"Rise up while you can." (Georgia Mason)
The year was 2014. It was the year we cured cancer, the year we cured the common cold, and the year the dead started to walk. It was the year of the Rising.
The year was 2039. The world didn't end when the zombies came, it just got worse. Georgia and Shaun Mason set out on the biggest story of their generation. They uncovered the biggest conspiracy since the Rising and realized that to tell the truth, sacrifices have to be made.
Now, the year is 2041, and the investigation that began with the election of President Ryman is much bigger than anyone had assumed. With too much left to do and not much time left to do it in, the surviving staff of After the End Times must face mad scientists, zombie bears, rogue government agencies - and if there's one thing they know is true in post-zombie America, it's this:
Things can always get worse.
Blackout is the conclusion to the epic trilogy that began in the Hugo-nominated Feed and the sequel, Deadline.
©2012 Hachette (P)2012 Mira Grant
Warning: BIG FAT SPOILERS!
Okay, I actually saw that coming, but I'm still kinda surprised she actually went there.
So, if you have read the first two books in Mira Grant's Newsflesh trilogy, you know that Georgia Mason died at the end of book one, and was brought back to life (as a clone) at the end of book two.
I'm not a big fan of "cheats" like this. Throughout the second book, Grant coped with having killed off one of her main characters in the first book by making Shaun "crazy," so Georgia becomes a permanent presence in his head, thus allowing the living main character to have conversations with his dead sister.
This continues in book three, even past the point where Shaun finally finds out about the cloned Georgia. I was expecting there to be some additional sort of "twist" to explain how the Georgia in Shaun's head could be telling him things Shaun didn't himself actually know. But nope, it was just crazy.
The Newsflesh trilogy, supposedly a zombie post-apocalypse series, aspires to be a political allegory as well. The "real" story is that in the wake of the unleashing of the Kellis-Amberlee virus, which causes the newly-dead to rise up again as viral-animated cannibalistic infection vectors, American society has responded to this terrifying change in the status quo by accepting a "new normal" that includes blood tests at every door, elevator, and vehicle, shoot-to-kill orders, safety protocols that make walking out in the open or doing pretty much anything but huddling within fortified enclaves unthinkable, and of course, listening to a government-coopted news media lie about everything.
Sound like Mira Grant might have an agenda here?
The point is pressed home hard in the concluding volume, in which Shaun and George and their surviving newsies find themselves on the run, working with mad scientists and crazy hackers with crazier gun moll sidekicks, swearing to unleash vengeance and The Truth. And they also kill a zombie bear. A ZOMBIE GRIZZLY BEAR!
Like the first two books, it's fast-paced adventure from start to finish. Whenever things start to get slow, you can bet something is about to get blown up or another horde of zombies will come moaning around the corner.
The Center for Disease Control, already revealed to be a little shady in the previous book, turn out to be an Evil Government Conspiracy that is literally holding the President hostage. And there are some new revelations about the Kellis-Amberlee virus, and of course, there is the whole cloning bit, where they managed to clone Georgia and perform a memory transfer from dead Georgia's brain, so that the clone is kinda sorta the real Georgia, at least real enough to convince Shaun.
Which is where things get really creepy, because you know how I commented in my review of the last book that these two are... disturbingly close, and it's kind of weird that neither of them seemed to have an actual love interest?
Yeah, the author went there.
I cannot say I was shocked or surprised, but between Shaun being a constant jerk even before Georgia died, and an even worse jerk after, and then when clone Georgia comes back, he is, as Becks points out so succinctly, "an incestuous necrophiliac"... this was sure a creepy twist to throw in the finale.
Mira Grant's writing is clever and full of banter, but sometimes the forced "punchiness" of it (like we are constantly being reminded how Irwins, in the face of imminent death, cope by making wisecracks) became wearying.
I also hesitated to label this series "YA" before, but there were too many points in Blackout where I felt talked down to by the author spelling things out through unnecessary dialog. For example, upon being told that they will not be allowed to continue without passing a checkpoint, Shaun asks: "And if we don't pass the checkpoint tests?"
Gee, what do you think? Three entire books have been spent hammering the point home. This is not even a question anybody living in this world would ask. Everyone knows what the "safety protocols" are in the post-Rising world.
Grant also gets a bit heavy-handed with some of the emails and blog entries that begin each chapter. Like: "Shaun is alive. Repeat, Shaun is alive!" Repeated in an email. Now, think about it. If you are telling somebody something really important in an email, you might underline it or use boldface or something, and you might say "Repeat: blah blah blah" once for dramatic emphasis. But you probably don't repeat it at the start and end like you are sending it out via radio broadcast on an uncertain transmission.
I know, small details. But they annoyed me.
For all that, I enjoyed the story and this was a pretty solid conclusion to the trilogy. Mira Grant/Seanan McGuire is not about to become my favorite author: this series was pretty much brain candy. But it's tasty brain candy, even if you aren't normally into zombie novels. I am docking book three a bit for the juvenile flourishes, so 3.5 stars, rounded to 4 because I liked the series as a whole.
Yes I would, provided the synopsis was something that I was interested in. I enjoyed most of this series, just thought the last half of the last book fell kinda flat.
I enjoyed the juxtaposition of the 2 narrators! Lent a little more drama to it, which was needed by the end.
Yes, I would like seeing it made into a TV series, starring Jane Levy and Aaron Paul.
I snapped this book up as soon as I knew it was out, and I was not disappointed with the first half of the book! The last half dissolved into a watered-down conspiracy theory mess, with a heretofore unknown gov't agency riding is as the Cavalry.
Overall excellent series. I just wish the author had made the ending as striking as everything leading up to it.
I like Jack Reacher style characters regardless of setting. Put them in outer space, in modern America, in a military setting, on an alien planet... no worries. Book has non moralistic vigilante-justice? Sign me up! (oh, I read urban fantasy, soft and hard sci-fi, trashy vampire and zombie novels too)
Wow. Conspiracy anyone? About 3/4 of this book is even better than the middle book, which was about twice as good as the first book! The only thing I like better than a well-written conspiracy theory is a well-written conspiracy theory that involves zombies! Or medical interventions that 'accidentally' end up creating zombies anyway...
Was it as excellent as it could have been? Not quite... there was just a bit too much "coverage" of Shawn's insanity. I think there must have been a couple dozen mentions of how crazy he was and how one didn't recover from insanity in a day. Then at the end, the insanity just disappears, or, at least, it just stops being mentioned. The wrap-up is quite hasty as well... considering we had 3 books to get us here, it was all said and done in only a chapter or two.
It also had a bit more feel of a journal-style book than the earlier ones, and we see the same event/time period through the eyes of more than one character via these journal-like entries. It caused the suspense level to suffer a bit, but, otherwise, it was a nice way to see what was going on in other people's heads.
Overall it was a believable (and yet, thankfully, still far-fetched) and satisfying conclusion to the trilogy. Do you have to suspend disbelief? Duh, of course, it's a zombie novel... but it's quite a bit more thoughtful (conspiratorial) than the typical hack 'n slash. The narration is fine, but I preferred the male narrator of book two.
I dislike it when a series sharply changes tone(and or changes maguffin) in the last book
sort of an anti climax I thought
I liked the narrator of the first 2 books much better, and the audio quality in general was a bit disappointing, this one is not up to the same standard
I cannot describe enoughhow fantastic this story is. from beginning to end, I have enthused every second. I was riveted, I laughed, I cried, I screamed.
Absolutely. In fact, the entire Newsflesh trilogy is on my "listen again" list as soon as I'm done processing everything that happened.
Georgia! Georgia, and how smart she is, and how she deals with who and what she is.
Paula Christensen back as the female narrator was fantastic. I love how she gives life to George...her voice just sounds right for the character. On the other hand, I have NO idea of why we have a third male narrator in as many books. The male narrator for Deadline was perfect! While I think I might enjoy Michael Goldstrom narrating something different, where he isn't narrating from inside the head of a damaged twentysomething, his voice is WAY too old to carry Shaun's narration believably.
Especially given the younger male voices we've already heard for him. So it was half perfect, half entirely wrong.
I cried. A few times. The reunion scene, for one. Becks...yeah, cried there.
Don't you just love a great story well told?
The author just stretches my suspension of disbelief (i.e. verisimilitude) to ridiculous proportion with the concept of cloning. To get me to buy it takes a lot more than having a "metal snapshot" of a brain. It IS a fascinating idea but it doesn't really go anywhere except to add a lot of self doubt to a character. The author continues to do a really sketchy job creating settings and bullets will come out of nowhere but what the room looks like in which that could happen is often poorly (or not at all) described. The narrator for the main woman in the story sounds great and unchanged. They changed the male narrator (at least he sounded much different) and most of the time he is fine but not is as consistently in his very cynical and harsh character as in the second book.
I think this series has been my favorite in the zombie genre overall, and this is a good solid ending to the series. The plot line resolution with the parents was well done, and a lot of the loose ends tied up. I didn't think this one felt as fresh, as fast, or as hip as the earlier two in the series but it was still a good read.
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