Deadline is the second installment in the much-lauded zombie apocalypse Newsflesh trilogy by Mira Grant, pseudonym for New York Times bestselling author Seanan McGuire. Oops, spoiler alert—not that it’s a secret. But I digress. It’ll be relevant later, I promise. At any rate, Deadline was one of the most brain-twisting and entertaining novels I’ve read this year.
Warning: Twisty roads ahead
To say that the plot is merely twisty would be inaccurate, to say the least. Think of the wildest roller coaster that you know of, then multiply it by about five, and you’ll have an idea of the sheer unpredictability of the storyline—but without any of the nausea, of course. And it’s not so much that the twists are unpredictable, but rather, the way the author goes about navigating them is so very fresh and exciting. And infuriating, as the chapters like to end with little cliffhangers of their own—all of which lead up to the giant cliffhanger at the end, which left me a gibbering idiot for half an hour.
Now, this is a double-edged sword, as I realize this scope of unpredictability isn’t for everyone. Some prefer to be able to predict the lay of the plot. While I said that the twists aren’t necessarily unpredictable, neither did I mean that you’ll have a good idea of where the story is going. Deadline’s twists are organic, yes, but definitely not very predictable, which is something you’ll have to decide on your own if you can cope with.
Well-done, not overdone
The zombie motif, much like other supernatural staples like vampires or werewolves, is starting to feel overdone. A “you seen one, you seen ’em all” sort of feeling. However, this is most definitely not the case with the Newsflesh trilogy. The author has thoroughly thought out the scientific history behind her zombie apocalypse, and it shows in her story. She keeps the scientific explanations simple enough that a reader may follow them with little trouble, yet complex enough to appease the science geeks amongst her demographic. Needless to say, this series is my favorite take on the zombie apocalypse and I look forward book three, Blackout, due for release on May 22, 2012.
Voice of the apocalypse
Being a fan of most everything Seanan McGuire has written, I’ve experienced her various writing styles. While her Toby Daye series is one of my favorite urban fantasy series to date, the Newsflesh trilogy is where McGuire’s writing truly shines. With a very contemporary sense to her writing style, it fits with her characters and setting very organically, breathing life into the world she has created. If there is to be a zombie apocalypse in the future, I want McGuire to do the narration.
Why should you read this book?
If you liked Feed, you should definitely read this book. If you’ve not read Feed but like zombies, you should read this series (read Feed first, if you can). If you’re a fan of The Walking Dead, you should read this series. If you want to try something new and completely out of your comfort zone, like I did, you should read this series. What with the fresh variety of zombies, plot twists, and stellar writing style, I don’t believe you will be disappointed.
A word of caution, however. The ending of Deadline is similar in scope to the ending of The Empire Strikes Back. If you don’t like cliffhangers, wait until Blackout is available, and then read this book. But do read this book. Seriously. You won’t be sorry.