Feedback (Newsflesh, #4)Feedback by Mira Grant
My rating: 4/5 cats
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“Step outside and I’ll show you how an Irish girl defends her honor.”

once more into the fray of the newsflesh world…

FYI – this book features ZERO of your favorite newsflesh characters, except as anecdotal material, but it DOES talk about events that take place in Feed, including favorite character-deaths, so make smart reading choices.

this is a kind of bizarro newsflesh story, in which we are introduced to an all-new team of intrepid journalists: aislinn* (“ash”), ben, mat, and audrey. and while the mason’s crew is off in Feed reporting on senator ryman’s presidential campaign trail, our new friends are on the road with a different candidate – governor susan kilburn.

we have a similar distribution of roles here – ash = irwin, ben = newsie, audrey = fictional, mat = techie and fashion/makeup blogger.**

but their relationships to each other are way more convoluted than team mason. ash is from ireland and married ben to get herself out of a tricky situation and into naturalized u.s. citizenship. however, she’s a lesbian and in a long-term relationship with audrey, which situation is presented to the world as a polyamorous agreement so as not to risk that green card, but poor ben is not reaping any romantic fruit.***

but this dynamic works for them, and they complement each other in both professionally and in personality:

…his tone was as calm as mine was not, balancing me out. This was his territory as much as it was mine. I would get angry, and then he’d step in, not to defuse the situation, but to cover it with napalm.

“You know what we’re capable of. Maybe we’re not as fancy as Senator Ryman’s pet blog team, but what we lack in prestige, we more than make up for with viciousness.”

Audrey didn’t say anything. Audrey just smiled. She had a way of making a simple, nonaggressive expression look like a threat, and she was using it now. As usual, it made me want to kiss the violence off of her face.

the story is told by ash, which is great, because she’s appealingly cheeky in that particular way that we’ve come to expect from this author: a little bit crazy in her willingness to put herself in harm’s way, but also very funny and loyal and badass with a side of manic homicide under the hood. and the quips. always the quips.

Violence is not always the best solution to problems, but it’s usually a good start. Especially when the problems involve human beings.

plus, this time she’s irish, so you get to read all her lines in an accent in your head, and she’s filled with irish bravado with a charmingly colorful tone to her utterances:

“You knew I was a scorpion when you picked me up, and I’ll always do my best to sting my way back to you.”

“If they’d started in on you…I might have punched someone, and you know I have delicate hands.”

“Like a bundle of yarrow twigs,” I said solemnly.

“The only right way to mourn someone is to remember them. The rest is just trappings.”

…”How do you know so much about mourning?”

“My mother was a banshee and my father was the cold North wind,” I said.

but she’s more than just a redheaded pip of a lass – she’s a true irwin – kicking zombie ass in a succession of sundresses. i appreciated seeing the irwin behind the irwin this time – the acknowledgment of how much of it was showmanship – how much was persona constructed in order to cultivate a following.

Much of my image depended on my seeming too sweet to do or say or think the things I did, weaponized femininity on the prowl.

but make no mistake, aislinn is genuine badass. her irwin persona is not sexy femme fatale – she’s very concerned with modesty and making sure nothing shows through the bullet holes in her (secretly heavily reinforced, zombieproof) dresses. and she’s irwin enough to understand how short her shelf life is likely to be, and the importance to morale of leaving a legacy.

Some people liked to stay on the phone with their friends and loved ones as they fought, thinking it was better to have the company. I had never wanted that. One day, I was going to die in the field. Maybe I was going to die in this one. If that happened, I wanted to be remembered smiling, not screaming. That was why I always ended my videos with a grin and a wink, no matter how tired I was. Every entry could be the one that went up on the Wall. I didn’t want the last thing I did to be sad. Dying was sad enough without helping it along.

it’s a fun new zombie adventure story in a world i have come to expect so much from, and this one delivers the goods. it’s also a real treat to see shaun and george filtered through another, less flattering, perspective

“As for the Masons, yes we know them, but we’re not friends. We’re not even associates. They’re…”

“Snobs,” I supplied.

Ben shot me a look, sighed, and said, “They’re insular. Neither of them has ever been interested in forming strong outside friendships with other locals. I know they have friends, but with a few exceptions, it’s always been people who are far enough away that the Masons don’t have to worry about being asked to get together and socialize.”

it has all the wit and action you want from a newsflesh book, and while it ends on a note that seems to be a stopping-point, i know mira grant could find a way to give us more.

“You deserve better than the kind of death that turns you into a footnote in someone else’s story.”

don’t let these characters just be footnotes in the mason’s story, please. newsflesh 4-eva!

miscellaneous things we learn in passing and are not major plot points:

1) zombie dog-fighting rings exist
2) powell’s survived the zombie uprising

* oddly enough this was the second book in a row i read with a major character named aislinn, reading this one hot on the heels of The Trespasser.

**i don’t understand how useful a makeup artist is to a team of news bloggers, but that’s probably just me being makeup-phobic and bigoted.

*** another quick note – while i appreciate mira grant’s continuing commitment to diversity in her books, this time it just comes across as statistically unlikely, and more like a conscious representation-checklist. you have lesbian (ash) AND bisexual (audrey) AND genderfluid (mat) AND white (ash) AND black (ben) AND asian (audrey). i appreciate the thoughtfulness, particularly with respect to her treatment of genderfluidity, but it seems too calculated and balanced for vérité. i mean, why not two asians? or two lesbians? and where my latinas at?


please don’t be done with this world, mira grant… i don’t care – new characters, old characters, zombie-raccoon POV, just keep it going foreeeever
i just got a ups package update telling me something is coming for me from hachette tomorrow. could it be THIS???? please tell me it is this!!


 photo IMG_4447_zpsrd9emv5x.jpg


can this be true??? tell me when, and i will be there with a thousand bells and a pie.


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