Saturday, June 2, 2012

NEWSFLESH series by Mira Grant

It's been awhile since I wrote a book review post. To be honest, I'd gotten tired of writing them. Though I only post my honest opinions, it felt like I was saying the same things over and over again. So it was going to take an extraordinary book (in this case, an extraordinary entire series) to get me to write another one.

Every once in a very long while, I read a book that makes me wonder why I write. A book that is so brilliant, so compelling, so suspenseful, so emotionally moving, that I know I can never possibly compose something as good. And every book I read immediately thereafter is unsatisfying by comparison.

Every once in a very long while, I read a book or series that, when I finish it, I am deeply saddened by the fact that there will be no more. That those characters have completed the story arc the author set out for them, lived their lives on the books' pages, and vanished into whatever ether discontinued characters disappear into. I miss them like lost friends. I want to know more, and yet I don't want anything to detract from the perfect story in which they appeared, and so I am torn.

And every once in an extremely long while, an author will create characters that make me want to cry or cheer for them. Or both.

The NEWSFLESH series by Mira Grant accomplished all these things.

For readers, it is a compelling page turner, a non-stop suspense thriller, an emotional roller coaster.  I have set times in my day which I devote to reading, and I don't deviate from those times. If I do, nothing else gets done. These books made me drop everything on my to-do list and just read. Every time I'd think, "Just one more page. What could possibly happen in one more page?" and something would happen, something emotionally charged or terrifying or surprising, and I'd have to continue reading.

And then there were the characters. I'm a hard sell when it comes to characters. I rarely cry at movies. I rarely cry in real life. It takes a lot to move me with words on a page. This series nearly moved me to tears on numerous occasions. And when I wasn't on the verge of crying, I was cheering the characters on with each thing they accomplished. I wanted to hug the two main characters. I wanted to laugh with them and fight at their sides. I hurt when they hurt.

For writers, it's a lesson in creating suspense, in putting that "tension on every page" so many speak of. With every accomplishment, the characters faced a new challenge. Every word served a purpose.

And I can think of no better example of characterization. The relationships between the characters, both major and minor, are built from page one. By the time we left them, our two main protagonists could do no wrong. We loved them that much. And they did plenty of questionable things. Didn't matter. The author made us love them for who they were, made us accept them on their terms, no matter what.

Lastly, I'd like to compliment the incredible world building. Mira Grant created a post apocalyptic Earth so real that I found myself analyzing every building I entered for possible escape routes and items to be used as weapons against the zombies, should an outbreak occur. Of course, I live in Florida. Readers of the series will know I'd better be prepared. :-)

P.S. I'd love to discuss the specific scenes that moved me, but I didn't want to give spoilers. If anyone wants to share their favorite scenes, put them in the comments, and we can talk about them there. :-)

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