Thursday, April 21, 2011

Newsflash: Zombies = Cancer Cure


Written by: Mira Grant

Released: May 1, 2010 by Orbit

Summary: In 2014, two experimental viruses—a genetically engineered flu strain designed by Dr. Alexander Kellis, intended to act as a cure for the common cold, and a cancer-killing strain of Marburg, known as "Marburg Amberlee"—escaped the lab and combined to form a single airborne pathogen that swept around the world in a matter of days. It cured cancer. It stopped a thousand cold and flu viruses in their tracks.

It raised the dead.

Millions died in the chaos that followed. The summer of 2014 was dubbed "The Rising," and only the lessons learned from a thousand zombie movies allowed mankind to survive. Even then, the world was changed forever. The mainstream media fell, Internet news acquired an undeniable new legitimacy, and the CDC rose to a new level of power.

Set twenty years after the Rising, the Newsflesh trilogy follows a team of bloggers, led by Georgia and Shaun Mason, as they search for the brutal truths behind the infection. Danger, deceit, and betrayal lurk around every corner, as does the hardest question of them all:

When will you rise?

This was a novel that I had wanted to read for almost over a year. Seriously, as soon as I found out about it I made it a mission to find a copy for myself. My first break was when there was a copy available for request on netGalley. I gave a little squee when I found it and I don’t think that I’ve clicked that requet button faster than I did with this. But then I did something stupid; I waited until my time with the e-book was almost completely finished before I started to read it. Sadly, at the same time I was incredibly busy with work, so I was unable to finish reading it before it expired. Then I got my second break: in the entire city there were only two small bookstores that had copies of this novel and I was able to get one of my very own.

Then it took me about another month to finish reading this novel. To be fair, I read a lot of other books in-between, so it’s not as if I just wasn’t reading.

This novel isn’t going to be for everyone but I loved it from the first page to the last. Ok, maybe not the first page, but by the middle of the first chapter (which isn’t that long). I fell completely in literary love with Shaun and I wanted to be friends with George all the while being employed by their blog. I loved the dystopian future that was set up and the way that media had shifted largely to blogs in order for accuracy. The whole zombie-apocalypse was also so ingenious that I bow down to greatness.

One thing about this novel that I don’t think many will be able to handle is how dry it is. I don’t mean dry in a negative way, but it’s the best way to describe it. See, the focus isn’t necessarily on zombies as a whole. If anything, zombies have taken the back seat and are just merely an inescapable part of life. No, the focus is the presidential campaign, the gadgets and technology, and how the world has adapted. There’s also a large focus on world issues and the medical breakthrough that was the catalyst for post-life-form regeneration. It’s the way that these parts all work together that make this novel, though dry, so amazing to read.

Another thing that’s so great about this novel was that I had no clue what to expect at any given time. I mean, the book opens with Shaun poking at a zombie with a stick and then him and George having to outrun a horde of them. It’s action-packed and there are several twists and turns that I never ever would have expected. It’s also just so smart and thought provoking.

Basically, this was an amazing novel that I would highly recommend if it sounds like something you would enjoy. While technically labelled as YA I personally don’t look at it as such. In fact, aside from it being on the 2010 Debut YA Author Challenge list on Goodreads, I wouldn’t label it as YA at all. The characters are older and nothing about it screams ‘young adult’. That being said, there’s nothing really in it aside from your general zombie go-alongs which would make it inappropriate for teens to read. It’s probably too much for someone 13 and under (depending on what you personally read at that age), but it’s more than enough for anyone older than that to read without them feeling as though it was “below their age level” at any given time even if they’re not YA inclined in the first place.

I loved this novel and I cannot wait for the next in the trilogy –Deadline – to be released. Hopefully the bookstores in the city will smarten up about the second one and actually have it in stock at the time of its release. I’m giving this novel a 10/10.

Do yourself a favour if you decide to read this, though; don’t read the summary for the second novel until you’re done reading this one. It contains spoilers.

My thanks to netGalley and Orbit for allowing me to start reading this novel until I was able to secure my own copy.

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