Feed. On the one hand, I love zombie books, and there was some cool worldbuilding. On the other hand, the characters were often annoying and cliche, the exposition was slow, and there was excessive self-righteousness about the world of blogging. Deadline suffers from all the same flaws, but I enjoyed it anyway.
Deadline picks up a few months after the end of Feed.
Shaun has taken control of After the End Times, the news site he ran
with his sister, Georgia. Georgia died from a zombie infection at the
end of the last book, but she's not gone. Shaun still talks with her,
inside his head (he'll punch you if you comment about it,
though--something he mentions about two dozen times). When a CDC
researcher who faked her own death shows up at their offices, they begin
to investigate a giant conspiracy designed to cover up truths about
Kellis-Amberlee, the virus responsible for zombies.
I was annoyed at having Shaun as a narrator. He has a tough-guy, "I
don't care what anyone else says demeanor" that comes out a bit forced.
However, I discovered I didn't mind him as much as I did in Feed,
perhaps because he's talking to Georgia less, and the most groan-worthy
moments were usually a part of their conversations. The additional
characters--Becks (an Irwin), Maggie (head of the fictionals),
Alaric--are welcome, though they're not given much personality as they
mostly just do whatever Shawn says.
The initial conspiracy reveal is kinda neat.
It's a nuanced problem, as you can understand the CDC's desire to keep
the information quiet for public safety and Shaun's desire to have free
knowledge. However, this subtlety is quickly done away with as the CDC
becomes a cartoonish villain (the main guy even does the "let me explain
everything to you before I kill you" spiel, just as in Feed).
This is disappointing, as the characters then spend much of the book on
the run from the CDC only to decide to infiltrate the CDC again and
confront a researcher--cause, uh, that'll solve everything. Most of the rest of the novel is the crew sitting around, waiting for
stuff to happen and not doing anything about what they know. Furthermore, like in Feed, Deadline is
more about living in a world with zombies than about zombies
themselves. The walking dead only make brief appearances, in fact, in
the beginning and end of the novel.
Grant has learned some from the book before, as the
enormously tedious descriptions of blood tests are significantly
reduced. However, there's still a lot of repetition, like characters
"raising their eyebrows" whenever Shaun talks to Georgia in his head or
Shaun's incessant descriptions of drinking Diet Coke because Georgia
wants one. Characters are stunned into silence or incredulous, over and
I listened to both Feed and Deadline on
audiobook, but this time I listened while cleaning and packing up my
house. I found the book more enjoyable this way (last time I listened in
a car ride) since I wasn't as focused on the book and could more easily
gloss over the annoying parts.
I've come down pretty critically, but, in the end, I listened to the entirety of both books and had a pretty good time doing so. There's some really stupid parts and there's plenty that doesn't make a lot of sense, but it's not a bad ride.