FEEDBACK is a full-length Newsflesh novel which overlaps the events of New York Times bestseller Mira Grant's classic Feed and follows a group of reporters covering the Democratic side of the Presidential campaign. There are two sides to every story... Mira Grant creates a chilling portrait of an America paralyzed with fear. No street is safe and entire swaths of the country have been abandoned. And only the brave, the determined, or the very stupid, venture out into the wild. Step inside a world a half-step from our own in this novel of geeks, zombies, politics and social media.
Born and raised in Northern California, Mira Grant has made a lifelong study of horror movies, horrible viruses, and the inevitable threat of the living dead. In college, she was voted Most Likely to Summon Something Horrible in the Cornfield, and was a founding member of the Horror Movie Sleep-Away Survival Camp, where her record for time survived in the Swamp Cannibals scenario remains unchallenged.
Mira lives in a crumbling farmhouse with an assortment of cats, horror movies, comics, and books about horrible diseases. When not writing, she splits her time between travel, auditing college virology courses, and watching more horror movies than is strictly good for you. Favorite vacation spots include Seattle, London, and a large haunted corn maze just outside of Huntsville, Alabama.
Mira sleeps with a machete under her bed, and highly suggests that you do the same.
"Step outside and I'll show you how an Irish girl defends her honor."
once more into the fray of the newsflesh world…
FYI - this book features ZERO of your favorite newsflesh characters, except as anecdotal material, but it DOES talk about events that take place in Feed, including favorite character-deaths, so make smart reading choices.
this is a kind of bizarro newsflesh story, in which we are introduced to an all-new team of intrepid journalists: aislinn* ("ash"), ben, mat, and audrey. and while the mason's crew is off in Feed reporting on senator ryman's presidential campaign trail, our new friends are on the road with a different candidate - governor susan kilburn.
we have a similar distribution of roles here - ash = irwin, ben = newsie, audrey = fictional, mat = techie and fashion/makeup blogger.**
but their relationships to each other are way more convoluted than team mason. ash is from ireland and married ben to get herself out of a tricky situation and into naturalized u.s. citizenship. however, she's a lesbian and in a long-term relationship with audrey, which situation is presented to the world as a polyamorous agreement so as not to risk that green card, but poor ben is not reaping any romantic fruit.***
but this dynamic works for them, and they complement each other in both professionally and in personality:
…his tone was as calm as mine was not, balancing me out. This was his territory as much as it was mine. I would get angry, and then he'd step in, not to defuse the situation, but to cover it with napalm.
"You know what we're capable of. Maybe we're not as fancy as Senator Ryman's pet blog team, but what we lack in prestige, we more than make up for with viciousness."
Audrey didn't say anything. Audrey just smiled. She had a way of making a simple, nonaggressive expression look like a threat, and she was using it now. As usual, it made me want to kiss the violence off of her face.
the story is told by ash, which is great, because she's appealingly cheeky in that particular way that we've come to expect from this author: a little bit crazy in her willingness to put herself in harm's way, but also very funny and loyal and badass with a side of manic homicide under the hood. and the quips. always the quips.
Violence is not always the best solution to problems, but it's usually a good start. Especially when the problems involve human beings.
plus, this time she's irish, so you get to read all her lines in an accent in your head, and she's filled with irish bravado with a charmingly colorful tone to her utterances:
-"You knew I was a scorpion when you picked me up, and I'll always do my best to sting my way back to you."
-"If they'd started in on you…I might have punched someone, and you know I have delicate hands."
"Like a bundle of yarrow twigs," I said solemnly.
-"The only right way to mourn someone is to remember them. The rest is just trappings."
..."How do you know so much about mourning?"
"My mother was a banshee and my father was the cold North wind," I said.
but she's more than just a redheaded pip of a lass - she's a true irwin - kicking zombie ass in a succession of sundresses. i appreciated seeing the irwin behind the irwin this time - the acknowledgment of how much of it was showmanship - how much was persona constructed in order to cultivate a following.
Much of my image depended on my seeming too sweet to do or say or think the things I did, weaponized femininity on the prowl.
but make no mistake, aislinn is genuine badass. her irwin persona is not sexy femme fatale - she's very concerned with modesty and making sure nothing shows through the bullet holes in her (secretly heavily reinforced, zombieproof) dresses. and she's irwin enough to understand how short her shelf life is likely to be, and the importance to morale of leaving a legacy.
Some people liked to stay on the phone with their friends and loved ones as they fought, thinking it was better to have the company. I had never wanted that. One day, I was going to die in the field. Maybe I was going to die in this one. If that happened, I wanted to be remembered smiling, not screaming. That was why I always ended my videos with a grin and a wink, no matter how tired I was. Every entry could be the one that went up on the Wall. I didn't want the last thing I did to be sad. Dying was sad enough without helping it along.
it's a fun new zombie adventure story in a world i have come to expect so much from, and this one delivers the goods. it's also a real treat to see shaun and george filtered through another, less flattering, perspective
"As for the Masons, yes we know them, but we're not friends. We're not even associates. They're…"
"Snobs," I supplied.
Ben shot me a look, sighed, and said, "They're insular. Neither of them has ever been interested in forming strong outside friendships with other locals. I know they have friends, but with a few exceptions, it's always been people who are far enough away that the Masons don't have to worry about being asked to get together and socialize."
it has all the wit and action you want from a newsflesh book, and while it ends on a note that seems to be a stopping-point, i know mira grant could find a way to give us more.
"You deserve better than the kind of death that turns you into a footnote in someone else's story."
don't let these characters just be footnotes in the mason's story, please. newsflesh 4-eva!
miscellaneous things we learn in passing and are not major plot points:
* oddly enough this was the second book in a row i read with a major character named aislinn, reading this one hot on the heels of The Trespasser.
**i don't understand how useful a makeup artist is to a team of news bloggers, but that's probably just me being makeup-phobic and bigoted.
*** another quick note - while i appreciate mira grant's continuing commitment to diversity in her books, this time it just comes across as statistically unlikely, and more like a conscious representation-checklist. you have lesbian (ash) AND bisexual (audrey) AND genderfluid (mat) AND white (ash) AND black (ben) AND asian (audrey). i appreciate the thoughtfulness, particularly with respect to her treatment of genderfluidity, but it seems too calculated and balanced for vérité. i mean, why not two asians? or two lesbians? and where my latinas at?
please don't be done with this world, mira grant... i don't care - new characters, old characters, zombie-raccoon POV, just keep it going foreeeever ****************************** i just got a ups package update telling me something is coming for me from hachette tomorrow. could it be THIS???? please tell me it is this!!
can this be true??? tell me when, and i will be there with a thousand bells and a pie.
I admit to being a fanboy of the series. Gladly, irrationally, wholeheartedly.
I mean, who doesn't like a team of intrepid bloggers in a zombie-blighted wasteland encountering horrible secrets in the government and having lots to say about election madness while geeking out and stabbing moaners in the head? Better yet, who doesn't like mad conspiracies, killing your loved ones, looking great on camera as your run for your life, or just discovering how nuts the world is?
This definitely isn't for first time readers of the NewsFlesh series, but it does happen to overlap during the presidential campaign trail during Feed, but from the opposite camp.
Ash is great. I really love Ash. Her Irish accent will always get her killed in all the zombie detectors, her bulletproof sundresses are the epitome of fashion, and while she's tiny and skinny, I'd always choose her to be my bruiser any day. She also happens to be really hard to kill when zombie traps keep exploding all around the presidential hopeful.
There's also a ton of interesting things to say about ourselves, too, if you look close enough into the text. I mean, we're courting a zombie wasteland with one or the other of our candidates, and Ash is living through the aftermath of the same. It works. :)
There's a lot of gender and race diversity in this novel, but honestly? Even though I got into all the characters fine, I kinda felt like it ran down a checklist. I tried not to let it annoy me because I got totally pumped by the story and the reversals and the generally nutso disposition of Ash and the world, and that worked fine for me. Maybe not for everyone. And then again, maybe this is perfect. It just felt a bit calculated. That's all.
Still, what a kicker near the end. I didn't really expect that coming, and that's kinda why I worship this series. I got the same kick in the gut with the surprises in the original trilogy, too, so I suppose I should be used to it by now, but it just isn't so.
Death is the constant of life. This zombie plague still remains as one of the most well-thought-out and scientific examples of zombification that I've ever read, and the mix of high-tech and mad bootstrapping ingenuity always gets me running for my duct tape.
I'm so happy to return to this world! It was my first introduction to Mira Grant (Seanan Mcguire), but ever since, I've been a truly devoted fan. For good reason. This stuff rocks. :)
First off, don’t read this novel if you haven’t read the original trilogy. It’s full of spoilers and even though the jacket copy says it’s an excellent alternate jumping in point (or something like that), it’s not. Unless if you want pretty much the whole story line of the original novels to be revealed without all the build up.
I have to just sit down and write this. I haven’t been in the mood to write a review for oh, about the last year or so. In the past few months I’ve thought about writing something, sometimes just a throw away review, but then I’d think that review is going to be my 1000th, it should be something more than a couple of lines about the last John D. MacDonald book I’ve read. I should write something substantial.
So this is my 1000th review, and the first actual review I’ve written I think since last summer.
In the past month I’ve read the entire Newsflesh saga. All three books, the novellas (well I still have two to go, but I’m almost done with those), and this re-working of the first novel told from the perspective of a different team of bloggers following the Presidential primaries from the other side of the political line.
I might be a little burned out on the world (thus the reason I haven’t actually finished the last two novellas yet, but I will soon).
I loved the original trilogy.
When I was reading them Karen kept asking me who my favorite character was, and it was pretty much a no-brainer. It was George. That answer seemed to annoy her every time, and maybe for this series it’s the baseball equivalent of saying that Yankees are your favorite team.
Oh, right, don’t click any of the spoilers if you haven’t read the whole trilogy, no matter where you are in the series, or if you are thinking of every reading the series because I will ruin things for you.
Personal spoiler that has nothing to do with the books (but still don’t click it if you haven’t read the original trilogy) but which is placed here to aggravate my best friend
Why I didn’t love this book as much as the original first novel.
Did I already mention that I’ve really enjoyed everything that I’ve read from Mira Grant? I have. And I did enjoy this one, too. My problems with this were pretty minor, and if I read this after not reading the other books right before them I’d probably have overlooked them.
The first is that the first half or so of the book is basically the same exact story as Feed. Chapter one opens with the Irwin and Newsie of a blog team getting caught by a horde of zombies in what should be a more routine day. It follows with the Blog team getting chosen for their respective campaign. Similar things happen on the campaign trail (for awhile at least). …. it was all a little too similar.
The second is the problem with their being so much similarity.
It was nice to get to see some of the other Presidential candidates from a different perspective than George’s. For example meeting the Stripper presidential candidate in this book made her seem more like a real character instead of just a joke about the spectacle and politics.
Things happen in this book that the Mason’s or Mahir would have known about in the original trilogy, and if they had known about them it would have drastically altered the original storyline. Some of the incidents in this book were just too big and would have pointed towards the underlying conspiracies of the original trilogy that they couldn’t have helped change the whole later story.
I feel like this is a slightly unfair criticism, as 2010 Mira Grant couldn’t have known what was going to be released in 2016, so it’s perfectly fair to say that of course these facts couldn’t have been in the original books… but at least three incidents were so big that their inclusion into the world would have changed the events of the original.
I’m being nitpicky though, and just giving the reason why I’m rating this one a little lower than the other books in the series.
I have a feeling that it’s not the last we’ve heard from the characters of this series. Hopefully when Mira Grant decides she has to return to this world again she figures a way to bring the Masons and Foxy back, or maybe just make a stand alone Foxy (ok, she’s a much more fun character than George, and if she made her appearance earlier in the series she probably would have been my hands down favorite) kills lots of people novel (with her as the narrator, too, of course)…
For the record, I’m a massive Mira Grant fan and most importantly a HUGE Newsflesh fan. When I heard that there would be a fourth book coming, there was fully body tingling going on… I was that excited. So in a nutshell, having to dnf this makes me want to cry a fucking river.
Right off the bat, my first issue that had me cocking my head in confusion was the seemingly apparent duplication of the Feed storyline. Sure there were differences but it was the same story for the most part. Politics and conspiracies and of course zombies. There was a brand new set of characters that was meant to spice things up but it was the same sort of crew that consisted of a Newsie, Irwin, and Fictional. And yes, this was quite the diverse group but I even had issues with that. I want to read stories with diversity where it’s treated as a non-issue. Making Mat, a genderfluid character, a makeup/fashion blogger that also likes electronics didn’t do much for modernizing tyepcasts either. The various forms of diversity are not only not treated as a non-issue but are so incredibly contrived. It all felt like some ginormous lecture and while it may have been intended to be didactic, it was more preachy than anything. Too much focus was placed on characterization and I feel like that was intended to distract from the story itself and the fact that it’s a near replica of the Feed storyline just with different characters.
There were other random issues that only added to the domino effect that led to me quitting. A comment about Governor Kilburn being a secret Sailor Moon fan and that this could be a “girl-power campaign of celestial proportions.” When they visited Congresswoman Kirsten Wagman (an ex-stripper) at a strip club. She called everyone sugar and there was a joke about Ash proposing to her because of her “sexy” security measures. It was an eye-rolling good time. There were also the standard Mira Grant mid-chapter breaks where a quote or blog post is inserted, which those were included, but there were also sections from Audrey’s fictional stories that just didn’t add that much to the story. Even more so were the pages of makeup tutorials from Mat’s blog that really didn’t add anything. Sadly, this was just a massive disappointment and I’m sad it had to be that way.
Reading this book was like agreeing to go on a date with an ex-boyfriend. Just because it was great the first-time round does not mean it’s a good idea to go back for more.
I really loved the Newsflesh trilogy and especially the novellas but this one….. this one should have been well left alone.
The characters were flimsy at best and even Ash the charming Irish narrator started grating on my nerves. Yes I get that she is gay and loves Audrey but other than that there was very little to her. Ben was the token “husband” she married for US citizenship and Matt…. The gender fluid makeup artist / mechanic of the group was just the cherry on the weirdly skewed cake.
I did like the conspiracy theory element and yes I did finish listening to the audio even though I kept on thinking I should really give this back so overall I cannot recommend this.
I love Seanan McGuire, writing as herself or under the pen name Mira Grant. Laws, she can weave a story. And the Newsflesh series is what brought me to her, a world two decades post-zombie apocalypse as civilization learns to survive around, beside and on top of the zombies. Still, as soon as this veered into the political shenanigans before a presidential election, I just Could. Not. Go. There. Right. Now.
Read about 200 pages, did not finish, will read some day.
3.5 rounded up. Entertaining audio. I love the Newsflesh world. I’m just not sure this story needs it’s own entire book. Maybe would have been better as a novella in Rise. One word of caution the blurb on the book says this is a good alternative jumping off point to the series. It’s not. It’s full of important spoilers for the other 3 books.
Loved the first three. DEFINITELY didn't love this one. I never liked movies that were a vehicle for special effects rather than story. This book feels like a vehicle for a number of things, none of which are story. Hello Kitty earrings and make up tips? It all feels like product placement but for different fandoms. Added to the obvious gay and gender fluid characters and it just feels like someone trying to sell a book rather than writing a story.
The constant kneejerk "want to punch in the throat" reaction to everything wore thin IMMEDIATELY. There was no depth to any of the characters, and it seemed they were assigned back stories rather than being built from life events as the past characters were.
The first 3 books could very easily have included a character that was gay or gender fluid and it still would have been a good story. This story is just a bunch of selling points packed together. The attempt to pack in appeal was so obvious that it actually took away from what little story there was.
There was very little to like about this book and I have enjoyed many books she has written.
I kinda forgot the feeling of being thoroughly swallowed by a book that you started breathing the same air the main characters were breathing. Thank you Mira Grant for letting me feel that moment again.
Anything written by Mira Grant is a must-have for the shelf of this reviewer, and Feedback is no exception. Though, while this one did have me teary at one point and was definitely not shy on the action, while it was full of your typical Grant humour, this one was a little harder to get lost in.
It could be that, having read the original Newsflesh trilogy, this story wasn’t different enough, even though it has been a while since reading the first book. And, while this wasn’t what you might call a short book, at 470 pages, this felt like a shallower story than that told in Feed. Again, this is possibly because so much of the world-building was covered in the first three books, and in this one we are given something of a recap. As with stories set parallel to each other but written a handful of years apart, this one ran into a bit of a problem with events that George and Shaun should have heard about in the duration of Feed but which never came up, possibly because the author hadn’t thought of them yet.
I’ll tell you, I was pretty excited when I saw that Mira Grant was going to release a fourth book in the Newsflesh series. That series had it all, a perfect balancing of tension, gore, shock and comic relief. The first book, Feed, had me hooked on the series. Does it need a fourth book? No, but I couldn’t resist the opportunity to go back to that world.
The first thing I’ll address is, do you need to read the other three books before you read Feedback? The quick answer is no. Feedback stands alone, set in the same world as Feed, it runs parallel to book one. However, if you read Feedback and then want to read Feed, some of the shocks and surprises will be spoiled.
Feedback reads almost like a mirror image of Feed. The Masons of book one had a complete news team. Georgia, the protagonist, was the Newsie and Shawn, her brother, the Irwin. In Feedback the roles are reversed. Ash is the daredevil Irwin, while her husband Ben is the hard hitting Newsie. Feedback is Ash’s story, Ben falls into the background further than Shawn ever did. But then again…Irwins tend to have more “Look at me!” moments. Mira Grant did not neglect the supporting cast; each and every single one was fully developed and played a pivotal role, driving the story forward, providing some comic relief or both.
Feedback was a fantastic addition to the Newsflesh series. Mira Grant is a master of zombie tension and characters. In the current political climate, it was great to see the fictional campaigns and candidates that she put forward.
Sit back and enjoy!
* I received a copy of the book from the publisher (via Edelweiss) in exchange for an honest review.
Good bits: * The main character Ash is cute and quirky and fun to hunt zombies with.
* It ties in very well with a couple of narrative tracks from the rest of the series.
Bad bits: * None of the other characters are interesting. When classic zombie narrative device in the first book I cried. When classic zombie narrative device in this book I really didn't care. And I found it hard to believe that Ash cared either.
* Mat is a particularly 2 dimensional character. In the entire book all that we learn about them is that they are trans, don't like being misgendered (how insightful) and like *gasp* both makeup and mechanics (way to revolutionize gender stereotypes). They don't even make sense in terms of the mythos of the world. News teams need a newsie, an irwin and a fictional. Oh yeah and Mat, who isn't just a token character at all guys.
* Really all the alt-lifestyle elements in this one feel forced. When we discover that its really just a narrative about love and where people find it. And . In this book there's even a scene where one character lecturers another about how we can't have different standards for different genders - it all feels somewhere between preachy and exploitative.
I have three favourite series ever. Three fictional worlds that I love so much that despite all the inherent risks and dangers involved in being a character in the series, I would jump at the chance to visit them IRL if I ever could. The first is Terry Pratchett's Discworld which I've loved since I was a child. The second is the Newsflesh series. (The third, if anyone is interested, is J.D. Robb's In Death series.)
The reason I made such a powerful connection to the Newflesh world that Grant/McGuire created, is the theme I picked up on that runs through the entire series; fear, and what it does to us. What is the cost of living versus simply surviving? This theme struck a chord with me when I first read Feed several years ago. The mash-up of zombies, politics, science and internet journalism was also incredibly entertaining and enthralling to read!
All this to say, when I heard Mira Grant was releasing a new novel set in the Newsflesh world, but with different characters, I was thrilled and then terrified that it wouldn't live up to the standards of the previous novels and short stories. I should never have doubted Grant.
Feedback is a wonderful novel that deals with the same issues of fear, truth and what it means to be alive, as well as introducing some great new characters; Ash, Audrey, Ben and Mat. Cameos from secondary characters in the main series - like Dr Shannon Abbey and her dog, Joe - added an extra layer of authenticity and familiarity to this new addition in the series.
I thoroughly enjoyed this story, and now I want to re-read Feed yet again. This book seems to have been written as a stand-alone, but hopefully we'll get some short stories or even another book from Mira Grant in this series in the future.
The 4th book is a redux from different character perspectives of the events of the main series. While not bad and sticking to the spirit of the main series I didn't feel like it really offered anything new. All in all a good series.
Before I review this specific book, I need to make it clear that I'm a huge Feed fan. The Feed trilogy (first 3 books of the Newflesh series) is fantastic. I recommend it more than any other zombie books I've ever read. While it has great zombie action, it's also the zombie books for people who don't want to read zombie books with depth of political and scientific intrigue that make it stand out in the genre. I reluctantly read some of the short stories from the same world, only to find many of those also amazing: The Last Stand of the California Browncoats, Please Don't Taunt the Octopus, and The Day The Dead Came to Show and Tell are all 5+ star reads acknowledging you need to already be a fan of the trilogy to really get them. I was curious when this book came out in 2016, because it seemed odd that there would be an additional book given the complete story. I started it, but then couldn't get into it. It's set at the exact same time as book 1 but follows a different team of journalists on the opposing side of the campaign trail. Now, 5 years later, I finally read the whole thing. There's plenty of action, and I liked the characters. Yet, it reads like a book with an agenda rather than being either plot or character driven, although I'm not entirely clear on what that agenda is. There's expansion of several plot points from the original books, although from a different angle. There's more social commentary, additional information on other countries and the virus, and some additional (though often repetitive) science. But does it really value add to the series? I have to say no. I'm glad I finally read it. It was fun. If you're a fan of the series, you should read it too. Please don't start with this one or think it works as a stand alone.
"Good death, bad death, slow death, fast death--the modern world is the fucking Amazon.com of dying."
The Newsflesh series was my introduction to Seanan McGuire/Mira Grant and I've just grown in my admiration of her writing the more I read. This is my ninth book of hers (plus a few short stories), so needless to say, I'm a fan! Next up will be Discount Armageddon, one of her urban fantasy series. I just cannot get enough of her fantastical writing, whether that is in science fiction or fantasy or something completely different altogether. ALL THE BOOKS IN MY EYE HOLES!!
Feedback takes us back to the beginning. It's told alongside Feed, with the events overlapping. While the first trilogy focuses on the Mason siblings, Shaun and Georgia, this follows a different team of bloggers. You could read this first, but ARE YOU CRAZY?!? I kid, I kid. Mostly. But beware that there are some major spoilers for the original trilogy.
A bit of a rehash of book one in the trilogy, which in this case explains the concept of *this* book too, since the story parallels. 2014 is the year that changed everything. Thieves broke into a lab and unleashed a virus into the universe. That's bad enough, but then it met up with another virus and the two fornicated to make one deadly virus that contained the worst of each - communicability and adaptability. Which means, of course, that a fuck ton of people died. But eventually humanity won against the Zombie Apocalypse. Jump ahead 20 years after the Rising and zombies walk among us, but they aren't much of a threat. They just are there, hanging out in the background. Until they aren't. Bloggers have become journalists seeking the truth. There is a presidential election and that is where this picks up.
Feedback is about a team of diverse bloggers - Aislinn, Ben, Audrey and Mat. Ash is the main POV and is married to Ben but dating Audrey and Mat is her best friend. It sounds more complicated than it is!
They have been recruited by a Democratic candidate, Governor Susan Kilburn. Although they worry that it may influence their reporting slightly, it's a chance they are willing to take because it's hard for them to turn down such a lucrative offer. This could be their big shot at attracting a larger audience and becoming the next Masons.
“Everyone else thinks of him as a throwback,” said Rick. “He’s too reactionary, he’s too insular, he wants to build a wall across the Canadian and Mexican border. A wall. As if the damn fences in Texas and Arizona didn’t get people killed during the Rising.”
The above quote seems shockingly familiar, yeah? The events are frighteningly similar to the current climate in many ways. That's what this series does so well. It feels substantive, believable.. as though a Zombie Apocalypse is right around the corner. Which it just may be, if we don't rise up..
Feedback is a fantastic addition to the Newsflesh series. It added more insight into the post-Rising world and didn't feel repetitive at all. It was one of the most progressive SFF novels I have ever read, which never once felt forced. Because diversity isn't something that is forced. It just is. It is a mirror of the world today. Of real people. Gay, genderfluid, black, an Irish immigrant.. these are just some of the character descriptors. Almost every character was as diverse as the next and it is just so incredibly refreshing. Representation matters so fucking much. SO MUCH.
Feedback is the perfect blend of zombies, science, gore and political intrigue. A bloody fast-paced, glorious installment in the Newsflesh world.
"I wanted to live. More than anything, I wanted to live."
You know what, I'm calling it. At 33% of the way through this book, I just can't anymore. I'm adding it to "read" because there's not an option for "abandoned because it sucks." There are several reasons:
1) Life is too short to read poorly written rewrites of previous works by people who don't know how to use google.
2) Raccoons and koalas have an average weight of 15-20 pounds, and finding one that would not only be large enough to amplify according to her rules but also be in the proximity of someone to actually do something are so astronomical it's probably just as likely they'd win the lottery at the same time.
3) Instead of long winded expository dumps of your world building, can you trust that if we're reading the fourth book in a series that we've read the first three and don't, for the love of GOD, need the lights of the blood testing machine explained to us YET AGAIN?
4) Instead of long winded expository dumps of your world building, can you do literally anything else. Show instead of tell.
5) Every single heroine in these books strikes the same note. Georgia, Sal (from Parasitology) and now this girl, who is supposed to be from Ireland but other than sometimes remarking about her own accent, doesn't come across as Irish at all. I've already forgotten her name.
6) Maybe if I read more it would start to make sense, but if the reason they're out to kill Governor Kilburn is the exact same reason they were out to kill Senator Ryman from the first book literally why did you bother.
7) While I do appreciate the insertion of characters that aren't straight and white, this book felt an awful lot like Mira Grant suddently got woke in between the last novella and this novel and wanted to tell everyone about it in novel form.
8) If you're going to make decontamination showers mandatory after someone comes home from the field, doesn't it make more sense to have the showers in the garage, where they won't potentially contaminate the entire house they're walking through to get to their rooms?
9) The characters in these books are so concerned with being edgy and cool that no thought is given as to whether or not they make SENSE. Sure, give your pithy one liners about being close to death at every moment in a world filled with zombies to people who are ALREADY LIVING WITH YOU IN THIS WORLD OF ZOMBIES. Like unless you're feeding pithy one liners to a time traveler who is surprised by all the zombies then what the f are you doing.
I know that the biggest complaint for this book is 'it's just like the original series but with different characters' and also 'there is no way characters in the other books wouldn't have known about this stuff' and I mean ...those are both valid criticisms. However, I was fully ready to set all that aside because at some point you just kind of either have to accept that 'the reason this doesn't 100% make sense is because the author wasn't planning on even writing this book 10 years ago' and enjoy yourself or else just put the the book down.
I really enjoyed most of this book. I absolutely loved the characters and I think Seanan is very good at writing diverse characters and also using them as a mouthpiece for different issues without necessarily making it seem like that is what she's doing. It's always integrated very well and is very organic and relatable and I really appreciate that. She is just so spot on with so many issues and I really appreciate her writing for that. True the plot in this book in particular wasn't that strong and was mostly a rehash of the earlier series, but the characters more than made up for it in my opinion.
However that kind of all fell apart about 80% of the way through for me. This isn't necessarily Seanan's fault and she handled it way better than most but there is a reason I avoid 99% of zombie media like the plague.
I'm afraid that I have to agree with what other reviewers have said about this book. Feedback is a companion novel to the Newsflesh trilogy, one of my favourite series of all time. Mira Grant/Seanan McGuire is a wonderful writer in my opinion, it is simply that the setup of Feedback does not work very well. This book follows a different blogger team on the other end of the political spectrum.
Again, the team consists of an Irwin, two Newsies, and a Fictional. The issue is that the reader already knows what's going on in the background of the story - and I definitely would recommend reading Feedback AFTER completing the main trilogy, because it contains spoilers for the main novels - and there is little mystery. No matter how many zombies one throws at a cast of characters, no matter how lovely the diversity rep is in this book, in a way it feels like I had read this book before. And while I enjoyed the new characters, their dynamics weren't complex enough to keep me interested.
Feedback deserves a massive cheer, however, for being the first traditionally published book I ever read that has a genderfluid person as main character, who is consistently referred to as "they". It's one little step towards normalizing non-binary gender, and I love Ms McGuire for taking it.
This is Science Fiction - Dystopia - Horror - Zombies. It is also the fourth installment in the Newsflesh series. I enjoyed books one through three in this series. I thought they were incredibly creative. So extra points for that.
This one was not my favorite. It stated off so slow and all the politics was causing my eyes to glaze over. I was ready to toss it on to my DNF pile, but then I realized I needed to finish this one for a reading challenge. So I trudged on. And I'm glad I did. It does pick up. Again, there were some incredible twists in this one. I liked the way the story eventually moved once it gained momentum. Ash, the MC was a fun character once she was given an opportunity to shine. She had many cracks and crevices that added some intriguing dimension. This also helped the other characters shine as she interacted with them. So overall, 3 stars.
Feedback introduces us to Aislinn (Ash), Ben, Mat and Audrey. In Feed, the Masons are the news team for Senator Ryman and our new motley crew is reporting for Democratic hopeful Governor Susan Kilburn. Zombie attacks, politics and the crew itself took us on a wild and crazy tale filled with danger, truths, lies and loss.
"It's not what's truth that matters. It's what people remember when the dust dies down"
I really enjoyed the diverse dynamics of this team. First, we have Ben Ross the Newsie. He is straight-laced and the leader. Next, there is Ash North the Irwin who teases zombies and follows her hunches. Mat Newson who is the group Techie and a makeup artist. Rounding up the group is Audrey Wen a Fictional.
Feedback is told through Ash, a saucy, redheaded kick-ass Irwin. Ash is complicated, refreshingly honest and showed all the complexities and human factors of the team, world and events that unfold. She would bait zombies, worry about her bottom showing in her sundress and mentally hash out immortality all at the same time. I loved her; she is the feminine version of Shaun with Georgina Mason's attitude.
"Some people liked to stay on the phone with their friends and loved ones as they fought, thinking it was better to have the company. I had never wanted that. One day, I was going to die in the field. Maybe I was going to die in this one. If that happened, I wanted to be remembered smiling, not screaming. That was why I always ended my videos with a grin and a wink, no matter how tired I was. Every entry could be the one that went up on the Wall. I didn't want the last thing I did to be sad. Dying was sad enough without helping it along."
The tale is riveting and full of all the twists, danger, zombies and conspiracies one could hope for. In addition to the tale we get the crews stories and I loved how diverse and complicated they are. The synopsis refers to them as scrappy underdogs and I loved that. The relationship between them particularly Ben, Ash and Audrey is unique. Mat is not gender specific and is referred to as they. Looking for diversity? This team has it all! Their pasts hold secrets and each has a completely different personality but as a team, they work. Their friendship and emotional attachments felt genuine.
"You know what we're capable of. Maybe we're not as fancy as Senator Ryman's pet blog team, but what we lack in prestige, we more than make up for with viciousness."
As the group follows Governor Susan Kilburn, there is rise in zombie attacks. Ash and the team begin to suspect these attacks are not coincidental. The more Ash digs the more complicated and dangerous things become. Grant delivered intense scenes,and revelations that kept me emotionally invested.
Reader beware, while Feedback takes place during the same timeline as Feed it is full of spoilers for those who have not read the trilogy. For fans, hoping to see beloved character, we do hear mention of Masons and other beloved characters but this is not their story.
My status updates seem to indicate I’m all excited and stuff about reading a zombie book starring, as main character (a non-zombie), a lesbian. And how I felt sad about avoiding this book because I thought it was a repeat of a book I’d already read. So how’d we end up here? At a rating of 3.somethingthatputsitonthe3.5shelf?
The book started off strong – the book opens, if I recall correctly, with the lead character perched on top of a statue like a bird – for a really long time. She was waiting for her friend/fellow co-worker/husband to exit from his mother’s funeral. The police kept driving by while Ash, that woman on the statue, was sitting on the statue. Eventually the police stop to question her, and she uses her press badge to make them continue on their way – for, you see, the press have certain privileges not seen by the common man (it is otherwise illegal to loiter, and while that type of thing is on many law statutes today, it tends to only be used in certain circumstances –it really gets used here, though, because this is a world filled with zombies. It is just too dangerous to loiter).
Eventually the funeral guests leave, get in their cars, and rush out. And, even more eventually, that husband fella, Ben, comes out. He stops to banter with Ash, then make a call. All the while I’m kind of alternating screaming at him to stop being an ass and actually get in a car, and confusion (alternating screaming and confusion). As might be expected in this type of situation, Ben and Ash get swarmed by mobs of zombies because Ben is too stupid to get into cars and pay attention to the world around him. Luckily for him, Ash is there to save him. See, beginning starts off strong.
Husband? Lesbian main character? Something doesn’t seem to compute, eh? Ireland, apparently, has rocketed back from any progressive stances it has taken in our world to one of ultra-conservativism, ultra-religious, ultra-women-are-for-making-babies. And Ash wants nothing to do with that world. But, see, she’s Irish. Long story short (and really, there is a long story here I’m cutting short), Ash and Ben hook up in an arrangement so that Ash could get to the USA and become a citizen. 1) Ash is still a lesbian despite being married to a man; 2) technically it’d be somewhat easier for Ash and Ben to get an annulment than others since they’ve never consummated their marriage; 3) and Ash & Ben happen to live with a woman named Audrey who is Ash’s long-time girlfriend (meet in USA). So Ash is more than just a ‘lesbian in name only’.
Right, so, strong beginning, interesting characters, interesting enough plot – so how’d I end up giving a rating of only 3.5? Simple enough: somewhere along the line the book took an odd turn, well two actually – one involved the group going down the same path the Masons went down (the Masons being the main characters in the main Newsflesh series); and two – the odd turn I specifically was going to mention was the part where some really stupid, cliché, and ‘Walking Dead’ type stuff started to happen to the Ash team (). Before that, though, right before the team – like the Masons – went on the run, there’s this extra special moment wherein the group, who up to that point had learned nothing super bad or overly suspicious, get loaded down with lots of stuff they shouldn’t know, and therefore have to run for their lives because they know it (seriously, one second the team knows basically nothing that’d get anyone into trouble, the next some dick doctor is there to tell them all the super-secret stuff going on in the world for . . . no known reason; after which their life is worth less than a paper bag and they have to go on the run.
From that moment on – being told stuff – to everything that came after that point – everything just became too absurd to be acceptable or readable. I literally had to start skimming there near the end, and when I had hit the wrong button and accidentally thought the next-to-last chapter was the last chapter I didn’t even really blink. That would have been a crap ending, but by that point I was ready for things to be over. Then, of course, I realized I’d clicked a link by accident on my book reader and gone to the afterward part, backed up to read the actual ending and realized – this book really does just kind of die. Just . . . pfft, fuck it – book over now ‘the end’.
It felt so good to fall back into the world of Mira Grant’s Newsflesh novels, that as I worked through the book, I read faster and faster until the dramatic conclusion. Medical paranoia and zombie based intrigue make for an exciting novel that brings back the excitement of reading the first three books in the series.
I was a bit worried about reading a story set during a time I had already fully explored, but the viewpoints and action were separate enough from the events of FEED and DEADLINE that I didn’t mind at all. FEEDBACK could be read independently of the series, but I think it would raise more questions than would be fun for the average reader. The good news for new readers of the series is that it’s such a fun ride of a series that I can recommend it to anyone who loves conspiracies, science fiction, zombies, horror or political intrigue.
The main characters of the books are bloggers, and although in our world that doesn’t carry much weight, in the world of FEEDBACK, independent bloggers make up the bulk of serious news, and they come in two flavours: Newsies and Irwins. Newsies write factual reports and dig up data. Irwins strap on cameras and go into zombie infested places, producing exciting shows for the masses who are mostly too afraid to leave the safety of their house, even with the mandatory blood tests at nearly every door.
The zombie virus is in everyone. Anyone can amplify at any moment. Most mammals over a certain weight can also spontaneously amplify, like cows, sheep and bears. As soon as you die or suffer a large enough accident, you’re back and hungry for human flesh as the virus which was previously keeping you from getting cancer or colds now takes over, seeking to spread its more aggressive form. That means that if you’re in a room with someone who suffers a brain aneurism, you’re in a room with a zombie just as quickly. This has made everyone quite paranoid of crowds, which makes political rallies particularly scary places… Especially when someone starts targeting them.
I love how consistent the medical security/paranoia is in the books. There is never a gap in the security protocols to make way for plot, and everyone is aware how quickly any blood spilt can lead to full bleach-scented decontamination. The writing is good enough though that the security works with the plot, either heightening the drama or causing the characters to find workarounds: a blood test that only allows one person through a gate at a time doesn’t really help with sixteen people are being chased by thirty zombies. Fifteen people will never make it through in time.
The characters were varied, almost to the point of distraction, but they all worked really well together and I enjoyed meeting all of them. Like in the original books, the blogging team is a good mix of Newsies, Irwins and Fictionals. Fictionals are people who write fiction, aiming for content that is more interesting and exciting than the real world outside, which is difficult when the world outside includes zombies, you know.
If you’re a zombie fan, you’ve already read FEED and you’re going to pick up this book; I’m not even trying to sell it to you. I really recommend it if you are a scifi fan who hasn’t delved into the Newsflesh series yet. You’re in for a wild time with what may be a new favourite for you.
I feel that, more than most audiobooks I've listened to, this book was affected by the narrator, Georgia Dolenz. So I want to talk about her first.
I really LOVED the voice Dolenz did for Ash. It wasn't what I expected, initially, but the longer I listened, the more perfect it felt. My image of Ash will forever be entangled with Dolenz's voice. However, I didn't feel that her voices for the other characters measured up. They weren't as individualized, for one thing, which sometimes made it tricky to follow a conversation, if it didn't have immediate dialogue tags. I also felt that, when doing non-Ash voices, she'd fall into more of a 'reading' voice than an acting voice, which could make it hard to sink into the story.
Connected to that, though Ash came across as a fully colored-in character, the other characters didn't seem as fleshed in to me and I'm not fully sure if that's a function of the book itself (and possibly its first person POV) or if it can be attributed to Dolenz's narration failures. I just don't know. But I do wish there'd been a little more substance to the other characters, especially Ash's team: Ben, Audrey and Mat.
Though this is theoretically a standalone novel in the Newsflesh universe, my previous experience with the Newsflesh trilogy really made me wish I'd reread Feed before embarking on Feedback, since I knew there were details that I could see, but not fully remember, which was like an itch I couldn't scratch.
What I did really LOVE about Feedback is how political it is, literally and figuratively. Feedback notes several times--accurately--that the Masons (the protags of Feed) come from a different place, a different societal echelon, than the Feedback characters and the way it makes a difference to their viewpoint, their focus, and their story is fascinating. Ash and her crew not only represent the check-to-check working class, they represent a number of different minorities with their own struggles that figure deeply into the narrative. I loved the Masons, but I didn't relate to them in the same way and the fundamental differences of the two books' characters made this a very worthwhile re-entry into the Newsflesh world.
5+ stars! This.Was.Amazing! I loved every bit of it!
There are two sides to every story, and this one will show the story from the first book in a different way. With new characters, new teams, new things, and with a few older things thrown in, but very little.
That was what I was worried about at first. That this would just be the same story as the first one, just with newer characters. But it is totally different from that. We never even get to see the characters from the first books. We do hear about them, or read about them (mostly in disdain as our team isn't really happy with that team), but that is it actually. This is a whole new story, still set at the same world, the same time, but with a different candidate and a different team. I loved each and everyone on this team. Though I have to say I was a bit annoyed with Mat.
And that was just because I got annoyed with the whole they/them thing, which really confused the heck out of me. Not because I can't comprehend that people might want those pronouns, but more because it just looked weird in the story, and it really distracted me. I had to keep reading because I thought we had new characters instead of that Mat person. I also thought that he/she would be annoying (sorry, read a few books with characters like this who annoyed the hell out of me), but she/he was actually a fabulous person, and I loved the fact she/he was doing make-up tutorials, and I kind of wished we had photographs or links to those tutorials. I would have loved to see those. They sound wonderful. I also do wonder if this character would have been added back when the first books came out, or if it is something that I see happening more often: authors adding stuff to books because it is hip/happening/needs to be added or else... I would say more, but I will just leave it at that. I don't mean anything bad with it, but, nah, I will just stop here.
Ash, she was definitely the best character of the whole new character set. She was snarky, smart, awesome, sweet, cute, kick-ass, and she was a perfect example of an Irwin. I loved her relationship with Audrey, they really match together so well! I loved how sweet she was with Audrey, though how she also felt pain because she knew, her being an Irwin, that it might turn to heartbreak. I loved how dedicated she was, how she was the one who always kept a close eye out during the presidential stuff. How she was always the one to figure out stuff, she was the one who had to fight. I loved the fact she is Irish, you could really tell she was from there. So many little things that told us she was that. I could go on for hours about her, but I think I will just keep it at what I wrote. :)
Ben was a really sweet guy, though I did feel sorry for him that he was still married to Ash (for reasons you will find out in the book), and that Ash didn't want to divorce yet (also for reasons). He has been with her for years, and I am sure he must have been lonely. He did try to date, but well.... not many women will be with him considering he is married (even if it is not that kind of marriage). I did like him, he was the more serious part in the the team, and he fitted the role of Newsie perfectly. He really researched everything, thoroughly, deeply, until he found every little scrap. He was also sweet, kind, friendly.
Audrey, a wonderful girl who is the Fictional of the team, but you quickly find out there is more to this girl than it seems. She isn't just a Fictional, she has a whole backstory that was pretty awesome. We don't find it out immediately, just hear snippets, and hints, the real moment of reveal isn't until later, and I did love it was added at that moment, it fitted perfectly. I did feel sorry for her, she fell in love with an Irwin, knowing full well that she might not have long with this girl. I didn't always like her, especially during one scene, I was frustrated with her for wishing Ash to do that. She should have understood that you can't ask this of someone. Maybe if they were alone, but if they are in a group, you can't just say that. :| I can imagine why she said it though, but I did think it was annoying, especially considering she was still pissed off about it afterwards. :|
The zombies are lovely creepy again. I do like that the world is apparently a bit safer, but yet, not safe enough to just walk around without keeping a close eye on everything that is happening. Before you know it the zombies will be there. It must be terrifying, and I can imagine that people might stay in homes, or ride protective rides.
We already knew quite a lot of what was going on at the presidential race, but we find out even more in this book. This team dives even deeper into it. It was definitely awesome, though I also felt sorry for the team that they had to go through all that because of what they discovered. :( Even in a zombie world the world is still corrupt as hell. :|
There are also various other characters that I loved a whole lot, and that I really wouldn't mind seeing more of. Maybe in a short story?
The story is at times a bit slow-paced, but then picks up so much when something happens. It is like being in a rollercoaster, at times you are climbing up to the top, and then you suddenly fall down with super speed. It is amazing.
Like the other books in this series each chapter brings a new blog post or story. We switch between each of the characters, though Mat surely gets the smallest parts. Out of all the blogposts I think Ash's was the best. I love her cynical view on the world. :)
What more? Mm, well I laughed, I cried, I shouted, the book sure brought out a lot of emotions. This book was super fun, and I would definitely recommend it.
Aislinn "Ash" North is an Irwin who married to get citizenship in America after Ireland proved inhospitable to her. While disappointed that she and her team didn't get chosen to follow Republican Senator Ryman on his presidential campaign, a new opportunity arises for Ash, Ben, Audrey, and Mat. Democratic candidate Governor Susan Kilburn of Oregon has decided to ask them to follow her instead. Boy, did they get more than they asked for.
Feedback is a standalone novel that takes place concurrently with the first book of the trilogy, Feed. (And I really appreciated the name, since we're going back to Feed.) There is a lot of the same ground covered here that was already previously covered. I was a bit concerned, though I trust Seanan, that wouldn't see anything new or novel about this, just glimpses of things we came to love during the trilogy. However, there were new and interesting things to be found here. We still see a lot of characters in this that we saw in the trilogy, but not until later. Ash and company are getting to them first.
This definitely feels like it wasn't planned while Feed was being written. Feed came out in 2010, Blackout came out in 2013, and this came out in 2016. You can probably guess this wasn't planned from the beginning. I might have missed something, I do that sometimes (a lot of the time), but I don't remember anything in Feed that suggests that the events in this book were being shared at large during the first readthrough. I might reread the series someday and find that I am wrong. I just feel that Georgia would have been keeping up with everyone else, even on the Democratic side, and would have appraised us (the readers) of the situations in Kilburn's camp.
This wasn't as compelling a start. I mean, who could compared with Shaun Mason poking dead things before he and his sister take off on a flying motorcycle? Not many can compete with that. But, that feels kind of the point. Ash isn't trying to compete with the Masons. Her and her team know they come from a much lower position of power and influence of the Masons, so they don't even try. It is a much smaller operation.
It is even a different operation. The newsie, Ben, is a different type of newsie than Georgia. He isn't as zealous about the truth, he is much more content to let it come to him than range out into zombie infested areas. The fictional, Audrey, isn't Buffy, she doesn't have the tech experience, and has a complicated past. Plus, there is a new addition of Mat, who gives makeup tutorials. It is like Seanan found out makeup tutorials on Youtube were a thing and got caught up watching them for way, way too long and realised "Oh my god, I have to add this to a book!"
Ash is a lesbian, married to a man, Ben. Not because of love, but out of necessity because Ireland was treating her poorly for what she was. She is in love with Audrey, who is bisexual. Mat is gender-fluid who prefers gender neutral terms, such as they and them (which really confused me while reading them the few times it came up). Seanan manages to add these characters in in a way that feels natural, not ham-handed and forced on the reader.
It is really too bad that Audrey does something really, really bad. She lies to Ash, has been lying to her all this time. It comes up at the worst possible time. Yet, she is forgiven nearly instantly because Ash loves her and Audrey finally told her everything all at once. I get it, but also I don't. I see this come up so very, very frequently in books, where one does something bad and the other forgives them because obviously they will. It hurt.
Overall, it was a good, fun read, especially if you liked the original trilogy. It covers a lot of the same ground, but it also adds to it, too.
What a fantastic ending to a wonderful series of novels. (Ending...?). I enjoyed this novel just about as much as the first one, especially since it was in the same world, but with mostly different characters. Great characters who I really liked, too. They weren’t George and Sean, but.... who is? I just wish this novel was much, much longer, so I could find out what happens next. Georgia Dolenz is the narrator of the audiobook and she was very good at all the different American accents, the Irish brogue, a Canadian accent, etc. I enjoyed her work. I sincerely wish the author Mira Grant would continue this series of novels in some way, shape or form. I adore this world, and now that I’m done with all the novels from it, I’m going to really miss my old friends a great deal. Pretty please.....??? *sad face*
4 stars, and recommended to all. Just read the novels in the order they are supposed to be read in, please...!