Friday, April 25, 2014

Review - Blackout by Mira Grant

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. The 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.

I read Blackout by Mira Grant so quickly after reading Deadline that it's still a little fuzzy where one book ended and the other began. I'm still not 100% certain I didn't add some details from book 3 in my review for book 2. Oops.

I will say that I have never been so obsessed with a series of books in a LONG time. I literally could not put these down. I'd read at red lights while I was driving (ONLY at the red lights), took it to my daughter's gymnastics class to pass the hour and 15 minutes I had to wait, read until I fell asleep at night, took it to read while I waited for my kids to finish with Girl Scouts.

Fantastic series.

Shaun is still a little crazy, but his team is there for him. George v.2 is lucky to have people working in the ranks of the CDC to remove her and return her to her brother. Or... not return her I guess since technically she's a clone and she's never ACTUALLY met him before. But she remembers him. She remembers him because, more or less, George v.1's brain was scanned and implanted in to George v.2. She is 97% actual Georgia Mason.

So in this particular installment there are, as the blurb states, zombie bears, infected mosquitos, backstabbing doctors, hostage presidents, tropical storms, foxes, cats, monkeys (read it and you'll know what I mean)... It's a lot of action and not everyone comes out of it unscathed. Maggie is injured and Becks... well... she was a hero in the end.

Like I said before, I was totally obsessed with this series. It didn't matter that a lot of the information on the scientific aspect of things didn't really stick with me, I caught the general idea of what was being said during those parts. That's what mattered.

How often does your favorite character die, or does the main character/hero of the story die and you just WISH the author would write a new one and bring them back some how? How often do you watch movies and someone dies and you just sit there stunned with your mouth hanging open going "Well that can't possibly have actually happened.... they'll be back in another episode... RIGHT?!?" Well, a big round of applause to Mira Grant because she found a way to bring George back. Sure it may not sit well with some reviewers, but honestly... how many of you didn't at least say "Wow, that sucks" just once after she died in Feed? I think I admitted that I cried. Just a little. ::cough::

And how many of you weren't totally heartbroken that Shaun was just going completely off the deep end?

I didn't really know what to do when I finished this book. It's one of those stories that just kind of leaves you breathless after not giving you a chance to sit still the entire time you're reading it. The whole series I mean. Not just this book in particular.

Normally I would say I wish there were more books following Blackout. And in a way, I do. I would love to see more of this highly technological post-apocalyptic world. But I think that Shaun and George deserve some time off.

I would highly recommend this series. To ages 16 and above, if I haven't said it before as there are some mature situations (aside from all the dying and stuff). It's quite an interesting take on the zombie apocalypse story and one that I think is absolutely fantastic. Just once, the world doesn't completely fold in on itself and die. It ADVANCES! How cool is that? There are also some really interesting tidbits at the end of the stories that sort of add to them or perhaps help you to understand them better. So, if you've been on the fence about reading the Newsflesh Trilogy, hop off and go open it up!

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Review - Deadline by Mira Grant

Shaun Mason is a man without a mission. Not even running the news organization he built with his sister has the same urgency as it used to. Playing with dead things just doesn't seem as fun when you've lost as much as he has.

But when a CDC researcher fakes her own death and appears on his doorstep with a ravenous pack of zombies in tow, Shaun has a newfound interest in life. Because she brings news-he may have put down the monster who attacked them, but the conspiracy is far from dead.

Now, Shaun hits the road to find what truth can be found at the end of a shotgun.
I admit it... I cried at the end of Feed by Mira Grant. The beginning, middle, and most of the end of Deadline did nothing to help the heartbreak leftover from the first book.

Poor Shaun is slowly going crazier and crazier by the day while his poor team watches. They do their best to ignore the fact that he talks to himself.... er... Georgia in his head, but he starts seeing her and feeling her too. Everyone's just waiting for him to take his final dive off the deep end. But he's got work to do first. The conspiracy that got George killed didn't end with Governor Tate. The good Doc blows holes right through that story when she shows up at his home. The more information is revealed the worse things look for Shaun and his team. But he wants to get to the bottom of George's death before he's either murdered himself or permanently goes off the deep end.

I felt so bad for Shaun. I've lost people, but never someone as close to me as George was to him. I don't know what that soul crushing feeling of emptiness and loss is like. Not in that way anyway. I find it interesting that the only thing keeping him relatively sane enough to do his job is the fact that he's going insane. Without his hallucinations of George I reckon he'd go insane but in a not so... user friendly way.

I understood the team's hesitation to embrace the Doc's presence but I kind of felt bad that they were so suspicious of her, almost even until the end. I think she deserved a little more credit than they gave her. Not that "hind sight is 20/20" kind. But legitimate credit for the fact that she faked her own death so that she could come and help Shaun figure out what happened to his sister and what was happening all over the United States to others with reservoir conditions.

I don't think I really got to know Alaric very well. I mean he was all over the story and I saw how he comforted Maggie and got mad at Shaun and panicked over his sister... but I don't feel like I got to see him as a person outside of those instances. Becks, I felt, I got to know a little bit better. Maybe because of her issues with Shaun, or maybe because I got to see more of how fierce she was and how loyal she was and in the end... how heroic, even if she had no other choice but to be that way.

It was kind of sad to see just how many people were willing to betray Shaun. Heck, how many people were willing to betray the government and the innocent people in it, whether for money or ratings or... just revenge. It almost mirrored real life, but I won't get in to politics here.

Maggie was a good edition to the story. A girl who could have been perfectly content to just stay home and fund things from far away, or do nothing at all. Instead of staying safe and sound and hidden away in her ninja secured house, she put her life on the line several times for the team. And I loved her poetry. It was fantastic.

There isn't much more that I can say except that the end of this book shot the end of book one in the face and then stomped on it. And I absolutely loved that.

If you haven't read Feed, you need to before reading Deadline. If you HAVE read Feed, then you HAVE to read Deadline. It's just not acceptable if you don't. I recommend it for older readers as there is some mature language and situations... but you're missing out if you don't give the series a chance. I promise.

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Review - The Dark and Hollow Places by Carrie Ryan

There are many things that Annah would like to forget: the look on her sister's face when she and Elias left her behind in the Forest of Hands and Teeth, her first glimpse of the horde as they found their way to the Dark City, the sear of the barbed wire that would scar her for life. But most of all, Annah would like to forget the morning Elias left her for the Recruiters.

Annah's world stopped that day and she's been waiting for him to come home ever since. Without him, her life doesn't feel much different from that of the dead that roam the wasted city around her. Then she meets Catcher and everything feels alive again.

Except, Catcher has his own secrets -- dark, terrifying truths that link him to a past Annah's longed to forget, and to a future too deadly to consider. And now it's up to Annah -- can she continue to live in a world drenched in the blood of the living? Or is death the only escape from the Return's destruction?
Ah. I finally got to The Dark and Hollow Places by Carrie Ryan. I wasn't sure I'd want to read the book. I took a look at the first chapter at the end of book two and saw that it followed Annah, Elias's "sister" and was worried I wouldn't get any closure for the first two books in the series.

Always... I'm ALWAYS wrong. I'm really glad I picked this one up despite my misgivings.

It was nice to follow Annah for this one. Although I hate it when people take out their hangups about themselves on other people (Catcher included!). She finds her sister and Catcher (but she doesn't know it's him) and Elias fairly early in the story. She, Catcher, and Elias have to go and save Gabrigail (see what I did there?) from the Recruiters at the Sanctuary only to find out they're more or less bait/prisoners. Catcher is who the Recruiters want.... everyone else is either bait or collateral damage.

Ya know... I got a glimpse of just how horrible folks could be in books one and two... but in a completely different way than book three. You don't really like to think that the people still fighting to survive in this world are going to be the ones that you have to look out for the most. I always hate that. Even when people are all you have to rely on, they're still your worst enemies.

I think out of the three narrators in the series, Annah may have been my favorite. She was kind of selfish, but not in the way Mary and Gabrigail were. Hers was a more righteous emotion if you follow me (don't worry if you don't, I'm not sure I do either). There was no stupid love triangle FINALLY. Sure she thought she loved Elias, but she wasn't flip flopping back and forth between he and Catcher or any other male in the story. She was insightful and very protective over everyone she loved.

This has been my favorite of the series. Not just for the narrator but finally, as I said before, for the closure. Everything came together in one way or another by the end of the story fairly nicely. Nothing was really left open and no questions were left unanswered. And even though it is the same time frame as Gabrigail's story, the world Annah lives in couldn't be more different. It's sad. She never had a chance.

If you read the first two books I suggest you read the third. If for nothing more than to find out how it all ends. I don't think you'll be disappointed. I know that I wasn't.


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