I would like to thank everyone who was disappointed that this was not really a zombie story. I was not going to buy it until I read the reviews. Your..Show More » disappointment gave me the encouragement I needed to take a chance on it. It was a great listen. I love the author's October Daye stories and this was just as good. She is a hard hitting story teller, and the idealism is a nice change not usually found in a distopian worlds. I don't want to provide any spoilers, but I will say none of my predictions for the conclusion was correct.
As for the reader's slight lisp, it helped make the characters more real for me.
I look forward to the next book, though I know I will have to steel myself to listen to it because of the emotional intensity.
Contrary to the first book here we are mostly left with the brother narrating this story. The actual voice actor does a tremendous job making him sou..Show More »nd believably and sometimes humorously cynical. The narrator carries this book bringing Sean, the brother, to life. But far too often he just comes across as bitter and a little unlikeable. The story tries for a playful tone and occasionally succeeds. One of the only interesting parts of this book is a novel plot device the author uses to add a character. The middle book of this trilogy is the weakest by far of the three. I bought them all so I'm forcing myself listen to them. If you liked the first book you'll be a bit disappointed by the second one.
Countdown is the story of the events leading up to The Rising, and acts as a prequel to the series. It tracks the scientists working on cures for canc..Show More »er and the common cold, and the events that lead to these two seemingly wonder cures being released into the world, merging and becoming the Kellis-Amberlee virus, which upon full amplification, revives the dead into zombies. Countdown is full of characters only briefly mentioned in Feed and Deadline, and fills in much of the back story that sets the stage for these novels. You also see a few peripheral characters from the series, and get a glimpse of what they were like before the tragic day that changed the world forever. Yet, none of these characters are the true stars of this tale. The true star is the science of the Kellis-Amberlee virus. Unlike much hard science fiction that presents the science as hard theorem and datum, Mira Grant does what she does best by presenting the science in a beautiful, almost poetic way that allows the reader to do more than simply understand, but to experience it. Grant turns the actual viruses into characters, allowing us to see the transformation from helpful to world destructive in a vivid fashion. Yet, despite being a cautionary tale, Grant never demonizes the science or those involved in the development of the viruses. Instead she just allows us to see them for who they are and what they were hoping to accomplish. Countdown is Mira Grant’s gift to the fans of The Newsflesh World, a prequel that isn’t wooden or forced, but gives us a new perspective to look at the world she created.
This was my first experience listening to Brian Bascle and thought he did a good job. For the most part, he just allowed me to enter into the story and stay there, presenting Grant’s words as they lead me where I needed to go. He has a nice narrative voice, and handled most of the characterizations well. The only characters he struggled with were adolescent girls, which is not strange for male narrators. My only real complaint about the audio production was that the transitions were presented with no real pause letting us know we were moving to another point of view. This would pull me out of the story a bit, when I realized we had switched characters or story arcs. This small complaint wasn’t enough to really detract from a wonderful listening experience.
Okay, I actually saw that coming, but I'm still kinda surprised she actually went there.
So, if you have ..Show More »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.