Review: Blackout

I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Review: BlackoutBlackout by Mira Grant
Series: Newsflesh Trilogy #3
Published by Orbit on May 22, 2012
Genres: Dystopian, Horror, Science Fiction, Thriller
Pages: 659
Format: Paperback
Source: Publisher
Goodreads
four-half-stars

Rise up while you can. -Georgia Mason

The year was 2014. The year we cured cancer. The year we cured the common cold. And the year the dead started to walk. The year of the Rising.

The year was 2039. The world didn't end when the zombies came, it just got worse. Georgia and Shaun Mason set out on the biggest story of their generation. They uncovered the biggest conspiracy since the Rising and realized that to tell the truth, sacrifices have to be made.

Now, the year is 2041, and the investigation that began with the election of President Ryman is much bigger than anyone had assumed. With too much left to do and not much time left to do it in, the surviving staff of After the End Times must face mad scientists, zombie bears, rogue government agencies-and if there's one thing they know is true in post-zombie America, it's this:

Things can always get worse.

Blackout is the conclusion to the epic trilogy that began in the Hugo-nominated Feed and the sequel, Deadline.

First Sentence: “My story ended where so many stories have ended since the Rising: with a man—in this case, my adoptive brother and best friend, Shaun—holding a gun to the base of my skull as the virus in my blood betrayed me, transforming me from a thinking human being into something better suited to a horror movie.”

Review:
*cries buckets of tears because it’s over*

Okay, now that that’s over, allow me to try, probably somewhat ineffectually to explain how I feel about this book specifically, and the series as a whole. I’m going to start with the series, because I can do that without spoilers. Then I’ll warn you part way through that you should stop reading if you don’t want spoilers for the other books.

The Newsflesh Trilogy is nothing short of epic. The idea of zombies, some Cracked articles aside, is pretty much absurd, at least so far as I understand it. Despite their vast appeal, zombies do not make sense, so you’re taking a serious leap of faith every time you crack one open, or, at least, that’s how I feel. I know that some people don’t read zombie books for this very reason. If you’re going to choose one to read, I would recommend this series. Grant does the best job of making zombies sound possible and scientific than any other author that I’ve read, and, through some magic all her own, she manages to do this without going too far over my head with science or boring me. She deserves applause for this.

Her whole cast of characters is amazing. They’re sarcastic, brilliant, and human, even the ones who might not be. Ahem. The humor, the characterization, the epicness, and the darkness reminds me so much of Joss Whedon’s work. If you’re a Whedon fan, you really should be reading these. I mean, heck, one of the characters is even named after Buffy.

So yeah, if you have not read these yet, go buy all of them right now or get them all from your library (and buy them later, which you’ll probably want to do). They are amazing. You can check out my rave reviews of Feed and Deadline as well. Another option is to go enter my 300 followers giveaway, since you could possibly win the whole series.

WARNING: SPOILERS FOR FEED AND DEADLINE AHEAD. ALSO ZOMBIES.

Mira Grant seriously rocks cliffhangers like nobody’s business. At the end of Feed and Deadline, she totally left me positively reeling. Each time, I’m like “Wait, what?” and “Waaaaahhhhh!” and “How do you come back from this?” and then she totally makes the story even more epic. It’s so intense. At the end of Deadline, we find out that Georgia’s still alive. Holy bejeezus, what the what, right?

The CDC is perhaps the most epically terrifying enemy. They have weaponized viruses, crazy smarts, endless resources, and people trust them automatically because they’re doctors. Reading Blackout was almost painful, because it was even more obvious how weak After the End Times is compared to the CDC. The Masons’ crew has been in deep shit before, but they were always able to keep blogging. Seeing every chapter opening’s quotes say ‘Unpublished’ was endlessly sad. Their word’s not getting out, guys!

Speaking of those quotes at the beginning of the chapters, I love them with every fiber of my being. Usually, I think quotes that open chapters are lame. I often skip them. In these books, though, I looked forward to them. They may even have been my favorite parts. Each one is a freaking truth bomb. Plus, it’s awesome to be able to get a sense of what their individual blogs are like (such as that Maggie’s is crazy).

I think Blackout may have been my least favorite in the series, which is not to say that it’s not amazing or anything. Partly, I can’t help but be upset that everything was not wrapped up in a neat little bow for me. I want to know EXACTLY what happened to every single character because I love them so much, and I don’t know which sucks. Stylistically, though, I totally know why she didn’t do that.

The real issue that I had with Blackout was the weird formatting. For obvious reasons, Blackout switches between the perspectives of Shaun and Georgia. There was nothing to let you know whose perspective you were reading but the voice and the location. That was fine. The annoying thing was that beginning with Chapter 23, the chapters are labeled as to whose mind you’re in. This drove me crazy! I feel like the audience is smart enough and knows the characters well enough to figure out who we’re reading. OR put the headings on EVERY chapter. I know why the labeling changed there, but the inconsistency really bothers me.

The first few chapters also moved quite a bit slower than they did in the other books. I suspect this was due partly to George being stuck in a room and not able to do much. Another factor is the info dump at the beginning to remind readers what happened previously. Since I just read Deadline a few days ago, all of that was unnecessary repetition. Deadline likely had the same thing, but it wasn’t unnecessary, as I read Feed a year before.

Blackout has the humor and intelligence of the prior books (plus a ZOMBIE GRIZZLY), making a pretty satisfying conclusion to the series. I say ‘pretty’ satisfying because I really want more. Like right now BUT IT’S OVER. Well, except for some novellas, Fed and Countdown.

Rating this was tricky. I’ve been waffling between a 4 and a 4.5. Rounded up, both because the series as a whole is epic and because I decided not to factor in the formatting to the rating of the novel, as it’s such a minor thing.

Favorite Quote: “You know what? Fuck it. Just fuck it. The Rising didn’t manage to wipe out the human race, it just made us turn into even bigger assholes than we were before. Hear that, mad science? You failed. You were supposed to kill us all, and instead you turned us into monsters.”

4 responses to “Review: Blackout”

  1. I can’t even express how much I’ve been waiting to read this. Like, I need to have read this yesterday. She is the queen of cliffhangers! Also, I love the blog bits at the beginnings of chapters, too. Great review! I’m pumped for Blackout 😀

  2. Christina says:

    I would loan it to you, but by the time it made it through the mail, the book will be out already. 🙂 Hope you enjoy it!

  3. I’m waiting for my pre-order! SO hyped now, even more so after this fantastic review…. 🙂

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