12 September 2016

Review: Blackout by Mira Grant

Review: Blackout by Mira GrantI have had a lot of fun with Mira Grant's Newflesh series. I posted short reviews of the first two books (Feed and Deadline) over the summer, and I finally finished the third book this past weekend.

Thoughts on the universe: Yes, this is a zombie apocalypse story, but the world hasn't changed much and the ways in which it did change make sense, considering there are flesh-eating zombie people and animals out there. The major news sources in the 2040s are blogs, but newies are now licensed and the competition for ratings (page views) is pretty high stakes.

People still live in houses and drive cars and travel by airplane. There is still a president and vice president. There are still government agencies, like the FBI and CDC.

The major technological changes, besides believable upgrades in computers and phones and the like, have to do with protecting the populace from zombies and making sure that inadvertent contamination (especially from infected blood and tissue) is almost nil. Because it's a virus that turns organisms into zombies, people must take blood tests before entering any building, some cars, and even elevators.

The idea that a nasty virus could have come about as part of bioengineering experiments to cure cancer and other diseases doesn't seem all that far-fetched. The idea that government agencies or rich people or power-hungry crazies would try to turn a horrible situation into their advantage doesn't particularly surprise me either.

Some random things I like: Everyone, or so it seems, has a blog. I love some of the blog titles and wish I had been so clever. Although I realize you kind of have to have read the books to understand why I love these blog titles, I'm still going to share them: "Charming Not Sincere," "Living Dead Girl," "Adaptive Immunities,"and "Fish and Clips." Our heroes work for the site "After the End Times."

Blackout (and the whole series) is peppered with plenty of snark and humor to offset any spooky bits. Plus I like the good action scenes: fighting zombies, escaping the bad guys, and a few gunfights. Oh and who can forget the zombie grizzly!

Specific things about Blackout: I was slightly disappointed in Deadline because there wasn't as much action as there was in Feed, but I was happy to see that Mira Grant returned to fast-paced scenes in Blackout. At this point I was also feeling pretty attached to the characters and cared what happened to them. Grant takes a cue from George R. R. Martin: just because you're main character doesn't mean you'll be around to see how the story ends. I think that makes for some exciting reading.

In addition, although I sometimes thought I knew where the story was going, Grant surprised me. Who is bad? Who is good? How the heck are a group of bloggers going to expose a government conspiracy and live to tell about it? Do they even want to try? Lots of good questions, and Blackout kept me guessing.

Recommendations: Is the Newsflesh series deep literary fiction? God no. And who cares. Sometimes I just want to be entertained. If you're looking for an entertaining (and a little unsettling) look into the near future, pick up this trilogy. I have since discovered that Grant wrote a couple of more books (or collections of short stories or novellas?) set in the Newsflesh world. I plan on getting to them soon. (Blackout was published by Orbit in 2012. I bought all three audiobooks.)

Audiobooks: Each audiobook is read by two people, and the full narrator list is Paula Christensen, Michael Goldstrom, Jesse Bernstein, Chris Patton, and Nell Geisslinger. Although the narrators changed from book to book (except Christensen appeared twice), it didn't bother me at all, which is saying something because normally I hate a change of narrators within a series. The characterizations, accents, pacing, pronunciations, and so forth were consistent through the three audiobooks. I don't have much to say good or bad about the performances, I think I was more caught up in the story than I was being a discriminating listener. The audiobooks were all produced by Hachette Audio, and I recommend them.


Kailana 9/12/16, 8:30 AM  

Glad you enjoyed this trilogy!

Kay 9/12/16, 9:10 AM  

I think I might have Feed on my Kindle. Can't remember. I've never been attracted to zombies. I love witches and ghosts and haunted houses and like vampires and werewolves well enough. Zombies though...not so much. However, we've been watching the iZombie TV show and I'm rethinking my 'zombie prejudice'. Plus, somehow I bought Feed a long while back. Think I need to read this trilogy and see if I've moved over to the 'zombie' side. LOL

rhapsodyinbooks 9/12/16, 9:36 AM  

I agree that sometimes one just wants to have fun reading!

Tina 9/12/16, 10:58 AM  

I would like to read this series. As you said, it's entertainment value. A break from my police procedurals.

Mae Travels 9/12/16, 1:01 PM  

Zombies seem to appeal to a lot of writers these days. You show how it works!

best... mae at maefood.blogspot.com

Daryl 9/12/16, 2:28 PM  

i love zombies, i love post apocalypse stories and i downloaded Feed on your recco tho i havent gotten around to it yet .. i am getting over being pissed that Throne of Glass book 5 left me hanging ... grrrrrr

Greg 9/12/16, 2:34 PM  

This does sound good, and I like that the main characters aren't necessarily safe. Like in GRRM's books that keeps you on your toes a bit. :) I've dabbled in Mira Grant's stuff having just read her mermaid novella Rolling in the Deep, and after seeing good reviews for these I'm seriously thinking of trying these.

Iliana 9/12/16, 8:21 PM  

Sounds like a fun series even if I'm not a big fan of zombies. I do like a dystopian setting though. Gotta think about trying this one out!

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