Tuesday, June 07, 2011

Book Review: Deadline

( #MiraGrant, #Deadline )

Image Credit: Jayme Rose

Last year I reviewed the bookFeed” by Mira Grant. The story is set 30 years in the future and zombies are an every day part of life (although still deadly), the main protagonists are a brother and sister duo who are bloggers that get involved in a conspiracy way over their heads (think adult-ish Scooby-Doo without the dog and with real monsters instead of dudes in masks). I liked the book although it had flaws and was glad to see the newest chapter of the trilogy, “Deadline” was released this week... until I actually read it.

Before I start, take note of two things:
1. There are going to massive spoilers in this review, so DO NOT READ THIS REVIEW if you don’t want to know what happens.
2. Generally, I have lost my taste for writing negative reviews. People who go through the effort to produce creative work and build a fan base should be admired. With that said, I feel like this book was a money grab and ties into my rants about every freaking book being a trilogy when there is not enough meat to the story, I am going to touch on that in this review.

Again - massive spoilers to follow.

Grant impressed me in the last book: her take on the zombie virus was interesting because she took an extremely scientific view of how the zombies propagated and that shaped the overall tone and setting of the book. She also impressed the hell out of me by having the guts to kill of her main character (Georgia Mason). Grant lost my respect in the first chapter of Deadline by having the other lead (Shaun Mason) immediately talking to his dead sister. This persists the entire book. Grant spends the entire book explaining how odd it is for Shaun to talk to his dead sister in his head, after two chapters I was yelling at the book saying “we get it, he talks to his dead sister, people think it is odd but accept it - ENOUGH!”

The plot of the second book involves Shaun trying to identify people in the government who were involved in his sister’s murder and the plot holes start appearing quickly. Instead of being proactive, Grant has a minor character from the first book (an junior scientist named Kelly from the Center for Disease Control) appear at their doorstep bringing all kinds of trouble. Kelly’s appearance in the 2nd chapter established that cloning technology exists in Grant’s world. I immediately put the book down and said “they are going to clone George, this is a total cop out”. Shortly after Kelly appears, the characters are attacked and it is also established that Shaun had a “black box” full of writings, videos, and personal notes from George - essentially all of her memories. MacGuffin!!!

For the entire book, the characters run around to different CDC offices saying the same exact thing over and over again: there could be potential cures to the zombie virus but the CDC is suppressing research. Grant establishes the CDC as the bad guys early and the rest of the book forces a series of ridiculous plot twists (why would the Government kill millions of people when the last outbreak almost wiped humans off the Earth - no logic!) By the end of the story, the CDC manages to introduce the virus to insects that essentially causes all hell to break loose (because it can spread so easily). The last few pages reveal the George clone and the book ends.

Deadline could have been a fifth of the size and integrated into the other two books, but instead (I am guessing) the publishers pushed Grant to add a lot of filling and pump out an extra book. It was a bad decision because the quality of the second book was not near the first and it felt like a massive holding pattern. I don’t know if I will pick up the third book, but I am honestly hoping Grant redeems herself on the third and final outing for these characters.