reading this trilogy then please don't look into the second or third books until you've finished the first - some editions of the second book include a huge spoiler for the end of the first book in the blurb!
Honestly I have nothing to criticise about this book. It's become one of my favourite books of all time and I'm in love with it. I've heard some readers say the villain of this book was a little too obvious, and while I agree to some extent I found the protagonists' story so exciting that I didn't mind that. What I will say is that I wouldn't recommend this to any reader looking for a 'blood, guts and gore' kind of zombie novel; Feed is less about the zombies and more about how the rest of the world is reacting to them, so it would make a great read for anyone out there who's squeamish but still wants to read a zombie novel.
I love this novel, and this trilogy, and I highly, highly recommend it!