Let Me Put My Suggestions In You: The Newsflesh Series
There seems to be an obsession with the zombie apocalypse in our current culture, not that I am complaining. With the CDC coming out with regulations here I think we all know we need to be prepared, and I will be. The Walking Dead, 28 Days Later, and World War Z are a few of the amazing movies and shows that have come out in recent years depicting the zombie apocalypse, leaving you terrified, thrilled, and blood-thirsty in your own way, even if it is for zombie brains on a baseball bat. So now seems like the perfect time to recommend what I find to be the best series of novels I have ever read, it just so happens to be a zombie series. The Newsflesh Series just surprised and blew me away, and it bodes well that I recommended it to several people who have never read a “zombie novel” and they agreed it was one of the best novels they have read too.
Let’s start with book #1: FEED
Two viruses have been created: one to cure the common cold and one to cure cancer…two bad they didn’t know they would react together in the environment and create the Kellis-Amberlee virus, aka the zombie virus. Which I might add, doesn’t everyone notice a theme here? Cures for cancer do NOT go well, we are meant to die, unless we become undead. In fact, on a side note, did you know they are working on a vaccine for cancer in dogs at MIT? This might not go so well….
As the outbreak happened, bloggers were to first to report things honestly and without censorship (that’s right, listen to this website people, it might save your life some day). Since they weren’t afraid to tell the truth as it was, they subsequently became the most widely respected news source.
Fast forward to the present (aka 30 years from now), and the novel centers around a group of bloggers following the zombie happenings as well as the current presidential campaign (which is quite different from what we think of as a political campaign considering half the country is now a dead-zone).
The character development in this novel is just great, and the roles bloggers take on is totally plausible. Different types of bloggers tend to write as a group for the same site. There are the traditional “newsies”, like Georgia Mason who heads this group we follow, and they live to tell the truth, to bring you the uncensored, emotional, riveting truth. That is the news, and they are all about the facts. Then there are the “Irwins”, like Georgia’s brother Shawn. The Irwins are appropriately named and basically are your typical adrenaline-junkie. Like their namesake, they put themselves in the most life-threatening situations, face to face with zombies, to bring in the ratings and get you hooked. Or as Shawn puts it, “they like poking things, especially dead things, with sticks”. And lastly there are the “fictionals”, whom in our day would probably have been goths or other artsy-folks. They love to express themselves artistically, whether it be through poetry, hosting movie marathons of previous zombie flicks (which is how a lot of them claim to have survived, it did afterall provide them with great training advice), or macabre photography.
Of course, Georgia’s persistent hunt for the truth leads her group into the middle of a conspiracy theory trying to sabotage the front-running presidential candidate they are reporting for. Since any mammal weighing more than 40 pounds can “amplify” in to a zombie, people were probably right to think the candidate and his wife were idiots for running a horse farm, even if they took state-of-the-art precautions to keep everyone safe. So naturally when half his family was killed by a stampeding herd of raging zombie horses, most people turned their head and said “Told you so”. Until Georgia and her crew uncovered evidence that the horses were purposely infected by someone so as to leave behind the biggest body count.
Rather than run home with their tails tucked between their legs, this group of bloggers becomes more dedicated than ever to uncover all the truths and expose EVERYONE for what they are in this political campaign. They are willing to die trying, even if it means they come back undead after that and die a second time. Saying anymore would give too much away, but I will say the ending of the novel is SO incredible, so emotionally heart-wrenching and riveting, that you will not be able to stop…
Hence Book #2: Deadline
This was my personal favorite in the series. The bloggers have given up their high hopes after mass casualties, thinking they’ve exposed enough and deserve some well-earned R&R. Of course, the death of some characters has left some of the remaining bloggers a little mentally unstable. Shawn becomes quite the basket-case as he continues to have conversations with his dead sister on a regular basis, claiming she is guiding them to where the next lead on a story might be. But just when everything seems to be settling out and the group can have some fun filming zombies in one of California’s dead-zone cities, leaving out the conspiracy theory mumbo-jumbo, a CDC doctor arrives at their door looking for help. She has many secrets she wants to help them uncover, and knows this group is just the group to help her reveal the government’s cover up of the century. Of course, the forces that want her silenced are hot on their trail. And there seems to be a never-ending zombie outbreak following close on their heels as they race across the country to various CDC centers.
This book has all the right one-liners, and has the perfect amount of action mixed with science. Several aspects of the KA virus are revealed, and the CDC’s illegal cloning operation also gets exposed. Although I found one of my favorite scenes to be one with a lack of action- an eerie emptiness as they drive through the barren wastelands in the middle of the country. See, our group just narrowly escaped another planned outbreak at a CDC lab where they discovered the hidden agenda of some of the CDC supervisors, but since that office was in the mid-west they are speeding across the Great Plains to get back to their hideout in California. They spend the whole trip driving through tornado country in a thunder storm, and their edginess is well-earned, as you just keep thinking (like them) that someone, or somethings, are just going to spring on them out of nowhere to keep them from spilling everything. But it doesn’t happen.
The relief is palpable as they pull in through the entryway to their safehouse, until they meet with those of their crew that stayed behind, and find out that over the last 3 days a massive outbreak was blown in with a hurricane, carried by mosquitoes, and taking over most of Florida. More dead people than have ever been seen since the outbreak itself 30 years ago are now being held in the state of Florida by the National Guard.
Rather than give anymore away (amazingly, that is just a small spoiler I exposed), I will just say that once again this book goes out with a bang. Two amazing things happen, and the last paragraph has you so shocked, thrilled, and excited you have to jump right into Book 3.
Book 3: Blackout
So much has happened, and so much needs to happen to wrap things up here. This book does an exemplary job of it. Some of the Masons’ past is brought up, and a sit down with Shawn’s parents was almost as terrifying as the zombies lurking the streets of their neighborhood. Several more rogue groups of bloggers join forces with our group, and for once an opposition force to the CDC is working to bring down the tyrants in power helping spread mutations of the KA virus around the country.
Once again the imagery of Mira Grant is phenomenal. I can still visualize perfectly in my mind the zombie outbreak planned for the White House, as some of our favorite groupies are trotting along the hallway and glance outside to see White House staffers staggering, moaning, and heading their way. I am going to leave my comments on the third book short since hopefully after having read my reviews of the first two I don’t need to convince you to pick this one up. (I don’t think you will be able to resist after getting to the ending of Deadline anyways). But I will leave you with two words that sum up the awesomeness that portray the awesomeness of this book: zombie grizzlies.
Of course, all good things must come to an end, and so does our trilogy here. Even though you might be salivating for more stories as great as this one at the end, I don’t think you will be disappointed with the conclusion. Go and indulge in your zombie obsession my friends, you will not be disappointed as zombies just don’t get much better than this.
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Posted on July 30, 2013, in Books, Geekology, Let Me Put My Suggestions In You, Recommendations, Reviews and tagged Blackout, Deadline, Feed, Georgia Mason, Mira Grant, Newsflesh, Zombies. Bookmark the permalink. 4 Comments.