I’m currently reading Feed by Mira Grant, the first book in the Newsflesh Trilogy, a name that I love. It’s appropriate, as well, because it’s about bloggers in a post-zombie apocalypse world. From what I’m gathering (though I’m only roughly 150 pages in of just-shy-of 600), in the year 2040, zombies are still very much in our midst, victims of the Kellis-Amberlee virus, which is what happens when the cure for cancer and the cure for the common cold meet. In this dystopia, you can still live in your house with your family and go to work or school, you can still watch television, you can still vote for the President of the United States of America, but you have to go through constant blood tests and decontamination showers, and kill all your pets, in case they carry the live virus. (Is there anything worse than getting mauled by a zombie giraffe during a weekend family visit to the zoo?) Mild spoilers to follow…

Protagonists Georgia (George) Mason and her brother Shaun are bloggers by profession. In this post-Rising world, blogging is a legitimate, if not slightly frowned upon by ‘normal’ journalists, trade. This is because the bloggers are the ones that go out into the zombie-infested outside world, investigating the truth, poking zombies with sticks and reporting on their findings. In this clump of pages, I’ve learned a lot of things about the world Georgia grew up in, the cause and evolution of the virus over the past twenty-six years, Mason’s Law and the opposing viewpoints about it, and everything about what it’s like to be a professional blogger, including the testing processes, the benefits of higher class licenses, etc., etc., etc. It’s a lot of info. And given that Georgia and Shaun are supposedly well-followed bloggers, we are provided with an interesting format wherein we can learn this information, except it’s not much used other than to give their opinions on things. Georgia’s narrative and her blog are both in first-person, so there isn’t much variety there. Shaun’s blog gives us some non-Georgia-narrated insight into him, but as an action-seeking ‘Irwin’ blogger, his entries tend to be short and blunt.

The plot is interesting and compelling enough that I’m happy to keep reading, and Grant’s writing style isn’t what I would call bad, but I’ve come to dread the info dumps that show up, forcing me to swallow large chunks of information with no real sense of how this impacts the characters. In some cases, it’s understandable: the Rising took place long before Georgia was born, so she doesn’t have much emotional stake in it when she dictates the history of Kellis-Amberlee. But when we learn (spoilers ahead) that Georgia’s adoptive parents the Masons’ biological son Philip died due to a large animal containing a live version of the virus, and had to be put down by Georgia’s mother, there is no real emotional impact. Did Georgia know Philip in life? She is in support of Mason’s Law, dictating that people can’t own pets over 40 pounds, because of their ability to contain the live virus, but you get no real idea of how Georgia feels about the loss of her brother. Or, for that matter, how her mother feels about it, since Georgia doesn’t much like her mother and doesn’t mention her beyond the scene where they went to dinner together. As such, I’m invested in the story, but not any of the characters. The plight of the info dump.