Blackout (Newsflesh #3) by Mira Grant
Publisher: Orbit/May 22nd, 2012
Kind thanks to Orbit for providing a review copy
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.
**WARNING** This review has inevitable spoilers if you have not read FEED and DEADLINE. Feel free to read my review of FEED if you haven’t started the series, and don’t say I didn’t warn you!
After the shocking ending of Feed and the intensity of Deadline, are you ready for more? Hope so, because Blackout is just as good, and it was so good, I didn’t even think about the fact that it’s the conclusion to the trilogy (well, I didn’t think about it much.) Shaun and company are at Dr. Abbey’s remote lab helping to gather subjects (aka zombies) for her studies of Kellis-Amberlee, and Shaun’s mental state isn’t getting any better. That’s to say, not only is he still hearing George’s voice in his head, he’s starting to actually see her. Little does he know that George is alive at the Seattle CDC. Well, sort of. A clone of Georgia Mason is alive and being held by the lovely folks at the CDC, who plan to use her as a tool for their own nefarious means. For all intents and purposes, she is Georgia Mason (97% of her, at least). They’ve found a way to transfer memories as well as clone someone physically, and the new Georgia is about as much like the old Georgia as she can be, and being held in a white room, deprived of her beloved internet connection is not the way to win points with her. That’s not even taking into consideration the constant medical tests they’re running on her to prove her “viability.” So, Georgia needs to get out of her new prison, but how? Knowing who to trust is a shell game, but it seems that she may have some friends on the inside. Well, more like “the enemy of my enemy…” Anyway, she must find a way out before they decide she’s little more than a practice model. Then there are those KA infected mosquitoes…
In Blackout, Mira Grant returns us to the post apocalyptic, zombie ridden world of Feed and Deadline with a fierceness, made all the more poignant because of our affection for Shaun and Georgia. These books don’t take place in a wasteland, but rather in a world 20 years out from the outbreak that started the zombie apocalypse, and it’s a world a little like the one we know, but with some important differences. Like, the blood testing units at nearly every entrance and exit, and the vast amounts of land that has been declared uninhabitable, overtaken by zombies. The CDC is a rather nefarious entity too, when they should be a bastion of safety, and conspiracy abounds. When Shaun and his crew are sent to bargain with his adoptive parents, the Masons, for help gaining entry into Florida to save Alaric’s sister, they get a little more than they bargained for, and I’ll admit, I was on the edge of my seat waiting for Shaun and Georgia to be reunited. They’ve also been tasked with finding out the truth about the KA infected mosquitos that have begun spreading the virus all over again. I wouldn’t consider this series funny, except for some excellent banter between characters, but a high point in Blackout was a series of meetings with The Monkey and his crew, who are known for providing bulletproof fake IDs and papers. The Fox is a homicidal delight, and you’ll chuckle (some seriously dark humor here) and cringe in equal measure.
The focus is not on the zombies in Blackout (it never really, truly was), although there are zombies and some zombie action, even a zombie bear. Rather, the focus is on finding the truth of the Kellis-Amberlee virus and where it originated. And you know how Shaun and George feel about the truth, don’t you? Alternating between Shaun and George’s narratives, the author keeps the tension tight, and the action nonstop. I mean, cloning, zombie bears, conspiracy, kidnapping the president: it’s all in a day’s work for these guys, right? I promise you’ll be up late with Blackout, and you’ll love the explosive and satisfying ending. This superb series is absolutely not to be missed!
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