“Rise up while you can.”

Blackout by Mira Grant

 

 

 

In all began back in 2010 when Feed, the debut novel from Grant (pseudonym for urban fantasy novelist Seanan McGuire), was released. The story was set in the near future almost three decades after the Rising – essentially an end-of-the-world-as-we-know-it event when two revolutionary cures (for cancer and the common cold) were unleashed upon the world and, after mutating together, created a virus that reanimated dead flesh. With zombie infestations turning entire cities and states into dead zones, a much-depopulated humanity lives in constant fear, staying inside, leading passive sheep-like existences.

 

 

 

But the euphoria surrounding landing their dream gig quickly evaporates after attendees at one of the candidate’s stops are attacked and killed by zombies and, shortly thereafter, one of the candidate’s daughters is killed in a bizarre mishap when a horse she owned became infected by the virus and attacked. But after the bloggers investigate both scenes, they uncover a horrific truth: the incidents weren’t just coincidental zombie attacks – they were instances of heartless, pre-meditated bio-terrorism. And as they get closer to uncovering the person or persons behind the conspiracy, their lives – and the very future of America – are increasingly put in peril….

 

In Blackout, the grand-scale conspiracy that the bloggers were trying so hard to uncover is finally revealed – and it turns out to be even bigger – and more morally corrupt – than they had ever imagined. There are numerous blockbuster revelations and plot twists in Blackout so I’m cautious to talk about the plot in specific detail here but suffice it to say if this were a movie, critics would be using superlatives like pulse-pounding, heart stopping, adrenaline-fueled thrill ride, etc.

 

This trilogy was fueled by an impressively intricate storyline, a diverse cast of fully realized and endearing characters, and, at times, a dark lyricism that added a certain kind of ambiance to the apocalyptic undertone. One blog entry from Magdalene "Maggie" Garcia, for example, was in the form of a powerful poem entitled “The Lost Ones,” which is equal parts elegy and allegory…

 

Let us, who are the lost ones, go and

         kneel before the dead;

Let us beg them for their mercy over all

         we left unsaid,

And as the sun sinks slowly, the horizon

         bleeding red,

Perhaps they’ll show us kindness,

Grant forgiveness for our blindness,

Perhaps they’ll show us how to find the

         roads we need to tread…”

 

 

The narrative supremacy of this trilogy is unquestionable: both Feed and Deadline were nominated for the Hugo Award (in 2011 and 2012, respectively) – and Blackout is arguably the strongest of the three! 

 

Grant’s Newsflesh saga is indicative of where genre fiction is headed – although the novels are categorized as science fiction, the trilogy is also a mainstream political thriller, a zombie fiction epic, and a masterful tale of the apocalypse. The potential reading audience for these novels is huge.

 

The bottom line is this: if you’re looking for a high quality summer read, consider this trilogy – these three novels will be some of the very best (genre transcendent) fiction you read all year.

 

 

Paul Goat Allen has been a full-time book reviewer specializing in genre fiction for the last two decades and has written thousands of reviews for companies like Publishers Weekly, The Chicago Tribune, Kirkus Reviews, and BarnesandNoble.com. He is a member of the National Book Critics Circle. 

 

 Keep up with all of my blogs – as well as all of Barnes & Noble’s exclusive reviews, authors interviews, videos, promotions, and more – by following @BNBuzz on Twitter!

Comments
by on ‎06-12-2012 09:24 PM

I love this series. The last book was the best in my opinion. But the first two were excellent. It isn't often that all three books in a trilogy have such good storyline. I keep recommending these books.

by on ‎06-13-2012 04:21 PM

More zombies?  Really?

by Author Zkullis on ‎06-14-2012 08:50 AM

Well, Paul, thanks to your review, this moved up to the top of my TBR food chain.  Fantastic review!

by Sarah3973 on ‎06-18-2012 07:14 AM

Great review, Paul.  My favorite trilogy in...well....maybe forever!  I read Blackout immediately upon its release; and now, after your review, I think I might just have to re-read the entire trilogy this summer because I'm so sad it's over!  

by lenfrny on ‎09-03-2012 09:15 AM

I just finished Feed and can not wait to start on book 2.

Advertisement

Since 1997, you’ve been coming to BarnesandNoble.com to discuss everything from Stephen King to writing to Harry Potter. You’ve made our site more than a place to discover your next book: you’ve made it a community. But like all things internet, BN.com is growing and changing. We've said goodbye to our community message boards—but that doesn’t mean we won’t still be a place for adventurous readers to connect and discover.

Now, you can explore the most exciting new titles (and remember the classics) at the Barnes & Noble Book Blog. Check out conversations with authors like Jeff VanderMeer and Gary Shteyngart at the B&N Review, and browse write-ups of the best in literary fiction. Come to our Facebook page to weigh in on what it means to be a book nerd. Browse digital deals on the NOOK blog, tweet about books with us,or self-publish your latest novella with NOOK Press. And for those of you looking for support for your NOOK, the NOOK Support Forums will still be here.

We will continue to provide you with books that make you turn pages well past midnight, discover new worlds, and reunite with old friends. And we hope that you’ll continue to tell us how you’re doing, what you’re reading, and what books mean to you.