Blackout, Mira Grant


I’m not going to write much about this book: it doesn’t really warrant it!

This is the third in Mira Grant’s post-zombie-apocalypse political thriller Feed trilogy – so I have that glow of satisfaction of completion having read it – but it is a trilogy that should never have been. The first book, Feed was, I thought, actually pretty good up to and including the death of the main character and narrator. Book two, Deadline lost the plot, both literally and metaphorically: without the direction that Feed had because it was following a presidential campaign, Deadline seemed to lurch from one disaster to another with no real momentum; and the change of narrator from Georgia to Shaun Mason did not work. Primarily the change of narrator did not work because Shaun became unstable, violent and heard the voice of his dead sister. All of that I could have accepted. Except that Grant kept telling me that Shaun was crazy. Over and over. And over. It became dull. Slightly offensive to anyone who has struggled with bereavement. And never really engaged with as a narrative device. There is a wealth of unreliable narrators in fiction – a rich vein of interesting perspectives to delve into – all of which were eschewed just to expound the fact that Shaun was “crazy”. A waste of a narrative opportunity.

And all these problems from Deadline continue into Blackout with less zombie action – which is not a bad thing – and a really disappointing return of the dead Georgia. As a clone. Cheap sci-fi resurrection device number one. Not just a clone which I could have accepted but a clone which contains all of the original Georgia’s memories.

Plot holes abound: the CDC created the clones in order to look like but not act like the original Georgia – who was critical of the CDC and whose brother had broken into the CDC on numerous occasions. So why put 97% of her memories and personality into place at all when they weren’t going to use her anyway? The programme was created by one of Georgia’s colleagues, Rick, who is now Vice-President because she would be believed when she exposed the conspiracy. Is the US public pre-disposed to believe dead people? Even in a post-apocalyptic zombie-infested world? Would not any other journalist be believed – such as any member of the entire After The End Times team, trained by Georgia? Resurrecting a dead woman at a cost of billions – not to mention the ethical implications – was easier than speaking to her replacement? Or her brother?

And the final denouement? More clones were exposed; hostages were released off-screen in the space of two pages which really begged the question Why didn’t you do that a year ago, you morons?.

Rushed, unsuccessfully plotted; two-dimensional and unconvincing characters; pedestrian prose.

No, this was not a great book. Nor even, really, a good read.

Sorry, Mira, I wanted to like it but I didn’t.

And what happened to my zombie bear? I mean, I’m not a great fan of gore and violence but popcorn books need fun and some action and a standout sequence. Don’t give up your opportunities to show the sheer fun of a story. You showed us a zombie bear on the road and then did not show the confrontation with it! You even tell the reader later how cool it was without ever showing it being cool! This moment has all the hallmarks of a great action moment which either Grant or her editors excised.

But it was still on the blurb of the book!


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