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BOOK REVIEW: Feedback by Mira Grant

| 24 October 2016 | Reply

BOOK REVIEW: Feedback by Mira Grant

October 2016
Paperback, $22.99
Reviewed by Steph O’Connell




** Feedback is technically book 4 in the Newsflesh series. While this review does not contain spoilers for either Feedback, or the original trilogy in Feed, Deadline, and Blackout, it is recommended you pick Feed up before this one, or you will spoil it for yourself. **


The year was 2014. We had cured cancer. We had beaten the common cold. But in doing so we created something new, something terrible that no one could stop.

The infection spread, virus blocks taking over bodies and minds with one, unstoppable command: FEED.


In Feed, we were introduced to Shaun and Georgia Mason, orphans of the Rising, adopted into a family who became a kind of media royalty. Twenty years after the event that killed so many and lost them their own respective parents, they signed on to follow a Republican candidate in the lead up to the election, bringing their own brand of flair along on the campaign trail.

In that book we met the main team comprising of Georgia (George), Shaun, and Georgette “Buffy” Meissonier, as well as quite a few of their extended crew, mostly “off screen” as it were.


Now, we get to meet another team of bloggers as they are asked to cover Governor Susan Kilburn on the Democrat side of the fence. She just so happens to be friends with Senator Peter Ryman, the Republican candidate Shaun and George are reporting on, and chooses our new team for the very same reasons they were passed over by Senator Ryman.

We have Aislinn “Ash” North: Irish expatriate, lesbian in a heterosexual marriage, and with a temperament to match the colour of her hair. Ash is our narrator and the “Irwin” of the group, a name given to the Action News Reporters of the day who get their scoop out in the field and frequently find themselves alone in said field with zombies.

Most of my online persona was crafted from the idea that I was cheerfully immune to pain, a manic pixie dream girl with a gun in each hand and a winsome sundress riding up my knee. I hated the archetype, hated how much I’d learned to smile through broken bones and bruised muscles, but oh, how the money rolled in.

Ben Ross: Aislinn’s husband, all-around good guy, and resident “Newsie”. Reporters of this classification rely more heavily on the facts, and rarely find themselves in a zombie field. Unless, of course, they uncover information that is not meant to be known and find themselves on the run.

‘Makes sense.’ Ben paused. Then he started laughing helplessly.
I gave him a sidelong look. ‘What?’
‘My mother would be so offended right now. How dare I get attacked by zombies at her funeral? I should have had the decency to do it tomorrow.’
‘Technically, you’re not at the funeral anymore. The funeral ended when the last of the mourners went home.’

Audrey Wen: Ash’s bi-sexual girlfriend who comes from a troubled past and now works as their “Fictional” which pretty much equates to what it says on the label.

Luckily, I’d been sharing a bed with Audrey for a long time before that, and she was accustomed to the fact that I often woke up skittish and inclined to violence when I didn’t have my pills to take the edge off. She danced out of range of my fist and said soothingly, ‘I know, honey, I want to punch things too, but this isn’t the time for senseless violence.’

Mat Newson: Techie, makeup stylist, and Ben’s gender fluid, long-time best friend.

‘Look,’ they’d explained to me once, wiping grease off their hands, ‘everyone looks at the fact that I do makeup tutorials and goes “ah, she’s secretly a girl.” And then they look at the fact that I love to tinker with cars, and they go “oh, he’s secretly a boy.” Really, I’m just a person with diverse interests, like everybody else on the planet.’

Together they make a team that most politicians would likely balk at, but it’s exactly how this group comes together that convinces Governor Kilburn that this is the team for her.

An Irish expatriate, a black man, a lesbian, and a techie who didn’t want to be nailed down to a gender? Not the sort of thing that says ‘we’ll sell you to the masses’ to a political campaign.


Anything written by Mira Grant is a must-have for the shelf of this reviewer, and Feedback is no exception. Though, while this one did have me teary at one point and was definitely not shy on the action, while it was full of your typical Grant humour, this one was a little harder to get lost in.

It could be that, having read the original Newsflesh trilogy, this story wasn’t different enough, even though it has been a while since reading the first book. And, while this wasn’t what you might call a short book, at 470 pages, this felt like a shallower story than that told in Feed. Again, this is possibly because so much of the world-building was covered in the first three books, and in this one we are given something of a recap. As with stories set parallel to each other but written a handful of years apart, this one ran into a bit of a problem with events that George and Shaun should have heard about in the duration of Feed but which never came up, possibly because the author hadn’t thought of them yet.

And, I know, I know, I’m being entirely unfair. She’s damned if she does, damned if she doesn’t. Things are too similar, or too different, but in the end this did affect my enjoyment of the book, and the original crew knowing of these events would have affected the outcome of the original trilogy.

Perhaps in an attempt to balance a retold story with new material, the crew we are introduced to are a lot more diverse than the crew in the original trilogy, though, in a group of people so diverse and interesting (Irish, black, Asian, straight, gay, bisexual, and gender fluid across just four people) the straight black guy was the most boring and cardboard-like of the bunch, and most of the other characters were little more than background noise and quick one-liners.


Overall, Feedback was entertaining, but didn’t cover stories or ideas that haven’t already be done, including by Grant, herself. The reader does need to read Feed first to avoid massive spoilers revealed in the telling of this story, though this story does stand mostly on its own, with the characters of the original trilogy mentioned in anecdotal form only.




Category: Book Reviews, Other Reviews

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