My review and an extended sample of the audiobook are posted at Hotlistens.com
I started listening to Mira Grant’s Newsflesh trilogy last year, so I was very late to the party. That’s really good news for me, I didn’t have to wait for her to decide to tackle the other side of the campaign.
The first three books in this series follow Sean and Georgia Mason as they follow Senator Ryman’s presidential campaign. There are three books and an anthology devoted to the characters. In the continuation of the series (this could’ve also been marketed as a spinoff series), we follow Aislinn (“Ash”), Ben, Mat, and Audrey as they follow Governor Susan Kilburn’s bid for the same presidential campaign. This book’s timeline is the same as book one, Feed.
So, this world is set about 20 years after “The Rising” when the dead decided to get up and keep walking. While things with zombies are bad, there is government, technology and systems in place to help keep the outbreaks down. Zombies still exist, but they aren’t the problems you’re used to seeing in most zombie books/movies/TV shows. People have learned how to live with them. The other interesting thing about this world, animals turn into zombies. People had to give up their dogs or risk them “amplifying” and attacking you. The same is true of livestock. Very little meat is eaten anymore, aside from eggs, chicken and fish, as larger animals can amplify and contaminate the meat.
So, this story is narrated by Ash. She is an Irish woman who fled Ireland, which isn’t as easy as it sounds. To do so, she married Ben, who is nothing more than a friend and now a co-worker as they work on the same blogging team. Ash is the Irwin (Irwins are named for Steve Irwin because they never saw a zombie they didn’t want to poke with a stick). Ben is a Newsie. Newies tell the factual truth and basically replaced journalists of our day because they lied to the public about the zombies during The Rising. Then there is Audrey. She is the team’s Fictional, which is exactly as it sounds. She is also Ash’s girlfriend, remember how I said Ash just married Ben for the greencard. She is a lesbian. Ben is okay with this infidelity because they were married in the legal sense only. There is a love between Ben and Ash, but it is the love of two really close friends. Last, but certainly not least, is Mat. Mat is genderfluid and the team’s techie. Mat also has a great following as a makeup artist. Mat prefers pronouns of “them” and “they”.
This team of bloggers isn’t in the big leagues of the Mason’s, whose parents started the whole blogger as journalist thing. They just want to be able to make their way in the world. Ben really wants to fix up the house that was left to him and protect his sister. When they get asked to go on the campaign trail following Governor Kilburn, they had no idea what was in store for them. This story is filled with as much plotting and political intrigue as Feed, as we watch our bloggers try to stay alive while also reporting on the news of the political campaign.
This story has diversity in spades. I applaud Grant for creating a diverse book. Ben is black, married to a lesbian Irish white girl, who’s dating an Asian woman. Add in Mat, and that is an extremely diverse group of bloggers all working together on this campaign. There is also meetup with another candidate on the trail who worked as a stripper at one point and used her beauty to win over the people of Nevada. She worked hard to legitimize the sex worker trade and to get them better working conditions.
I loved this story. I was so glad to get back into the Newsflesh world. The characters that Grant has created as just wonderful. Those characters, paired with a very unique zombie world, that has made this series so great in my mind. If you’re a fan of The Walking Dead or zombies in general, I can’t recommend this series enough. You can start with this book if you want, but you must know, that because this book takes place during the same time as Feed, you will learn some spoilers about Feed if you choose to go back and read it later.
If there is anything I could fault in this series, it is the fact that each book has different narrators. The original trilogy has both male and female narrators for each book, which is not the case here. We have only one narrator for this story, Georgia Dolenz. I started this book not having any idea who the narrator would be. I will say that they picked a great choice for this book. Since Ash is our main storyteller and is from Ireland, this narrator must be really good as Irish accents. I can say that she nailed it. She did a great job with not only Ash’s voice, but with all the voices of this story. There are a lot of voices, both male and female, and she did a great job with all of them. I will be on the lookout for more books by Dolenz.
**I like to thank the publisher for providing me with a copy of this audiobook in exchange for an honest review.