Deadline by Mira Grant: not just about Zombies

Mira Grant, Deadline, Seanan McGuireVampires, zombies, and pirates have been on trend for a while. I always liked vampires because of my goth roots but never ever cared for zombies. I avoided watching horror movies but then I moved in with Randy and dated his brother Claythey were both huge fans of zombie movies. I started to see every zombie movie. And then I even started to like some (28 Days and Resident Evil; both feature strong female heroes). My good friend John gave me a copy of Feed by Mira Grant. He loves horror, sci-fi, and fantasy. He knows my reading tastes well so I was excited for the gift. Feed was the first of a trilogy. I read that two years ago and finally just read the second of the series, Deadline. Why so long in between reading the two? Because while reading Feed in the middle of the day in my bedroom I started to get scared. I was so anxious and my heart beat so quickly that I had to put the book down and remind myself that it wasn’t real. I was scared to go to sleep at night for fear of the dreams I might have.

Feed takes place after The Rising occurred: two different manmade viruses accidentally combine and make a virus that  turns people into zombies. Georgia Mason and her bother Shaun Mason are adopted by a blogger couple who endanger their children on camera for better ratings. Georgia and Shaun create their own blogs and eventually become certified journalists. Georgia is one of the narrators: strong, smart, and the alpha. 3/4 of the way through the book, she dies. I kept looking at the book trying to figure out how I read it wrong. Grant couldn’t kill off her character like that. She was such a fully developed character. What a waste. She’s got 2 and 1/4 books to go. I was upset. But I also respected a writer who would do just that. Often times it feels like the characters that die aren’t that important so we don’t really care: we just keep reading. But Grant fully developed  a character that we would love and was absolutely vital to the story (or so I thought) and then killed her off. But then she did something even more interesting. Shaun hears Georgia’s voice in his head. For the rest of the book. So we get her jokes, her insight, her sort of presence in Shaun’s head.

Deadline is the sequel. Shaun is obsessed with unravelling the conspiracy that is responsible for his sister’s death. He continues to hear Georgia’s voice and his colleagues are used to him talking to her. Shaun is considered insane but his friends tease him about it. A CDC scientist has faked her own death and asks Shaun for help. Along with Shaun’s team, they look for the truth in CDC research facilities, a friend’s hidden compound, and secret research facilities. Deadline is not just about zombies and death; it’s also about friendship and love. There are extremely complicated relationships and an awkward sex scene (intentionally awkward where the reader knows, ‘this is going to be bad the next day’). Shaun’s pain over his sister’s death is what drives the entire book. Grant’s characters love each other as family. And the reader hopes they all survive.

In the past, before I ever read a horror book, I did not realize they could be so thought provoking. I imagined them as slasher movies, everyone dying because it is fun for the audience. But Grant’s books seem plausible; disturbingly plausible. And while they scare me, I know that I will continue to read all the books she writes.

The author, Mira Grant is a pseudonym for Seanan McGuire. She looks exactly as I pictured her. According to her bio, she audits college virology classes. Did I mention that on her website she has bios of each of her cats with multiple photos of each animal?

I highly recommend her books, especially to those who have not read horror. Also, I will add that Deadline ends on an insane cliffhanger. Again, I thought I misread what I read. I had to stop and reread it a few times. I don’t know how she’s going to explain what she wrote but I’m certain that Grant will make everything clear in the third book, Blackout.

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