If you know me very well at all then you know I don’t subscribe to the concept of spoilers very often. I think there are far too many people who think the smallest of details should be considered a spoiler. But, today is a day where if I didn’t put the rest of this post after a jump-link I would almost certainly ruin an incredible trilogy of books for anyone who wants to read them but hasn’t found the time yet.
So, you have been warned! Follow me after the jump to see all my thoughts on a bunch of details from the Newsflesh trilogy that will spoil just about everything if you haven’t read the books yet.
*** SPOILERS FROM HERE TO THE END OF THE POST — BEWARE!!! ***
Let’s start by talking about how Georgia and Shaun Mason turned out to be much more than adoptive brother and sister. Instead, they turned out to be adoptive siblings who happen to also be lovers. Ha! I pegged that one less than halfway through the first book and the reveal by the author isn’t until near the end of the final book! I’m not sure what made me start thinking that the two of them might be more than just siblings as far as their relationship was concerned, but I do remember all of a sudden thinking, “Wait a minute… something fishy is going on here with these two.” I think if I were to re-read the books again knowing now that I was right about their relationship the entire time I could probably pick out the little hints that the author leaves along the way pointing towards it.
Shaun Mason kills his sister Georgia by shooting her in the head at point-blank range after she becomes infected with the Kellis-Amberlee virus. That sentence I just wrote describes one of the most chilling and powerful moments I’ve read in a book in a very long time. The death of Georgia is the heavy hitting moment at the very end of the first book and let me tell you, I had to take a few deep breaths to get through the text at that point. Mira Grant develops her characters extremely well throughout all three of the books, but Shaun and Georgia are definitely the shining stars of the story. Their relationship is one that burns intense and bright at all times. They protect each other, help each other, and have each other’s backs 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. To put Shaun in the position of putting a bullet in his sister’s head while she types out her final blog post took a lot of guts on the part of the author if you ask me.
Speaking of characters being killed, Georgia definitely isn’t the only one. It’s always a very fine line that has to be walked by an author when it comes to killing off a character. If characters are developed properly the reader oftentimes becomes quite attached to them and their eventual death can be a hard thing for the reader to deal with. George R.R. Martin is an author who takes things to the extreme and considers all of his characters expendable at any given point, but Mira Grant found a pretty good balance with the deaths she included in the Newsflesh books.
The major character deaths are as follows: Buffy in Feed, Georgia in Feed, Dave in Deadline, and Becks in Blackout. Each one of these character deaths came across as necessary for good storytelling and also rather poignant given the circumstances surrounding them. Buffy is killed about halfway through the first book and her death serves as what I felt was an incredibly effective vehicle to push the story into the next phase of where it needed to go. When Shaun kills Georgia it is a bit shocking, but it is the end of the book and about 20 pages into Deadline the reader realizes quite quickly how Georgia’s death makes the books so much better than if she were to remain alive. Dave is the victim that propels the opening sequence of the second book and allows the main characters to move toward the next big climax, and the death of Becks was simply tragic. I knew it had to happen when it did, and I was ready for it, but it still made me a little sad when she died.
Mira Grant put a lot of unique plot twists into these books and for the most part they were all rather exciting. There were an awful lot of them in Blackout, but I never got to the point that I thought, “Geez, enough with the plot twists already!” The twists were very well balanced with the rest of the action, and Grant’s writing skill helped alleviate any worries I might have been tempted to have at the number of them. The best part about the twists were that they always furthered the story instead of being there just for shock value. I also thought they were an incredible vessel through which Mira Grant showed a lot of the humanity in her characters. The flaws that real people would have if the reality of the books were ever the actual reality of the world.
Jumping around a little bit…
With Georgia dead following the events of the first book I was a little worried about what was going to happen with two books left to go. I shouldn’t have been worried. Georgia is present in all three books, in the second book as a voice inside Shaun’s head which was written so superbly I can’t even begin to describe, and in the third book as both a voice inside Shaun’s head and a clone copy of her original self. Trippy, right? The version of Georgia that exists as a voice inside of Shaun’s head was great, I loved every single time she spoke up to guide Shaun along or chastise him for doing something stupid. It was an incredibly unique way to keep the presence of the character alive and definitely something you don’t see all the time.
And that last paragraph leads us into the fact that in the third book, Blackout, Georgia is a clone. Yes, a clone. WHAT!?!? This cliffhanger as the final scene in Deadline caught me entirely off guard. As far as I could remember, there had been one mention, possibly two about the use of cloning to grow things like new kidneys or livers. That was it. Mira Grant got me good with the Georgia clone twist, that’s for sure. Even better was the fact that the clone had 97% of the memories of the original Georgia which made for all sorts of crazy situations once the clone version managed to rejoin Shaun and the rest of the After the End Times crew. Let’s be honest, dead people coming back to life as near-perfect copies of themselves both physically and psychologically is all sorts of creepy when you really start to think about it for a few minutes. Go ahead, try it. You’ll creep yourself out. I promise.
There was once disappointment for me and that was Shaun being immune to the Kellis-Amberlee virus. Well, let me clarify that. I don’t mind that Shaun turned out to be immune to the virus, but I was disappointed that it was more of an afterthought than an actual driving point of the story. From what I could gather, being immune is likely to be a super-rare situation in the universe that Mira Grant created, so it would have been nifty to see that uniqueness used for a little more, but perhaps that would have been getting a little to close to some other zombie tale clichés for all I know.
So, there you have it, my expanded thoughts on the Newsflesh books as they pertain to some details and events in the story that are far too integral not to ruin it for people who haven’t read the books yet.