Book Review: Blackout by Mira Grant

There are some books I can’t wait to review. This was not one of those books.

Some books are so magical, they change the way a reader looks at the entire world around them and everyone in it. There are some books so powerful, they cause a reader to re-examine everything he or she believes. There are some books which are so incredibly stupid, the only way to put them to good use would be to tear them apart and make crafts with the pages. Blackout isn’t even worth that.

Text art reading "no."
No, no, no, no, no.

As some of you recall, I reviewed the previous two books in author Mira Grant’s zombie trilogy, Feed and Deadline. I was pretty harsh on Feed, but I felt Grant stepped up her game substantially with Deadline. I cracked open the (metaphorical, I read it on the Kindle) spine of Blackout hoping for a great, engaging, even-more-improved story than book two. Instead, I found a trope-ridden hunk of half-polished turd with less cohesion than a typical episode of Glee.

Our protagonist, Sean, once a fairly interesting and flawed leading man, is keeping some secrets. Some of them are good secrets, some of them are terrible plot twists with no other purpose than to shock.

As with her other novels, Grant doesn’t spend much time with the zombies. Instead, she focuses on her characters, the core staff of After the End Times and a handful of friends they picked up in the second book.

Grant isn’t afraid to kill off well-known characters, and several of them are bit/shot/eaten in the final book. Some of them don’t stay dead.

[toggle_framed title=”Some of them… SPOILERS!” variation=”copper”]are clones. [/toggle_framed]
[toggle_framed title=”Some of them… SPOILERS!” variation=”copper”]are sleeping with their siblings. [/toggle_framed]
[toggle_framed title=”Some of them… SPOILERS!” variation=”copper”]are irredeemably stupid. [/toggle_framed]
[toggle_framed title=”Some of them… SPOILERS!” variation=”copper”]are boring. [/toggle_framed]
[toggle_framed title=”Some of them… SPOILERS!” variation=”copper”]are martyrs. [/toggle_framed]
[toggle_framed title=”Some of them… SPOILERS!” variation=”copper”]are Disney villains.[/toggle_framed]

I can’t really articulate how much I disliked this book without completely giving away the plot. Suffice it to say, Grant throws away the majority of the great character work she did in book two, and makes some seriously questionable choices.

Interestingly enough, the best story Grant has written about this particular zombie-infested universe is a short origin story. Set during a ComicCon during the first days of the Kellis-Amberlee amplification, San Diego 2014: The Last Stand of the California Browncoats, is well-written, well-paced, and, dare I say it, heartfelt. I felt like Ms. Grant cared more for the characters in this novella than she did for any of the characters in her trilogy. YMMV.

By [E] Selena MacIntosh*

Selena MacIntosh is the owner and editor of Persephone Magazine. She also fixes it when it breaks. She is fueled by Diet Coke, coffee with a lot of cream in it, and cat hair.

6 replies on “Book Review: Blackout by Mira Grant”

I read it, and it was very good. I almost mentioned it here. It was short, but it was very effectively done. Like the Browncoats story, I felt genuine emotions when I read it. (I know I’m hard on the author, and there are plenty of things I love other people can’t stand, I’m not even mad you like it.)

I get frustrated with a lot of trilogies. The third books almost always feel rushed, and they rarely have the same passion the original book has. Blackout was definitely passionate, but it felt like Grant was ready to be done with the characters.

That’s too bad! I LOVED Feed just for the sheer novelty of the story line and I really liked the main characters (okay, mostly Georgia). I started to get bored toward the end of Deadline though just b/c the story took a strange turn (you know what I’m talking about). Between that and your review, I’m not sure if I care to follow it through the 3rd book.

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