Sunday, April 15, 2012

Dear teen girls,
this is not a good look for you:
period.


     In other news, I'm addicted to a zombie trilogy. This is quite unusual, because I'm not into this monster genre at all. The zombie movement has pretty much left me cold (except for the Walking Dead...oh no, does this mean I'm into zombies? Please Lord don't let it be true), but these books are SO GOOD. The world building in these books is so skillful and the author has such a light, careful hand with plotting that a world post zombie rising seems totally plausible. Mira Grant's detailed explanation for the zombie virus is believable, as are minutia of daily living in this particular apocalyptic world.
     The main characters are a brother and sister team of self employed news reporters who run a blog called After The End Times. Bloggers are the new war correspondents because the big name news corporations handled the initial Zombie Rising so badly, treating videos of the first zombies like a joke. The blogging community, on the other hand, not only reported the first outbreaks correctly, they also advised their readers on the most effective methods of killing a zombie (from their combined encyclopedic knowledge learned from watching countless horror movies) and started a list called The Wall of all the people who died in the Rising.
     The zombie action isn't revolting, unlike every other zombie book/tv show/movie/etc.; the focus is on the fighting and the plot rather than body parts dropping off and tired, overdone gore. Mira Grant goes out of her way to make the point that the real monsters are the secondary characters: politicians and other various authorities. Shaun and Georgia (she goes by George; the names are a hat tip to George Romero and Shaun of the Dead) have a measure of sympathy for the zombies; the zombies are the end stage manifestation of a deadly virus, horrifying but not inexplicable.
      Shaun and Georgia are a likable blend of youthful optimism and professional smarts. They are devoted to each other and to the pursuit of truth. The dialogue is true to life (I can absolutely understand siblings telling each other to eff off as code for "I love you" and a sister telling her brother that she will kill him if a zombie gets him), and they are business partners as well as close-knit family. Their strengths and weaknesses are perfectly balanced, they literally and emotionally have the other's back. These are characters I care about; when they are in danger (which is almost always) I catch myself holding my breath. You know you are reading a good book when you can't put the book down, but it's so good that you try to read slower so it lasts longer.
      Book one (FEED) is from Georgia's POV, book two (DEADLINE) is Shaun's, and it will be interesting to see what Mira Grant does for book three (BLACKOUT).  At the risk of hyperbole, I CANNOT WAIT for book three...I want it now. I should be thinking about May in terms of my daughter's senior graduation, or my family reunion, but all I can think is "What happens next?! I want to know NOW."

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