As much as I enjoyed the "action scenes" of the novel, I can't help but dock stars for the apparently inexhaustible stupidity of the central players....moreAs much as I enjoyed the "action scenes" of the novel, I can't help but dock stars for the apparently inexhaustible stupidity of the central players. And that's without Mina's constant sighing about how wonderful and noble and perfect and brave men are, and the men's fondness of treating all the women as delicate china dolls. Lucy's death was so completely frustrating that I nearly gave the book up at that point - these guys know she's being attacked by something that is drinking her blood every night, Van Helsing gives them about a dozen different strategies for stopping it, and they still can't stop her from dying? Van Helsing couldn't seal up her window with the Communion wafers like he does the door of her tomb? He couldn't just nail a crucifix over her bed? I mean, come on. It's like they wanted her to die! And then to let Mina get bitten afterward... I'm not totally sure that all her praise of them is warranted. After all that, they still left her by herself in a place Dracula was known to hang out. Of course, she doesn't get a pass - Van Helsing was JUST talking about how Dracula can move in a mist, and she doesn't think twice about a load of fog in her bedroom?
By the end of it all, I was kind of rooting for Dracula. He, at least, seemed to have a sense of self-preservation, whereas the rest of them were just flinging themselves into stupid situations.
At least now I know the origins of so much of the pop culture vampire mythos. It was fun to see the original versions of Dracula's powers, and be able to tie them in with the modern-day take on the vampire. Overall, I think I prefer the novel's version. Who needs a sexy vampire? Give me a creepy old dude who communes with wolves and spiders any day.(less)
I'd actually give this story a 4.5 out of 5... it starts out feeling a little too young for the teen/young adult title, but the ingenuity of the world...moreI'd actually give this story a 4.5 out of 5... it starts out feeling a little too young for the teen/young adult title, but the ingenuity of the world and the big ideas that are somehow simplified enough for children to understand and enjoy quickly turns it into a page turner that's impossible to put down. Allie is a fabulous heroine and I found myself utterly enthralled by her - this is the kind of role model I want young girls to emulate, not some romance-obsessed airhead.
Shusterman has created a world so compelling that I'm sure I'll be picking up the next book in this series as soon as I can get my hands on it.(less)
**spoiler alert** Well, I've finally finished this series. And, predictably, my reaction to this novel is about the same as my reaction to the other t...more**spoiler alert** Well, I've finally finished this series. And, predictably, my reaction to this novel is about the same as my reaction to the other two: I both loved it and found it extremely annoying.
I can't deny that I loved this series - ever since I finished Deadline, I've been obsessed with getting Blackout and finding out what happened to everyone. At the same time, the flaws that I noticed in the first book persisted. The characterization is still weak, especially when compared to the world-building, pacing, and plot structure, all of which I found pretty near flawless for a zombie story. The dialogue is still cheesy and wannabe-Whedonesque, but without Whedon's wit to back it up. The repetition of various phrases gets nearly grating.
And then there's the whole incest thing.
Listen, I think we all "got it" pretty early on in the series. Shaun and Georgia were always just a leeetle too close for a brother/sister dynamic duo. And I didn't really mind the undertones, truthfully. I figured it was yet another of Grant's Whedon homages - this time to Simon and River Tam of Firefly. But, and perhaps I speak only for myself here, I found it SO refreshing that FOR ONCE a book didn't prominently feature a romance as part of the plot. The background characters had no problem doing a constant shuffle of hormones and relationships (especially Maggie, Jesus), but it was awesome not to have to deal with schmoopie BS constantly jammed down my throat by the two POV characters.
Until it was, of course. And put right out there on the page? It really didn't work as well as it did as hints and undertones. The whole romance just seemed like a bit of fanfiction that somehow found its way into an actual book. Like, what? For real?
Maybe I'm a prude, I don't know. Shaun and Georgia aren't blood related, after all. And at least we weren't subjected to a sex scene, which is about the best thing I can say of it. I just prefer my sorta-kinda-incest hidden between the lines, what can I say?
But let's move on from that. I did very much enjoy the culmination of the plot and coming clear of the conspiracy, so that part didn't disappoint. I do sort of wish that the escape from the White House had been extended a little bit, as the entire book wrapped up pretty quickly once everyone hit the parking garage, and surely it can't have been that easy. The CDC had the resources to kidnap and hold a President's family hostage - surely they could also bring in some helicopters or armored SUVs themselves and given chase, right?
Anyway. All in all, the Feed series is one of the best zombie sagas I've read, even including the weird character stuff and the repetitive phrasing.(less)