I went into this book mostly blind. I was honestly a bit surprised when I kept seeing “Feed” in my Goodreads updates and Blogger feed. The only “Feed” I knew about was a 2005 atrocity of a film about a force feeding fetish and I wrongly assumed this was the novelization. How the hell had a book like that become so popular? But since everyone seemed to be reading it I stuck on my Ipod when it was offered on Overdrive. And, yes I know there is something terribly wrong with me besides sometimes acting the lemming that is.
By the time I got around to listening to the audio I had figured out it was about zombies and that made so much more sense! The world wasn't going weird on me after all. I’m going to try my best to be brief about the plot and avoid spoilers because there is so much that can be spoiled here and everyone's read it by now anyway. It’s the year 2039. Back in 2013 scientists managed to cure cancer and the common cold but something went terribly wrong and mutations happened that caused a zombie outbreak that killed off a third of the population. Now any living creature over 40 pounds can potentially turn into a brain-dead walking corpse that only “lives” to spread the disease. The world is dangerous and very different. But it’s still corrupt and not-so-shockingly zombies aren't always the biggest danger.
Feed follows bloggers George (Georgia) and her brother Shaun along with their expert team as they report on the news and various goings-on in their blogs and live feeds. George lives for the news while Shaun is more of a reckless, zombie taunting type. Their parents are mostly non-existent in their lives and they pretty much can only depend on each other and have a tight brother-sister bond.
“Maybe it’s geeky for a girl my age to admit she still loves her brother. I don’t care. I love him and one day I’ll bury him and until then I’m going to be grateful that I’m allowed to watch him talk.”
Ouch and damn. How could I not keep reading and not root for them even when boring politics threatened to overtake the entire story?
After an exciting beginning that’s pretty much what happened for a good chunk of the story. George and her team are offered the chance to follow around a presidential hopeful and don’t turn it down. It means ratings people! And ratings are what count. What follows is often unexpected and sometimes a wee bit tedious if you’re not a fan of the ins and outs of blogging, politics and corruption BUT the characters truly made it worth reading. The world and character building is very, very good and there is enough snark and sarcasm to make up for the slower bits. This isn’t a hardcore zombie novel with a lot of zombie action but I fear many of the scenes will haunt me for quite some time. It’s rough and it’s heartbreaking and that’s all I’m going to say.
This audio version was read by Paula Christensen and Jesse Bernstein. Paula Christensen narrates the majority of the book and does a terrific job with all of the characters, including the males. Parts of the story is direct blog readings and Jesse Bernstein voices the shorter snippets, mostly from Shaun’s direct point of view. His voice gives Shaun the perfect devil may care attitude that worked really well. Both narrators sound youthful but never too young and their reading always sounds natural. They both enhanced the story and added emotion just where it was needed, never over-doing it.
Feed is not sexy, romantic or even a typical zombie book but it tore me up and made me feel a myriad of emotions when most books leave me cold. Yeah, it was complicated and over-long but I’ll be reading the sequel because somewhere along the way I grew to truly care about these characters.