Blackout (The Newsflesh Trilogy)
by Mira Grant
Review by Steve Sawicki
Orbit Mass Market Paperback ISBN/ITEM#: 9780316081078
Date: 01 June 2012 List Price $9.99 Amazon US / Amazon UK
Shaun Mason and his team struggle to deal with the dramatic losses they have had. Losses that include Shaun's sister, and titular head of their business, Georgia Mason. Things have gone from bad to worse and it appears there are no safe harbors and no one trustworthy to turn to. The government seems to be involved in spreading the zombie plague. To what end is anyone's guess. The CDC also seems to be involved to the highest levels.
Shaun has decided he's going to get to the bottom of it all. He's taking the team with him, sort of. So far, they are willing to put up with his talking to himself--well, not really himself as he believes he is talking to his dead sister. As the conversations have grown longer and stronger, they near a tipping decision point. And, when there is no one left to trust, where do you go? The fringe is the only answer but the fringe just might be crazier than Shaun appears to be. In the middle of it all is the mystery of just what is going on and who is involved. Also, in the middle of it all is a young woman, a clone, made by the CDC; Georgia Mason.
Third books of trilogies are typically rousing conclusions of everything that began in the first book and stumbled through the second. To Grant's credit there was little stumbling in the second book, although some of it seems to have transferred here. Initially you have to buy in to Grant's premise that blogging has become so big that it has taken over the news industry to the point where independent bloggers provide the news to all and it's mostly done by non-news trained folks. But, then, this is a zombie novel so you have a few more things you need to buy in order to get to the end. The good thing is that Grant is a pretty good story teller so it's easy to suspend your belief for the sake of movement and entertainment.
It is also a benefit that the characters are interesting and Grant has managed to come up with a version of the zombie plague that is a bit off what one expects. Grant also populates the novel with enough strange supporting characters to keep things interesting. And the story line is plausibly consistent which helps to keep things moving and interesting.
I liked this book just as much as I liked the first two in the series. But now to my initial sentence. As much as this book is sold as the conclusion of the trilogy one has doubts. Okay, I have doubts. It's good to have doubts, to remain skeptical, otherwise we would never read a book until we were sure there was not going to be a sequel. I'm just saying that I can taste it coming. No big deal. But a four book series is not a trilogy. End of rant.
Go out and buy this book. For those of you who did wait, buy all of them. If there is another one then you will just have to manage your cynicism. A fun read, an engaging series, great characters, and a story that is unique enough to stand out. Definitely recommended.