Lucy's Reviews > Deadline

Deadline by Mira Grant
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Jan 29, 2011

it was ok
bookshelves: zombies, gloomy, horror, crappy-sequel, wasn-t-for-me, adult
Read from June 03 to 06, 2011

** spoiler alert ** I had a lot of mixed feelings about the first book in the Newsflesh trilogy, Feed. I thought there were some technical problems with the world building, including how bloggers became the voice of a generation and helped people stay informed during the uprising. For one thing, I never thought conventional media would fail quite as hard as Mira Grant wanted me to believe it would and for another thing I always thought bloggers would spread a lot of misinformation as fact, you know, the way they do now. When I opened Deadline, however, I wasn't concerned about whether or not that was plausible anymore. I opened Deadline willing to accept everything all the world building in Feed. In fact, I'd completely forgotten about my old issues until I reread my review of the first book. Grant got a clean black slate with me and it didn't really work out too well.

Before you move forward, I'm going to put a second spoiler warning here because I can't discuss anything if I'm worried about spoiling someone. Read the summary goodreads provides and then don't go near any spoiler-warning reviews. Regardless of what I think of the book you deserve to have it unfurl the way the author meant it to unfurl.

Shaun's grief fueled behavior was ridiculous. It would have been suitable two weeks after George died or two months after George died -- but two one** freaking years? The dude has been walking around the office, not really doing anything resembling his job (either as an Irwin or the head of the site) AND talking to himself for two years? No. Just no. I don't want to hear any bullshit about how much he loved George and how lost he was without her. Listen up: people die. People you love die. People you've built your whole world around die. Eventually you have to get your shit together and handle it. You either find another purpose or you die right along with them. Given Shaun's level of grief you'd think he'd just walk out into a field of zombies and let them have him, but no he did have something 'driving' him.

Shaun's 'other purpose' was finding George's killer, but he did absolutely nothing save talk to himself and punch people. His rage was the futile rage of a child, not a grief stricken man. If he was a teenager I might've given it a pass. At his age, however, he came off as an incredibly weak person and his constant breakdowns should've landed him in a mental hospital. He never pulled himself together and focused. The entire plot of this book arrived gift wrapped on his door step. He didn't dig and hunt or work to find George's killer. He had one prolonged nervous breadkdown and hit people a lot for two years.

My next point: Shaun and George's relationship. I'm going to say this once. What the fuck was that?

The sex scene between Shaun and Becks was well-written. It didn't shy away from details and yet it never got too graphic. The fact that he said George's name afterward blew my mind. My mind came back though and it was pissed off. George never presented her relationship with Shaun as anything more than familial -- albeit extremely co-dependent. (Okay, yes, it was more co-dependent than the Olsen twins, but they were still actively portrayed as only siblings.)

How, after one full book written from a first person point with a character who was not only presented as a reliable narrator from start to finish but also presented as a character obsessed with the pursual of truth, did we end up with this weird surprise in the second book?

How could George have been the person we thought she was and never know she was involved sexually with Shaun? I call foul. I can't accept that George lied for the entire first book so either this is part of Shaun's crazy delusions or I'm questioning Grant's storytelling integrity. I think Grant cheapened herself for shock value and I'm annoyed about it.

And, no, I don't give a damn about the quasi-faux-incest. It didn't bother me in the Harper Connelly books; it wasn't what made the Mortal Instuments suck (the writing did that). What I don't respond well to is being lied to as a reader just so the author can have a gasp-y reveal. If you can't pull that off without flat out lying to me then you don't deserve me as a reader. There were ways to make that a reveal without destroying George's integrity as a character.

Speaking of cheap, manipulative writing, I didn't think Dave's death in the beginning of the book was necessary seeing as they were hacking the building's security system. If it was a hack, why couldn't it be hacked from a laptop within the van? Maybe there was a reason and I glossed over it. I don't know. What I can tell you is that when you're trying to get me to cry over something you should handle the material with a light hand and let me arrive at those tears myself. Grant all but sucker punches you in the stomach and demands you cry. I obviously wasn't impressed with either execution or the content.

The plot of the book... was somewhat interesting, although again it just arrives gift wrapped at the front door. For someone whose entire goal in life it was to find George's killer... Shaun was doing a crackerjack job. A lot of the plot involves running back and forth across the country with the CDC breathing down their necks as other people gift wrap information for them. Seriously, the first scientist Shaun approaches with the information hands him a sparkly career make or break story. Gift wrapped information even comes flying in from England! On top of all the 'an apple of knowledge fell into Shaun's lap' very few of his plans were particularly intelligent. It was mostly, let's kick down some doors and see what happens! It's not like they can kill us... except they already have and they haven't shown any sign of not doing more of it.

Also, I didn't think their hide-out at Maggie's was particularly genius. If I was searching for a rogue group of reporters I'd start with friends, family, and ummIdunno other people working for the company. Genius plotting.

The outbreak in the storm also annoyed me. Somehow everyone in the world knows about it except the three of them. Yes, they were off the grid, but they had a radio playing the ENTIRE time. They made several stops, at gas stations, rest rooms, and blood check points and there were no televisions or notices of what was going on?!? Just empty stores and security booths?!?! There should have been an emergency broadcast on the radio -- they should've known what was happening. Again, Grant sacrifices the integrity of her story and world building for a big reveal moment.

Here's what I enjoyed: The book opened at a high pace and although Grant does eventually get lost in her own recapping she didn't torture me with it outright. Despite Shaun's stupid life choices I did enjoy the zombie's are gonna eat you all scenes -- of course, they're few and far between. Deadline suffers from Feed's zombies, zombies, zombies everywhere but here. The zombies are referenced constantly although not present often enough for my tastes.

Back to Shaun's BIG DARK GRIEF. Fuck the coke. It got annoying. Fuck the bike. He deserved to die when he decided to ride on it during the biggest out break in his living memory. Had the coke and the bike not constantly been reinforced as important because it belonged to George then they might have both had some emotional relevance to me. instead we got fucking beat down with the bike and slapped around by the coke. Every single mother-effing time Shaun drank a coke I got annoyed. George's disembodied voice wasn't enough, going back for her black box wasn't enough, the bike wasn't enough -- no no the coke every twenty pages was absolutely necessary. Grant methodically made this devoid of meaning for me. Also, it would have been a lot more powerful had George not been in his head requesting it. If Shaun had done it without bickering with her about it or just because it reminded him of her I would have enjoyed it more. Fail.

Oh... and George has been cloned? Fuck it. Where's my receipt? I'm returning this book-shaped bullshit. In my first review I commented on how I kept waiting for the strange releationship to bloom into something, but nothing ever came of it. Well something did come of it. We were just mislead and lied to so Grant could have a 'powerful' scene at the expense of reader's trust and her character's integrity. In my review of Feed, I also couldn't tell if George's death was a meaningful, brave approach to the novel or if it was cheap. The answer's in. Cheap. The cloning let Grant end Feed on a 'powerful' scene and then she takes it back at the end of the second book? Bullshit.

I'm going to go lie down now and try to forget about this book. I need to go read Aftertime which I've been promised is a proper zombie novel I'll like. *crosses fingers*

**Year confusion on George's death is somewhat addressed in the comments. I've come to the conclusion that George is only supposed to be dead a year in Deadline.
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Reading Progress

06/03/2011 page 1
0.0% "So you know I'm avoiding Beauty Queens by Libba Bray when I start a new book." 3 comments
06/04/2011 page 129
22.0% "*sighs* I'm tempted to read reviews to see if someone can properly explain why Dave had to go back upstairs to do what he did -- beyond action movie the fans will only turn off once logic. I am tired and it might kill my enjoyment of the book if I keep picturing Sylvester Stallone. Help?"
06/05/2011 page 164
28.0% "So many of Shaun's references to George are unnecessary. He's not even trying to even pass vaguely for sane. Less would've been more. Less of him waving talking to George to make when she does speak more poignant. Even the coke references would've been better had they been more subtle. I would've been more moved by his grief if it had been more personal and not waved around quite as much."
06/05/2011 page 179
31.0% "Okay... so people were close enough to plant zombies on your roof, but you don't have to worry about them examining the cover story that you were never there and were really out in the woods camping because your daring escape from a neighborhood that burned down was... what? Subtle? *rolls eyes*"
06/06/2011 page 301
52.0% "Oh disturbing sex scene is disturbing."
06/06/2011 page 469
81.0% "There's no reason for some of this traveling around beyond that driving gives the illusion of the plot moving forward."
06/23/2016 marked as: read
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Comments (showing 1-41 of 41) (41 new)

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message 1: by I am Bastet (new)

I am Bastet I almost hope you don't calm the fuck down because reading hostile reviews is more fun for me! :-)


Lucy I didn't calm down, sadly. I wanted to write something sane but I kept spitting things out.


message 3: by I am Bastet (new)

I am Bastet Actually it reads pretty coherently. You handle yourself well in a rage!


Celia I liked Deadline a lot more than you - but yeah, I got really sick of the coke thing. And the bike thing. And the threatening to punch people thing. And the way those around him were almost awe-filled at his levels of grief. He was the king of grief.


Lucy I stopped buying his grief about 40 pages in. Unfortunately we never stopped getting beat upside the head with it.


Indigo You seem to have missed all the cues about Shaun and George's relationship in the first book. You also seem to have missed it wasn't even one year after Feed that Deadline began. The book began in Apr/May and June was the one year mark, about a third of the way into the book. We also know Shaun hasn't gotten any help for his mental issues for various reasons like running the site, and fighting legal battles with his parents. And his coworkers were mainly cringingly tolerating it because he was the boss. As for the news taking the fall -- the media already has credibility problems, and some bloggers are even now breaking stories while the "real" news isn't paying attention to it. Though that seems to have been a difficult point for suspension of disbelief for a lot of readers. You are of course entitled to feel how you feel. Just wanted to point out some of the things you felt weren't addressed actually were.


message 7: by Lucy (last edited Jun 11, 2011 03:32AM) (new) - rated it 2 stars

Lucy (view spoiler)


message 8: by Kaia (new)

Kaia Not to be nosy, but actually most of Feed takes place in 2040. It's easy to miss, though. The tell is George's blog posts, which, with the exception of the earliest ones, have dates in 2040.

But I'm only halfway through Feed, so I can't really comment on the rest of it.


message 9: by Lucy (last edited Jun 11, 2011 03:39AM) (new) - rated it 2 stars

Lucy (view spoiler)


message 10: by Indigo (last edited Jun 11, 2011 07:26AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Indigo Lucy wrote: "[spoilers removed]"

Hi, Lucy, thanks for the reply. I actually did read your whole review, and went back again before starting this reply.

Feed began in 2039 when they got the blog team invite. But it finished in 2040, June 2040.

(view spoiler)

But that's what happens when you have first person narrative (which is one of the reasons I dislike it) -- you don't know the reasons things happen unless the narrator knows them and feels like telling you.


message 11: by Kaia (new)

Kaia Ouch. It does not fill me with confidence that Mira Grant is so confused about the dates. There's actually no way (view spoiler) could have taken place in 2039, because it happens after the primaries, which would have been early in the election year.

Which would be 2040.

(view spoiler)


message 12: by Lucy (last edited Jun 11, 2011 08:22AM) (new) - rated it 2 stars

Lucy (view spoiler)


Elena I'm with you on (view spoiler)

That said, I still really loved the book. I see your point about the radio silence, but I feel it's a relatively small, forgivable offense. And the grief was a little overdone at times, but overall I didn't have a problem with it.


message 14: by Lucy (new) - rated it 2 stars

Lucy Sorry for the sweeping tags. I'm afraid if I get too nitpicky with what I mark spoilers I'm going to put something ridiculous outside of them and ruin the book for someone.

(view spoiler)


Elena I was paraphrasing above, but the exact quote isn't far off (via the Deadline spoiler thread on the author's blog): (view spoiler)

*sigh*


message 16: by Lucy (new) - rated it 2 stars

Lucy That's such an awful answer. Private or not, George actively misrepresented the relationship. It's a book about murder conspiracy and goverment corruption, where major things the audience was privy to would have been kept secret. The way Grant says "that wasn't the sort of thing she would share in a first person narrative" makes it sound like the story being first person makes the secret legitimately okay to keep instead of a dozen times worse than the same secret kept third person. How can you keep a secret when you're putting the audience in her head? *rocks self in corner*


message 17: by Kaia (new)

Kaia Oh. Dear. Me.

As someone who just read a short while ago a part where George was basically "At my age it's embarrassing to admit I still love my brother" that bothers me a lot. Because she was clearly talking in a familial sense, and though I haven't found George as honest as she insists she is, that makes her an outright liar.


message 18: by Lucy (new) - rated it 2 stars

Lucy Beth wrote: "Oh. Dear. Me.

As someone who just read a short while ago a part where George was basically "At my age it's embarrassing to admit I still love my brother" that bothers me a lot. Because she was cle..."


Yes! That whole thing. If I was in love with my brother *pauses to have heebiejeebies* I wouldn't actively refer to him as my brother. In fact. If we weren't biologically related I would say that loudly and often, maybe change my last name or seek out my biological family so that the distinction would be there. Instead, George refers to their relationship in a very familial way. It wasn't just hiding the truth. It was straight up lying/denial.


message 19: by Indigo (last edited Jun 11, 2011 10:04AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Indigo Elena wrote: "I was paraphrasing above, but the exact quote isn't far off (via the Deadline spoiler thread on the author's blog): [spoilers removed]

*sigh*"


I tend to classify this the same way J.K. Rowling classified Dumbledore being gay. It's a facet of the story, but not one that was necessarily needful to bring up at that particular point.

(view spoiler) any more than it was relevant for Dumbledore to have brought up his orientation while helping Harry grow ready to take on Voldemort.


message 20: by Lucy (last edited Jun 11, 2011 10:09AM) (new) - rated it 2 stars

Lucy (view spoiler)


Indigo Lucy wrote: "[spoilers removed]"

(view spoiler)


message 22: by Penny (new) - rated it 1 star

Penny (view spoiler)


message 23: by Penny (last edited Jun 15, 2011 12:26PM) (new) - rated it 1 star

Penny (view spoiler)


Korey I just finished Deadline and had to see what some other people thought. Your review sums up my own feelings almost exactly, thanks for sharing.


message 25: by Penny (new) - rated it 1 star

Penny I just 'unliked' and then 'liked' your review. I just had to because the rant at the end is so good. I'd take my book back, too, if it wasn't an audiobook. Sucks to be me. Anyway, I'm reading aftertime too. It's okay, I guess. I'm not totally in love with the story yet. And what grown man would go by the nickname Smoke? No guy that wasn't already a massive douche-canoe, that's for sure. And his special little encounter with the MC skeeved me out. I'm going to keep reding though because I've also read the rave reviews and I'm hoping I'll end up liking it as well.


message 26: by Lucy (new) - rated it 2 stars

Lucy Thanks Korey! I didn't know how much ranting I was going to do when I started my review. It snowballed into stream of consciousness 'and this bothered me too' so I'm glad it didn't become unreadably ranty.

Penny, I hate ending up with audiobooks that were a miss. Somehow it's worse than the hardcover. I guess because I can't give it away maybe. I haven't gotten that far in Aftertime. I started it and got distracted by another book but I think I'm going to read it cover tocover this weekend and stop the procrastinating. I wish you loved it so I'd have more to look forward to. Zombie books have been a big disappointment for me lately. Warm Bodies a few weeks ago was a total tank for me. :|


message 27: by Tatiana (new)

Tatiana (view spoiler)


message 28: by Lucy (new) - rated it 2 stars

Lucy (view spoiler)


message 29: by Tatiana (new)

Tatiana (view spoiler)


message 30: by Penny (new) - rated it 1 star

Penny Three years old, I believe.


message 31: by Lucy (new) - rated it 2 stars

Lucy (view spoiler)


Miss Clark I am quite spoiled, so no worries there, but in all the other reviews I looked at there was no mention of a sexual or romantic relationship between George and Shaun. Is there definitely one or is it one of those situations where it could be read either way???? B/c if it is pretty skeevy, I would like to give this one a pass, but if it is tolerable.... Your thoughts?


message 33: by Lucy (new) - rated it 2 stars

Lucy There is definitely one. He admits to it and discusses it with another character, aside from the fact that he moans her name post sex with that other character... I believe Grant's openly discussed it too now on her forums or whatever.


message 34: by Cory (new)

Cory Lucy wrote: "There is definitely one. He admits to it and discusses it with another character, aside from the fact that he moans her name post sex with that other character... I believe Grant's openly discussed..."

Gross...


Lianne Burwell Okay, I did not read it as sexual. I read it as his hallucination regularly tells him good night, and when a woman's voice says "Goodnight, Shaun," he automatically says "Goodnight, George," because Georgia is the only one who ever says that too him. I never saw anything that said it was a sexual relationship, and I'm surprised anyone else did.


message 36: by Tatiana (new)

Tatiana Lianneb wrote: "Okay, I did not read it as sexual. I read it as his hallucination regularly tells him good night, and when a woman's voice says "Goodnight, Shaun," he automatically says "Goodnight, George," becaus..."

Actually, the author did confirm their relationship as sexual on her blog.


message 37: by Lucy (new) - rated it 2 stars

Lucy Yeah, Shaun also elaborates on it a bit in the text. You should reread


Steph Just reading this series now. I also didn't pick up that they had a sexual relationship. I thought from him saying her name that it was one-sided due to George never indicating any more-than-family feelings in the first book. But if the author confirmed it well then... gross. I just don't get it.


Kevin I'm in the same boat as Steph -- I just finished Deadline and took Shaun muttering George's name as just another part of his insanity. Even Beck's comment on it afterward didn't register with me because it seemed so out there. In fact, unless book 3 confirms this, I think I'll just keep my head canon the way it is. I don't think I can handle their constant referral to one another as brother and sister while doing what it's suggested they were doing, and, frankly, the ability to believe everything George offers as narrator is more important to me than sticking with what the author intended.

I never liked Shaun, so it's easier for me to believe he's just insane.


Kevin bah. Just saw that Grant confirmed it.

Not a fan of that at all. Had the possibility been explored from the start, that'd be one thing. But not like this. Not like this.


Carol Yarbrough It seemed to me that she had a bet w someone about how many times she could use the word 'pot pie' in a book. I don't recall anyone using that term in any book unless openly mocking growing up in the 70's or just from a Swanson's commercial.


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