The final book in the Newsflesh trilogy has a lot of story to tie up & a lot of story to live up too.
Feed began the story outlying the man-made virus, Kellis-Amberlee & its effect on our world. A virus that cured the common cold & cancer but created something much worse, zombies.
Almost everyone in the world has the virus now, die & the virus goes ‘live’ turning you & everyone you infect into a zombie.
They called it ‘The Rising’ & it almost destroyed humanity.
A lot later the world is getting back on its feet, dealing with the Kellis-Amberlee virus & living in a zombie world. In America a presidential campaign is underway, something that Shaun & Georgia Mason have been chosen to cover for their news blog, After the End Times. Bloggers have replaced traditional media as news thanks to their penchant for risk taking & truth. After the End Times are one of the biggest but following Senator Ryman’s campaign to become President as his official news team promises to push them to the very top.
It’s all very exciting that is until the convoy is attacked, people are killed & it all looks like an inside job. Someone or some people don’t want Ryman as President & are willing to do anything to stop him. It’s up to Shaun, Georgia & their team to uncover the truth…no matter what.
This review will contain spoilers for all three parts of the Newsflesh trilogy. You’ve been warned, read at your own risk.
Feed ended with Georgia Mason dead having been hit by a dart filled with the live virus. She was killed before she fully amplified, killed by her adopted brother Shaun but the conspiracy against Senator Ryman seemed to be uncovered. She hadn’t died for nothing.
Deadline picked things up a year later with Shaun just about coping thanks to the voice of Georgia that now occupied his head. Ryman had become president & After the End Times was still motoring along (although with less involvement from Shaun).
The book focused more on Shaun’s inability to handle being without Georgia (something that got a tad confusing for readers) & his hunt for those who he blamed for her death. Shaun wasn’t convinced the conspiracy ended with Senator Tate & as the book goes on it becomes clear that he is right.
Deadline ended with the shock reveal that Georgia had been cloned deep inside a CDC facility. This is where Blackout picks up…
Feed was written from the point of view of Georgia while Deadline from the point of view of Shaun. Blackout shares its point of view with both Masons, chapter by chapter. For most of the book Georgia (or a 97% accurate version of her) is trapped inside a CDC facility so it’s up to Shaun & the surviving members of After the End Times to drive the story along.
It’s still heavily focused on the huge conspiracy that begun in Feed but here it begins to stretch reality a bit too much. That might seem laughable considering this is a zombie novel but what made Feed & most of Deadline such a compelling read was just how real they felt. Blackout doesn’t have that same feeling especially when it focuses on Shaun whose ‘crazy’ antics are getting a bit tiresome at this stage.
Anticipation is built up well for the eventual reunion of Georgia & Shaun but it came with a sense of trepidation. You see, Deadline left me feeling a little cold…a little confused regarding Shaun & Georgia’s relationship. It all starts coming across a bit odd, a bit too personal. I thought I was just reading way too much into characters that have relied on each other throughout their entire lives but all my fears where answered here in Blackout.
Yes, Shaun & Georgia are more then just brother & sister…in one of the most cringe-worthy moments of the entire series they share a deep kiss in front of other members of After the End Times.
It’s just awful, an awful direction to take the characters in. Now, I get it…legally they’re not brother & sister. They were found as kids by the Masons, adopted & brought up as a family, through internal dialogue the pair accepted that they had to keep their true feelings hidden from everyone as no-one would understand.
I get it but I really don’t like it.
This is a brother & sister team that has been seen in that way for over a thousand pages & suddenly you’re expected to accept that they have been a secret couple!? It just doesn’t fit & will make anyone who has invested into them just cringe.
I’m also not convinced that this was Mira Grant’s original vision for the pair when Feed & parts of Deadline were first written. Don’t believe me? Explain Shaun & Becks brief relationship & sex scene?
That development effectively derails the story & it never really recovers, it completely changes how you feel about the two lead characters. The final 100 or so pages feel incredibly rushed, characters re-enter, caricature bad-guys rise up & yet another good character is killed off for no good reason.
The ending feels abrupt & far too much feels unresolved. It’s so disappointing to see a great trilogy just fall apart here & I can’t help but blame the horrible decision to make Georgia & Shaun a couple. Just horrible.
Such a pity as there is plenty still to enjoy about this final book in the Newflesh trilogy.