Or as I like to call it Bloggers YAY! Security Theater BOO! If only the bloggers in this book wrote anything the least bit interesting in their blog interludes. I find it baffling that I’m supposed to believe these are some of the most popular bloggers in the world. So, on to the spoilers.
Pretty much the first thing I want to say is the worldbuilding in this book is painfully bad on pretty much every level.
I arrived to find James on duty at the guard station, his feet propped on the desk next to monitor and the latest issue of Playboy open on his knees.[p.33]
Really? There has been a worldwide zombie outbreak and I’m supposed to believe that people are still going off and logging trees to make paper for a magazine that’s going to be replaced in a month?
Grant says that everyone wants to work at home but there’s no lack of packaged goods (especially medical tests), no lack of groceries, no problems with electricity, water or sewage treatment. Gas is plentiful despite the US having abandoned Alaska. Solar, wind and other alternate forms of energy seem pretty nonexistent, but when there’s large sections of the country just abandoned, do you really want to have to depend on the infrastructure? Luckily, it seems to be perfectly reliable.
The entire Indian subcontinent has been abandoned for 30 years. Ok, what have the zombies been eating for all that time? Surely they must have run out of food sources pretty quickly and died? It’s not like they will go fishing or raise some rice.
And then there’s the smaller stupid things like when Grant has the narrator explain that building tunnels in California is dangerous. Um, no. Actually it’s that building tunnels is expensive, that’s why they aren’t common replacements for sidewalks. (And I guess we can add construction workers to the list of professions still adequately staffed.)
Then there’s the bit about how Avon’s Skin so Soft is the best insect repellent. You have the mad scientist doctor writing:
If you must go outside while the sun is down, wear long sleeves and bug spray. I recommend Avon Skin-So-Soft. It’s a bath product. It smells like someone fed a Disney Princess through a juicer, but it works better than anything else on the market.[p. 533]
Wow, they still have Avon ladies in the zombipocalypse and no one has heard of Deet, which is much better insect repellent. Avon ought to send Grant a check for the endorsement.
It just doesn’t work for me. I don’t think Grant has ever been through an airlock or seen a BSL-4 laboratory, and for 30 years in the future, the overall feel is basically the present, with added security check points.
And the most important question: Where are the ZOMBIE WHALES? This reader demands a zombie whale cameo.
There’s a lot of running around from crisis to crisis and everyone is out to get our noble team of bloggers. They are:
Shaun: the leader whom everyone loves despite him being an abusive prick (and dangerously unstable.)
Georgia: Shaun’s sister. Dead. (or is she???)
Becks: In love with Shaun for reasons unfathomable.
Alaric: Got a crush on Becks. The new kid.
Dave: Loves Maggie. Doomed.
Maggie: Loves Dave. Is the richest girl in the world.
Mahir: Loved Georgia. Married someone else.
You might think this book is a thriller, but it’s not. It’s a soap opera. I figured that out about the time there was surprise incest. (A neat trick since one of the characters is dead.)
Remember that time on General Hospital when Elizabeth Taylor’s husband was holding the world hostage by threatening to freeze the world with his weather machine? Yeah, the plot of Deadline is a bit like that.
Apparently the evil CDC has been killing people who develop a partial immunity to the zombie virus.
Once it’s been normalized, once it conforms, we can finally get to work on a virus that does what we want it to do, that follows our orders, not anyone else’s. We’ll save the world the way we want to, in our own time, and we’ll get proper credit. [p.446]
Oh, come on! Who talks like that? And what sort of crappy plan is that? You want to kill people for becoming immune in a way you didn’t plan?
Anyway, the CDC has it in for our noble bloggers and in an effort to keep their break-in and escape from the Memphis CDC quiet they start the Second Rising (Apparently no one in the CDC ever saw Jurassic Park or watches the weather channel or has the least lick of common sense.)
For a middle book in a series, it’s basically accessible though it does rather suffer from middle book syndrome. It ends with a huge cliffhanger to distract the reader from the fact that not a thing gets resolved in this book. The entire book is setting us up for the big showdown which I assume will occur in book three.
It’s campily fun, but the poor worldbuilding and the cartoonish motivations of the villains pretty much dooms it.
Is it one of the best books of the year? I think you know the answer to that question.