Monday, November 26, 2012
Book Review: Deadline by Mira Grant
Author: Mira Grant
Publication Date: June 1, 2011
Source: borrowed from the good ol' public library
Plot Summary from Goodreads:
Shaun Mason is a man without a mission. Not even running the news organization he built with his sister has the same urgency as 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 CDC researcher fakes her own death and appears on his doorstep with a ravenous pack of zombies in tow, Shaun has a newfound interest in life. Because she brings news-he may have put down the monster who attacked them, but the conspiracy is far from dead.
Now, Shaun hits the road to find what truth can be found at the end of a shotgun.
You may remember that I reviewed book #1 in this trilogy (Feed) not too long ago. To summarize, I loved it--I thought the world-building was excellent, the zombies weren't overdone, and the voice of Georgia as narrator was awesome. Overall, great start to this series.
Let me start with all the good things about Deadline (because overall, I did enjoy this installment of the series as well). First, the action! I thought that Grant did an even better job building suspense in this book than she did in Feed. Deadline deals with a pretty short time period (a week or two), but the suspense is drawn out, and the climactic scenes are worth the wait. I was constantly wondering who in the group was a double-crosser...I was often wrong, but the suspicion was always there. And as with Feed, there is a big oh-snap-didn't-see-that-coming (actually, I'd say two of them) right towards the end. I will have no problem running out to read the last book in this trilogy, Blackout.
Also, as with Feed, the author's grasp of virology is awesome. Total A+ in the world-building department. Part of what I love so much about the Newsflesh trilogy is that it's a zombie book with a pretty solid science background. Zombies in and of themselves are not entirely believable creatures, but with the virological explanations that Grant weaves into her novels, it makes you want to run out and buy a shotgun. Just in case.
However, I felt kind of bipolar about this book at times. On the one hand, I was completely addicted to the action, the scientific whys and hows, and wanting to know what happened next. On the other hand, I found myself completely annoyed for significant sections of the novel.
(Now, HERE THERE BE SPOILERS. Read on only if you want Feed ruined for you!)
In Deadline, the narrator has switched over to Shaun, now that his sister George is dead via zombie conversion and subsequent bullet to the head. In my review of Feed, George's death at the end was the "risky move" that I applauded Mira Grant for. It's pretty ballsy to kill off your protagonist in any book, but especially in a trilogy. I didn't see it coming, and I thought it was a bold slap-in-the-face to your typical reading structure. So I was very excited to see what book #2 had in store.
Unfortunately, I was immediately disappointed to see that George isn't 100% "dead", at least by Shaun's standards. He still continues to hear George's voice in his head, to the point where he carries on conversations with her pretty much at all times (and even hallucinates visions of her occasionally). This is explained away as Shaun's inability to grieve/let go of George's death, but as a reader, it felt like one thing: the author's inability to stand by her decision to kill George off. I feel like Grant saw George's death as too risky, too vulnerable to losing readership, so she decided to keep her present as the voice in Shaun's head. I found his conversations with her to just be downright annoying (along with his repeated threat to "punch in the face" anyone who mentioned said conversations). Not to mention, they take a turn for the awkwardly-weird when Shaun starts to get romantically involved with another character.
Now, if you've read Deadline, you know that the finale of the novel SORT OF supports George's lack of disappearance from Shaun's mind...and Blackout might give me more information on that too. But as of now, I am still not entirely convinced that Shaun needed to be hearing her voice throughout the entire novel. It really grated on me, and was the #1 thing that kept this from being a totally smooth read.
So overall--I'd still give this book 4 stars on Goodreads. The narration was super (super super) annoying at times, but the world of the Rising and the action that ensued was too good to make me stay away. I'll be reading Blackout for sure...and based on Deadline's ending, I doubt I'll be having the same qualms about the narration anyway.