Blackout is a fitting end to the Newsflesh series, and anyone who enjoyed the first two books will undoubtedly enjoy this one - especially if DeadlineBlackout is a fitting end to the Newsflesh series, and anyone who enjoyed the first two books will undoubtedly enjoy this one - especially if Deadline was your favorite. This installment is similar to deadline, both in tone and in the plot format of the characters traveling from makeshift sanctuary to makeshift sanctuary and accumulating clues along the way.
It's enjoyable. Not as good as Feed, in my opinion (as that was my favorite book in this series), but enjoyable. Somewhere mid-way between three and four stars, if I had to give it a star rating. We see the return of a handful of characters who were essential in the first book but absent in the second, the conspiracies that we all figured were bubbling under the surface come to light, and our crew of primary characters does they best they can to uncover the truth and stay alive, to varrying results on both counts.
Things I Liked - Resolution to the major storylines in the series. Not every loose end is resolved, but most are.
- The After the End Times crew. Maggie is probably my favorite, but Alaric and Mahir are close seconds.
- (view spoiler)[The fact that the clone Georgia struggles with her identity. She is not Georgia, but she also is. Her struggle with knowing that she both is and is not herself helped me accept her return, because it managed not to erase the impact of Georgia's death in the first book. Georgia died. This new Georgia is not exactly the same person, and sometimes reacts differently to things. It's an interesting and complicated difference. (hide spoiler)].
- The return of characters from Feed who had been absent in Deadline.
- The Epilogue/Final Chapter. (view spoiler)[I liked shifting the narration to Mahir. Also, I love that Maggie and Alaric are getting married. (hide spoiler)]
- The science, as always. This series is really, really well researched.
Things I Didn't Like - The fact that the shifting POV chapters only got headings telling you who was talking about halfway through. Georgia and Shaun's narrative voices are different enough that I could tell who was talking without the labels - but if the labels telling me who was narrating this chapter were going to appear at all, they should have started at the beginning, not just when Shaun and Georgia finally cross paths. This would have avoided some confusion in the first few lines of each new chapter (Like, why is Shaun in the CDC? Oh, wait. He isn't).
- The incest angle. I know they aren't technically related, but they still refer to each other as brother and sister. I feel like this series would have worked just as well, and their codependent relationship would have been just as deep and important without the romantic angle.
- (view spoiler)[Becks's death. It didn't feel necessary to me, besides maybe for the purpose of upping the body count in regards to our primary characters. But still, it felt pretty senseless. (hide spoiler)]
- The pacing. Much like Deadline, this book struggles from not having something as clear-cut as a presidential campaign to drive the plot forward, so we spend long stretches of time without much movement. (Last book, these stretches took place at Maggie's house and Abbey's lab. Now, they're just in Abbey's lab and the Agora hotel. They have the same effect of slowing down plot momentum).
Overall, it's a good end to the series. If you liked the other two books, particularly the second one, Blackout is definitely worthwhile.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more
Despite mostly loving Feed, I had some hesitation going into Deadline. Shaun had never been my favorite character, and I wasn't sure if the new narratDespite mostly loving Feed, I had some hesitation going into Deadline. Shaun had never been my favorite character, and I wasn't sure if the new narrative POV was going to work for me. Fortunately, it did. Shaun even grew on me a little bit. While I didn't enjoy it quite as much as Feed, this was still a really great book. Like...3.25 stars, or something like that. Deadline forwards the plot of the series, avoids the stagnation of middle-of-trilogy-syndrome, and expands upon the science of Kellis-Amberlee (and how it could go 27 years seemingly without change).
If your favorite thing about Feed was the characters, this book might be a little bit of a let down. Shaun is really the only common factor between the two (although all the other major characters were minor, largely off-page characters in in the first book).
If your favorite thing was the world, and the plotting - you're in luck. This is an excellent expansion upon the post-Rising world of Newsflesh.
Things I Liked - The science, for surprising me by being one of my favorite parts. I don't know enough about virology to know if any of it makes sense in real-world terms (it very well might not), but it made sense for your average English major, and I really enjoyed it. While the logistics of Kellis-Amberlee were painted only in broadstrokes in the first book, this one really fleshes out the virological side of the equation.
- Maggie, for being my favorite. She's a Fictional, and a badass, and allowed to have real emotions without anybody considering her weaker for it. I love her.
- Mahir, for being a close second on the favorite-scale. I now understand why Georgia had so much faith in him in Feed.
- The antagonist(s). I only partly saw it coming.
- Doctor Abbey and her dog.
- The way that Georgia is still very much integral to the story.
- Shaun, for growing on me.
Things I Didn't Like - Shaun is still not my favorite. I know I said he grew on me, and he did, but I still don't love him. I think it has a lot to do with the fact that he punches too many undeserving people in the face.
- (view spoiler)[The incest angle. I mean, I know they're adoptive siblings, and so it's not technically incest, but I'm still not really on board. They grew up together, as siblings, so wouldn't the Westermark Effect, or something like it, kick in? And even if it didn't, wouldn't truth-loving Georgia have told us in the first book? It just kind of came out of left field in this one. I'll probably get used to it by book three, but still. (hide spoiler)]
- There wasn't enough Alaric. I really liked him, and thought he needed to be around more often.
- The pacing struggled a little without the campaign to move it forward. The team spent too long milling around Maggie's house between plot points.
- I still think having a blog post at the end of each chapter is unnecessary.
- Rick's complete absence. He vanished from the narrative with only a brief explanation of why - much the same way you would expect a character to be written off a television show when the actor quits. Except this is a book, and there are no actors. Which makes it a little bit weird.
- (view spoiler)[I'm not sure how I feel about the cliff hanger. I mean, do I want Georgia back? Sure. I love her. But does that ruin the tragedy that was her death scene? Yeah, kind of. I feel a little bit cheated. And everybody mourned for over a year. And Mahir moved on. And Shaun went crazy. I mean...that doesn't all just dissapear. I hope the next book deals with the emotional fallout of ressurecting someone. (hide spoiler)]
Overall: If you enjoyed Feed, you'll probably enjoy Deadline.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more
This was...well, it's exactly what it says it is. It's an alternate ending for Feed. However, the ending of Feed itself is much more satisfying. ThisThis was...well, it's exactly what it says it is. It's an alternate ending for Feed. However, the ending of Feed itself is much more satisfying. This doesn't actually add anything, except a sense of certainty to the events that most readers could've predicted would have happened if Georgia and Shaun's places had been switched. My main problem with it is that the entire chapter that includes the confrontation with Tate doesn't change at all with a new narrator. Mahir's blog post and meeting with Rick are the only new things.
Overall, even though I really enjoyed Feed (and am presently reading the second book), this didn't do anything for me. It's mildly interesting, but skippable. ...more
I've heard a lot of great things about Brandon Sanderson's writing, and I've been meaning to get into his works for a while now - but I had wanted toI've heard a lot of great things about Brandon Sanderson's writing, and I've been meaning to get into his works for a while now - but I had wanted to start with Mistborn. However, then I found a copy of Elantris in my favorite used bookstore, and I just couldn't resist. Seeing as this is Sanderson's debut novel (as far as I am aware), it isn't a bad place to start anyway. It also appears to be a standalone, which is rare and refreshing in the world of high fantasy.
There are a lot of things about Elantris that I loved, but there were also a lot of things that made it a pretty slow read and a bit of a slog to get through. I can't decide whether I want to give it three or four stars - maybe three and a half? Something like that. The world-building is incredible, the characters are well fleshed-out, and how all of the plot points come together is masterfully done. However, it also has some pacing problems, and gets off on meandering tangents that don't always go anywhere. I would recommend it - but with the warning that this book is one that might take even regular high fantasy readers a while to get through.
***Mild Spoilers Ahead (nothing important - but if you want to stay totally spoiler-free, stop here)***
Things I Liked
- The worldbuilding was really phenomenal. I can only imagine that Sanderson has pages upon pages of worldbuilding notes sitting around somewhere. And that map at the beginning is actually important, rather than just there because high fantasy novels usually have maps.
- Sarene, for being exactly the feminist heroine I wanted her to be. I was a little worried when the back cover only described her as Raoden's widow - but that is just one of many roles that she plays. Primarily, she is a brilliant political mastermind.
- Raoden, for being a hero whose greatest asset is his kindness. He can't fight, and he has very few actual marketable skills, but he is incredibly kind. He's a dreamer who believes wholeheartedly in every single person's potential, and really loves humanity. He is great that way.
- Karata, for not letting this be the kind of novel with only one heroic woman (or even just one heroic type of woman). She is a very different character from Sarene, and a great heroine in her own way. She is also a fantastic balance of warrior and mother, and I loved her.
- Galladon, for being the perfect reluctant partner to balance out Raoden's dream-big nature.
- The fact that there are multiple different races in this world. (I've read too many high fantasies that leave that out).
- The fencing lessons with the women of the court. The whole dynamic between Sarene and the court women was just great.
- The dynamic between Raoden and Sarene. I didn't think I would ship them, but I do. Oh, how I do.
- The way all of the plot points with the Aons fell together.
- The little glossary of Aons at the back of the book, which I kept flipping through when I forgot what they meant.
Things I Didn't Like
- This book could have benefitted from being about 30% shorter. Not because of the actual length (which is pretty par for the high fantasy course), but because sometimes a hundred pages would go by and nothing plot relevant would happen.
- As much as I enjoyed the alternating POVs, I wish they didn't alternate in exactly the same order all the time. It went Raoden to Sarene to Hrathen, then back to Raoden, to Sarene, to Hrathen over and over again without any variation - which meant that sometimes a character would be narrating even though nothing significant was happening in their plotline at the moment. It made for a lot of chapters that felt like filler while we bided our time waiting to get back to whoever was doing the most exciting things at the time.
- Hrathen, in my opinion, had too many chapters devoted to his POV. His air of mystery when first introduced is ruined almost immediately by the reader seeing his POV too often. I feel like he could have benefitted from being a little bit more scarce at the beginning of the novel, and seen through Sarene and Raoden first.
- This might just be my problem, but I kept getting all of the nobles names mixed up. A lot of their names sounded really similar, and I had a hard time telling who was who.
- It took me until about page 300 to realize that Doloken was supposed to be a sort of swear word (akin to hell, it seems?). Some of created language, while creative, needed a little more background for the reader.
Overall, I would recommend it. It was a lot of fun, and it is easy to get really attached to the characters. ...more
This book was, essentially, everything that I wanted it to be when I started it. It isn't perfect - but it's entertaining and emotional in just the riThis book was, essentially, everything that I wanted it to be when I started it. It isn't perfect - but it's entertaining and emotional in just the right ways. As a book about zombies, politics, and blogging, it does pretty damn well for itself.
Also, this is my first Seanan McGuire book. (Yeah, yeah, I know it's written under her penname Mira Grant - but it still counts, right?). And now I'm more excited than ever to embark on the rest of her work.
All of that being said, I kind of wish this were a standalone. I mean, I'm planning to read the rest of the series because I already bought the other two books - but if this had been the end, I would have been satisfied.
Now, for the specifics. As spoiler-free as I can manage.
Things I Liked
- The alternate-history. Seeing as Feed came out in 2010, it was probably just intended to be the future, but now that we're past the summer of 2014 the "past" of the novel (which takes place primarily in 2040) has transitioned pretty effectively into alternate-history territory. Which is nice. Because otherwise the story wouldn't have worked reading it present-day.
- Georgia, for having a distinct narrative voice and believable layers of characterization.
- Buffy, for containing multitudes and not just being the flake that her introduction implied.
- Rick, for growing on me. I didn't like him when he first showed up, but that changed pretty quickly.
- Lois, for playing to my love of cats.
- The whole blogging-sphere and the groupings of different kind of bloggers (from the Newsies who rely on fact, to the Stewarts who are presumably named after John Stewart, to the Irwins who would like to poke alligators like their namesake, to the Fictionals who bear a striking resemblance to fanfic writers). It was a well-developed online world.
- The campaign trail as a device to move the plot. I like the idea of politics driving a plot that isn't really about politics in any other way.
- Shaun, sometimes. Though I only really liked him when he was interacting with Georgia. (view spoiler)[Which might make the next book a bit of a struggle. (hide spoiler)]
- Emily Rhyman. Favorite minor character by far.
- That scene that made me cry. You know the one. There's a van involved. And I cried. Embarissingly hard.
- (view spoiler)[The fact that the villain was a human, and not a zombie. He is much scarier for the fact that he really ought to have empathy, and clearly does not. (hide spoiler)].
Things I Didn't Like
- The pacing towards the middle got muddled and slow. I feel like the book could be roughly a hundred pages shorter and tell the same story with more precision.
- Some of the blog posts at the end of chapters slowed down the pace so much that I wanted to skip them.
- Repeated explanations of things that I remembered from earlier in the book. These might have been fine if I had stretched out the reading over weeks or months - but I'm pretty sure most people don't forget what they read a few hours ago, or even yesterday.
- The times that I didn't like Shaun. These were mostly times when I didn't understand why he did the things that he did.
- What was even the purpose of Chuck? Because he did nothing. And I don't really get why he was there at all.
Overall: I would recommend this. Maybe not to people who really love zombie stuff and expect some gore (because I liked this book, and I've only ever been able to sit through four episodes of The Walking Dead. I rather prefered Feed's LACK of gory zombie action). I would recommend it, instead, to people who like political conspiracy books, with maybe some zombies on the side. ["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more