This is the final installment in the Newsflesh Series started with “Feed.” “Feed”is a genuinely fantastic book, and “Deadline”the next in the series was good with one hell of a cliffhanger, but “Blackout” was underwhelming. It makes me sad to say it.
For people new to the series I will try to keep out spoilers. ‘After the End Times’ is a group of young bloggers who report and write about a future America where people have learned to live with the zombie virus. Parts of the world have been given over to the dead because the areas are either not worth reclaiming or it would be too dangerous to do so. The virus that causes one to become a zombie is called Kellis-Amberlee. It is a scientific mistake of two different cures, one to cure cancer and the other to cure the common cold. They succeeded, no one had cold or cancer. The combination spelled disaster and once you die you becomes one of the living dead. Our group never lived before there were zombies and accepts them as part of life.
In the first book ‘After the End Times’ got an amazing opportunity to follow one of the republican parties political campaign but there was great cost that came with this opportunity. Conspiracies and death riddle the book and it’s fascinating.
The second book processes the loss ‘After the End Time’s’ was dealt. They have fame but it has left a bitter taste. Through Deadline our main character, Shaun Mason, is the one who is left the most unstable. His relationship to his adopted sister, which is extremely close and dependant due to their upbringing, becomes only stranger. Old conspiracies get reopened. The initial villains may not be the only people responsible. Shaun is vengeful and on a mission to deliver retribution at all costs. We meet CDC characters and rogue mad scientists along the way. Some pieces felt slow but Grant’s cliffhanger is a doozy and made me acquire “Blackout”immediately, despite the fact I was broke
“Blackout” gave me closure and allowed me to revisit characters I’m attached to. It did wrap up the story and tie it together, but it lacked action. For a zombie book the actual zombies took the backseat. Part of the reason I like the series is it is intellectual and isn’t just zombie attack after another mindless zombie attack, still, I felt a bit cheated on that front. There is a lot of character introspection, and discussion of if the media should always tell the truth. Are there times the damage they will cause mean they should keep quiet? Who should make those decisions, and does the public still have the right to know?
My biggest complaint is with how the book resolved questions about Georgia, Shaun’s sister, and Shaun and her relationship. It felt forced and sensationalist. Some would say it’s sick or disturbing. I’m not in that camp. I just felt it could be handled in a more interesting and more likely way. The conspiracy wrap up takes even a zombie story into realms of impossibility it’s hard for the reader to accept. I guess I’m saying having read the other two I could never have not read “Blackout,” but I wanted more. I also truly believe Grant could have done better. I don’t know if it was editing or the pressure of concluding the series but it was lukewarm.
Now that I feel I have torn this book and author apart I have to say “Feed” is still a favorite. I am not giving up on Mira Grant. I absolutely am going to read “Parasite.” Grant is talented, and even if I didn’t love this book I got to revisit characters I love and get closure, as I mentioned above.