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January 2017

BookGeek: Feedback

It's no secret I adore the Newsflesh series. There are a few books/series that come along in a lifetime that smack you upside the head, that you could read over and over and never get tired of them, and if you're a writer, you wish you'd written that book.

I mean, c'mon. It's zombies and journalists, and the journalists aren't the bad guys. I choose to believe Ms. McGuire wrote these for me personally. It's a series I own in paperback and in Kindle, folks. (Note to those who didn't know: Mira Grant is Seanan McGuire's horror pseudonym. It's an open pseud. I am not telling tales out of school.)

Even so, I approached Feedback with some trepidation. I've seen other authors attempt to tell the same story from a different point of view, and it usually didn't work out well. Orson Scott Card, I'm looking at you... the Bean series bored me senseless.

I didn't have to worry. Feedback was almost as compelling as the latter two Newsflesh books, and if it wasn't in Feed's category - well, few books are (and few other books have made me sob, either). It follows another team of journalists, only these folks are following one of the other candidates in the presidential race that consumed (heh) Feed.

This team has something of a different focus than the Masons' crew. They worry about money. Georgia and Shaun Mason were the chosen ones, after all - the children of the world-famous Masons, and seemingly without resources as they guide their network of bloggers to cover the race and many other things.

And if the team in Feedback doesn't quite have Georgia's hunger for the news as a true journalist junkie, that's real, too. Not everyone is in it for the love. I did miss Georgia - but then I always miss Georgia. She sounds like me in my head, except I drink Diet Coke. The Feedback crew are lower-rent. They are the equivalent of the local paper or the regional daily, not the New York Times. But they do their job and they work hard, even if their job eventually becomes surviving the cataclysmic events around them.

I was surprised to see so many negative customer reviews, even discounting the jerks who wrote a one-star review without actually, y'know, reading the book. It seems the diversity of the characters annoyed some readers. Did I find it jarring for a gender-neutral character to be referred to in narration and dialogue as "they"? Linguistically, yes, because it's rarely done and at first I hadn't figured out that it was being used as they-singular and thought the other characters were referring to a group acronym. Sociologically, I understand (and if you don't, the book makes it clear). Did it "ruin the book"? Good lord, people, get a grip. It's a pronoun. Try reading a whole book in present tense and then come at me with that. The structure becomes a little disjointed toward the end, but that didn't ruin it for me, either.

I think that people with their own baggage about books that have GLBT characters as *gasp* leads are probably going to bring those issues to the book. Any book that features characters who are other is going to make some people uncomfortable, especially if they've never experienced any real diversity in their own lives. But if you're a Newsflesh fan, you'll enjoy a different look at the system - and at some of the other candidates, the ones not so hopelessly mired in surviving the assassination attempts - in this world they're surviving.

Recommended. And now I have to go read the Feed trilogy again.