Feed (Newsflesh, Book 1)

Feed - Mira Grant I'm going to recognize the fact that "Feed" by Mira Grant has its share of technical flaws, not just in the way of some minor factual discrepancies but also in the measure that it tends to info-dump in large spurts and emphasize some glaring stereotypes that made me roll my eyes a little upon reflection. Yet saying this, I've never read a more brilliant book that combines politics, blogging, and the impending threat of zombies in a dystopian setting while told in the eyes of two main characters that I came to love over the course of the book. I often say some of the best books are not only those that pull you through a range of different emotions and make you care about the characters, causes, among other aspects within, but they also make you think long after you turn the last page. I've read "Feed" twice, and my opinion hasn't changed even through the second reading - I know it's the kind of book I will definitely read again. Even in the mix of learning about the world that's developed in this novel - it's norms, its values, and the characters that interact in the scheme of things - it's hard not to be drawn into this story depending on what you're looking for. This is not the typical zombie novel, and for me, it was refreshing to read something that steps away from the point and shoot mentality and grotesque feeding that you see in some novels of this nature. Though to be fair - I tend to love those novels too, just depends on how it's presented. In "Feed," Georgia and Shaun Mason are sibling bloggers who search for answers regarding the outbreak of a mutant infection known as the Kellis-Amberlee virus, which causes the infected host to become (what else) zombies. The virus has taken hold on a global scale, and while Georgia and Shaun make their living as bloggers who report to the world the truth about the things going on in the larger world around them, their role becomes much more prominent when they're recruited to follow Senator Ryman's campaign towards the White House. One of the strongest points I've noted through the work are not only Grant's worldbuilding within this zombie afflicted future, but also bringing relevant ideals/issues to the forefront within this constructed world - especially from a journalistic standpoint. I totally loved the journalistic angle this book takes, and Georgia and Shaun are equal parts media-savvy and driven for-the-sake-of-the-story as well as sympathetic/empathetic to the events around them.I also loved the intricacy of the infectious disease angles this book takes. I'll admit that Grant made my heart skip a beat when the blood testing scenes came across, especially after a high-tension scene where some of the characters were possibly infected.It's very well-written and engrossing if you're into the political/journalistic/infectious disease angle. If you're not, then there's actually enough wit and charm in the dialogue between the characters and the larger cast to keep it interesting in many points of the novel, and enough hard-hitting moments to have you anticipating the next turn of events. While I would say that some of the plot twists and turns were things I predicted (to a degree) as they unfolded in the novel, the way they unfolded, and the amount of investment that Grant places in the characters, tugged at my heartstrings. The biggest twist towards the end of the novel I did not see coming, and it did make me feel for the larger cast of this novel and pulled me all the way to the ending.I would say that "Feed" is a blend of sci-fi, horror, and intricate political/sociological thriller, though I wouldn't say necessarily that it's a typical YA novel (I would argue it's probably aimed at older teen to adult in terms of audience), but it's a work I would certainly recommend for someone looking for a read with a diversified palette that makes you think about the struggle to fight for what one believes in, and what it means to survive in the most difficult of odds. It also makes it clear that true monsters can exist not just among the dead, but among the living as well.Overall score: 4.5/5