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Warning: BIG FAT SPOILERS!
Okay, I actually saw that coming, but I'm still kinda surprised she actually went there.
So, if you have read the first two books in Mira Grant's Newsflesh trilogy, you know that Georgia Mason died at the end of book one, and was brought back to life (as a clone) at the end of book two.
I'm not a big fan of "cheats" like this. Throughout the second book, Grant coped with having killed off one of her main characters in the first book by making Shaun "crazy," so Georgia becomes a permanent presence in his head, thus allowing the living main character to have conversations with his dead sister.
This continues in book three, even past the point where Shaun finally finds out about the cloned Georgia. I was expecting there to be some additional sort of "twist" to explain how the Georgia in Shaun's head could be telling him things Shaun didn't himself actually know. But nope, it was just crazy.
The Newsflesh trilogy, supposedly a zombie post-apocalypse series, aspires to be a political allegory as well. The "real" story is that in the wake of the unleashing of the Kellis-Amberlee virus, which causes the newly-dead to rise up again as viral-animated cannibalistic infection vectors, American society has responded to this terrifying change in the status quo by accepting a "new normal" that includes blood tests at every door, elevator, and vehicle, shoot-to-kill orders, safety protocols that make walking out in the open or doing pretty much anything but huddling within fortified enclaves unthinkable, and of course, listening to a government-coopted news media lie about everything.
Sound like Mira Grant might have an agenda here?
The point is pressed home hard in the concluding volume, in which Shaun and George and their surviving newsies find themselves on the run, working with mad scientists and crazy hackers with crazier gun moll sidekicks, swearing to unleash vengeance and The Truth. And they also kill a zombie bear. A ZOMBIE GRIZZLY BEAR!
Like the first two books, it's fast-paced adventure from start to finish. Whenever things start to get slow, you can bet something is about to get blown up or another horde of zombies will come moaning around the corner.
The Center for Disease Control, already revealed to be a little shady in the previous book, turn out to be an Evil Government Conspiracy that is literally holding the President hostage. And there are some new revelations about the Kellis-Amberlee virus, and of course, there is the whole cloning bit, where they managed to clone Georgia and perform a memory transfer from dead Georgia's brain, so that the clone is kinda sorta the real Georgia, at least real enough to convince Shaun.
Which is where things get really creepy, because you know how I commented in my review of the last book that these two are... disturbingly close, and it's kind of weird that neither of them seemed to have an actual love interest?
Yeah, the author went there.
I cannot say I was shocked or surprised, but between Shaun being a constant jerk even before Georgia died, and an even worse jerk after, and then when clone Georgia comes back, he is, as Becks points out so succinctly, "an incestuous necrophiliac"... this was sure a creepy twist to throw in the finale.
Mira Grant's writing is clever and full of banter, but sometimes the forced "punchiness" of it (like we are constantly being reminded how Irwins, in the face of imminent death, cope by making wisecracks) became wearying.
I also hesitated to label this series "YA" before, but there were too many points in Blackout where I felt talked down to by the author spelling things out through unnecessary dialog. For example, upon being told that they will not be allowed to continue without passing a checkpoint, Shaun asks: "And if we don't pass the checkpoint tests?"
Gee, what do you think? Three entire books have been spent hammering the point home. This is not even a question anybody living in this world would ask. Everyone knows what the "safety protocols" are in the post-Rising world.
Grant also gets a bit heavy-handed with some of the emails and blog entries that begin each chapter. Like: "Shaun is alive. Repeat, Shaun is alive!" Repeated in an email. Now, think about it. If you are telling somebody something really important in an email, you might underline it or use boldface or something, and you might say "Repeat: blah blah blah" once for dramatic emphasis. But you probably don't repeat it at the start and end like you are sending it out via radio broadcast on an uncertain transmission.
I know, small details. But they annoyed me.
For all that, I enjoyed the story and this was a pretty solid conclusion to the trilogy. Mira Grant/Seanan McGuire is not about to become my favorite author: this series was pretty much brain candy. But it's tasty brain candy, even if you aren't normally into zombie novels. I am docking book three a bit for the juvenile flourishes, so 3.5 stars, rounded to 4 because I liked the series as a whole.
4 of 4 people found this review helpful
Would you be willing to try another book from Mira Grant? Why or why not?
Yes I would, provided the synopsis was something that I was interested in. I enjoyed most of this series, just thought the last half of the last book fell kinda flat.
What does Paula Christensen and Michael Goldstrom bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?
I enjoyed the juxtaposition of the 2 narrators! Lent a little more drama to it, which was needed by the end.
Could you see Blackout being made into a movie or a TV series? Who should the stars be?
Yes, I would like seeing it made into a TV series, starring Jane Levy and Aaron Paul.
Any additional comments?
I snapped this book up as soon as I knew it was out, and I was not disappointed with the first half of the book! The last half dissolved into a watered-down conspiracy theory mess, with a heretofore unknown gov't agency riding is as the Cavalry.
Overall excellent series. I just wish the author had made the ending as striking as everything leading up to it.
3 of 3 people found this review helpful