Review: Feedback by Mira Grant


We take a look at the newest entry in the Newsflesh series, Feedback, and see if it lives up to previous books in the series.

Zombie apocalypses happen all the time in fiction. The Walking Dead even has a spinoff just to show how the same apocalypse affected other people. (We here do not recommend Fear the Walking Dead as a matter of course.) Most of these works focus on surviving the initial apocalypse.

Not so the Newsflesh series. No, Mira Grant (Seanan McGuire under a pseudonym) examines the world after the initial apocalypse, here called the Rising, was beaten back. She previously completed a trilogy following the Masons. Instead of continuing that story, however, Feedback rewinds the clock to follow the other side of the 2040 presidential campaign.

Although the book’s description calls it a standalone, we can’t recommend it on that standard. However, as a companion to the original three books, we recommend it based on the strength of its plot and the new characters introduced.

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The Good

Meet our new replacement Masons: Aislinn “Ash” North, Ben North, Audrey Wen, and Mat Newson. Actually, the entire cast ends up being quite diverse. For example, Ash and Audrey are in a relationship. Publicly, they are in a poly relationship with Ben, since he and Ash are married for green card purposes. Mat is genderfluid, preferring they/them pronouns. Yes, all of this comes up.

Ash herself narrates the entire story, and she turns out to be plenty of fun, both in dialogue and in narration. In fact, the entire cast is interesting. As someone who has read Feed and the subsequent novels, I appreciated getting to meet people whom I’d only heard of in passing, like the Democratic presidential candidate, Susan Kilburn.

Plotwise, the novel runs similarly to Feed, which comes as no big surprise, considering the two run concurrently anyway. However, even for those who recall the original story, Grant manages to throw in twists and turns. As a result, it reads quickly, despite its length.

Of course, we’d be remiss if we didn’t mention the dialogue. More often than not, Ash’s interactions end up being pretty snarky. For those who enjoy that sort of thing, you’ll find yourself snorting and smirking.

The Not-So-Good

The Amazon description calls Feedback both a “new entry point” and a “new beginning” for the Newsflesh series. Unfortunately, I’d have to disagree. While you would likely be able to get the general shape of the world from the text of this novel, Feed fleshes the world out far more and remains the better entry point to the series as a whole. (Pun certainly intended, by the way.)

Feed fleshes the world out far more and remains the better entry point to the series as a whole. (Pun certainly intended, by the way.)

If you do end up reading Feedback first, the Masons are referred to as well as the general political climate in the election of 2040, which either builds familiarity, intrigue, or confusion, depending on whether or not you’ve read the previous books. As someone who has read them, I appreciated the nods, since it further connected the world.

The Recommendation

Feedback definitely stands out as one of the stronger entries in an already-strong series. Its new characters shine, as does the plotting to keep Feed readers guessing. Unfortunately, you probably shouldn’t use it as a new entry into the series. Read Feed first at the very least. You can get away with just that instead of the whole series.

However, as a zombie story, Feedback also excels in its continuance of the unique political thriller story line started in the first three novels. You’ve still got a few weeks before The Walking Dead returns. Why not warm up with the Kellis-Amberlee zombie virus of the Newsflesh series?

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You can find Feedback at your favorite book retailer.