Book Review: Deadline by Mira Grant

Title: Deadline
Author: Mira Grant
Genre: Science fiction, zombie fiction
Publisher: Orbit
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Source: Print copy from my personal library
First line: Our story opens where countless stories have ended in the last twenty-seven years: with an idiot – in this case, Rebecca Atherton, head of the After the End Times Irwins, winner of the Golden Steve-o Award for valor in the face of the undead – deciding it would be a good idea to go out and poke a zombie with a stick to see what happens.

Goodreads blurb: 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.

HUGE SPOILER WARNING: This review will have spoilers for Feed, the first book in the series. Normally, that is all the spoilers I would give in a review, but I really want to talk about some things that happen in Deadline, and so there will be spoilers for this book, too. Consider yourself warned.

When I read Feed, I discovered that Mira Grant knows how to rip you freaking heart out! First, Buffy is killed, and Shaun and George discover that she had betrayed them. Because the book was a trilogy, and Buffy was a fantastic character, I was bummed. But I at least figured that Shaun and George would make it through all three books. Wrong! At the end of the book, George is shot with a dart dipped in the virus that turns people into zombies and Shaun is forced to shoot her to stop her from converting. I was so traumatized that I wasn’t sure I wanted to keep reading! I would never have thought a zombie book could make me cry that hard.

Of course, I had to keep reading, because the world that Grant has created is amazing, and I’d been assured by other bloggers that it was really good. And it was. These books are more political thriller than zombie fiction, and I like that. The zombie virus is just a part of the world that Shaun lives in, and the action and mystery occur against that backdrop.

Shaun is still grief-stricken over the loss of his sister, George. He has had to fight his adoptive parents, who want the rights to George’s published and unpublished work. He hears George talk to him – and talks to her back, often loudly – to the chagrin of his team of bloggers and techies at After the End Times. He has no desire to go out and poke zombies for fun and ratings anymore, and so he runs the blogging syndicate from the comfort of his apartment.

When a doctor from the CDC shows up – a doctor who is supposed to be dead – and has information on the conspiracy that led to George’s murder, Shaun finds a new purpose. He and his team are determined to follow the trail, no matter where it leads, and after the losses sustained during their last venture, they have no fantasies that they will come out of this one unscathed.

Again, Grant has written a total page-turner of a novel. She has peopled the book with fantastic characters, and easily made me care about them as much as I cared about Buffy and George. The conspiracy is intriguing, and the stakes are high, and I can’t wait to see what happens in book three.

But, Grant threw in a couple of plot twists, and that’s where the spoilers come in, because I just HAVE to talk about them.

First, it is revealed that George and Shaun had a sexual relationship. When I read that particular revelation, I literally shut the book and sat on the couch, stunned, for a good five minutes. Then I e-mailed Amy and asked, “Did she really just go where I think she went?” Now, in the author’s defense, Shaun and George are not biologically related. They were adopted from two separate families by the Masons when they were small. But they were RAISED as brother and sister from that time on, and so this really creeps me out! I know their upbringing was completely dysfunctional – the Masons used them as nothing more than ratings boosters, and they had no one but each other – but I still think this is just too weird.

Second, the book ends with the revelation that George is still alive. Only, she can’t be, because Shaun blew her brains out. With the introduction of the issue of cloning in this book, though, it is obvious that the George speaking at the end of the book must be a clone. Not sure what I think about this twist, because I talked myself out of being too grossed out over the Shaun/George relationship because I knew it wouldn’t be an issue in the last book, as George is dead. Only now she’s not, and so will that be a plot line in book three? I’m really not sure how I feel about that.

If you’ve read Deadline, what did you think of these developments?

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8 Responses to Book Review: Deadline by Mira Grant

  1. Sandy
    Twitter: youvegottaread

    Yeah, well I haven’t read these books and I still read your spoilers! Because I just can’t resist. But I can’t remember what I had for breakfast yesterday, so I doubt it will matter whenever I get around to reading these. I have heard the audios are fabulous, but my library doesn’t carry them. So I just keep waiting. Maybe by the time they get them, the entire trilogy will be out there!

    • CarrieK
      Twitter: booksandmovies

      Sandy – I’ve heard they’re great on audio, too! I really can’t wait for the third book – I think it comes out some time this month. I should check on that!

  2. bermudaonion (Kathy)
    Twitter: bermudaonion

    I loved Feed but haven’t read this one yet. It sounds like I need to get to it ASAP.

    • CarrieK
      Twitter: booksandmovies

      Kathy – yes, you should! I’d love to know what you thought of the direction the author took.

  3. Kailana says:

    I have heard lots of good things about this series. I really must read it at some point!

  4. Kathleen says:

    I didn’t read after the spoiler since I haven’t read Feed yet. Now I have another to add to my list!