The Newsflesh Trilogy has been a really fun zombie trilogy for me--I enjoy the world Grant created, a world where zombies exist but society is still functional, people have to decontaminate before doing anything, and constantly take blood tests. I enjoyed the many ideas she explored in the trilogy like fear, government, truth, propaganda, science, etc. And lastly I enjoyed the main characters a fair bit, especially George. So it was with some sadness I read the last book in the trilogy. This review contains lotsa spoilers for the first two books, and even kind of spoilery for some things that happen later in book 3, proceed at your own risk.
Deadline ended with a teaser for Blackout (I think?) where we realized George had been cloned. This was an interesting new development for me because I preferred her voice to Shaun's overall and it was a kind of way to undo what had been done when George was killed in the first book, so it was like the best of both worlds. You get to keep the terrible tragic ending to Feed, but you also get to keep George + introduce some really interesting ideas about personhood and what it means to be human.
So Blackout was nice in that the chapters alternated Shaun and George's points over view. Shaun is still in thick of his grief and he's getting progressively worse...he starts to "see" George and gets to the point where he wants to finish what their team has started...outing the truth about the government and then go off to just indulge himself in pretending George isn't really gone.
And George the II is stuck in the CDC where she's been cloned and she's trying to figure out how to get out before they kill her. She's been developed as a weapon for them to use against Shaun, but her model of clone is so close to the original George, that obviously won't be effective. They have others in development that they control more easily.
This was my favorite part of the book because it's just so fascinating and also a bit creepy. The relationship between George and Shaun that was hinted at in Deadline is in full force in Blackout, and so the fact that Shaun just kind of accepts the clone of George without too much reservation creeped me out. I mean there is definitely some conflict in George the second--she's not really George but she's also not really anyone else. She has all of George's memories, etc. But the way Shaun accepts her so easily as George is just, I don't know, it's weird and creepy.
Even so, I did enjoy George's conflict about who she was and how the fact that she wasn't actually George was made apparent in certain ways...like she didn't have the same reservoir condition that George had, which made things like how George always wanted to wear her sunglasses odd because she didn't need to.
Also I think Grant did a better job of not describing every single decontamination in detail in this book and creating some actions scenes with some urgency and cost. The resolution made sense and the ending was very satisfying.
So..Shaun and George's relationship. I think I would have been more accepting of it if it had been established in Feed. I think Grant tries to cover her tracks by saying, "what siblings sleep in the same room that aren't involved?" or something to that effect, but the thing is that I totally accepted that because of their codependent relationship. And one of the things I liked so much about Feed was that George didn't have a romantic relationship in her life. I could have gone through this whole series without her ever having a romance, so I don't know, I just didn't prefer that part of the story.
But overall I really enjoyed the trilogy. Still one of my favorite zombie worlds!
My reviews of Feed, Deadline
Things You Might Want to Know: Profanity
Source of Book: Bought it
Publisher: Orbit Books