I received this book free from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.Rise: A Newsflesh Collection by Mira Grant
Published by Orbit on June 21st 2016
Genres: Dystopian/Post-Apocalyptic, Zombies
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Also by this author: Feed, Deadline, Countdown: A Newsflesh Novella
Collected here for the first time is every piece of short fiction from New York Times Bestseller Mira Grant's acclaimed Newsflesh series, with two new never-before-published novellas and all eight short works available for the first time in print.
We had cured cancer. We had beaten the common cold. But in doing so we created something new, something terrible that no one could stop. The infection spread, a man-made virus taking over bodies and minds, filling them with one, unstoppable command...FEED.
San Diego 2014: The Last Stand of the California Browncoats
How Green This Land, How Blue This Sea
The Day the Dead Came to Show and Tell
Please Do Not Taunt the Octopus
All the Pretty Little Horses
Coming to You Live
Being back in the Newsflesh world after so. long. had me all sorts of giddy. Sure, I’ve read some of these short stories recently, but the best thing about this collection of short stories is the expectation of more to come. Feedback is coming this October and this is the perfect book to read to get a bit of a refresh and to prepare yourself mentally. More George. More Shaun. More zombies. Oh, man, is it October yet?
So, back to Rise. This collection consists of eight short stories and two of them have never before been published. These are all set in the Newsflesh world but not necessarily George and Shaun’s world (although a few of course do).
The first, Countdown, is a must-read for fans of the Newsflesh novels. Countdown takes you back before the virus was spread, before the zombies came alive, when the world was still as vivid and vibrant as it is today. This is a super short story and left me wanting much much more, but it was still an extremely informative piece of writing that I felt was essential to truly understanding the Newsflesh world. You don’t get to read anything about Shaun or George or even Buffy, but you do get a glimpse into the life of Amanda Amberlee, the creator of the cure Dr. Alexander Kellis, and of the group responsible for unleashing it onto the world, ‘The Mayday Army’. Even with a short story, Mira Grant does a phenomenal job at pulling you right in.
’When will you Rise?
And the world gave itself an answer:
Welcome to the aftermath.’
Everglades was a short story that was originally included in The Living Dead 2 anthology. Set on the UC Berkeley campus, this is a story that focuses on the sorts of individuals that have found themselves a survivor among the growing apocalypse but realized that this sort of world isn’t one that they can continue living in. This short story effectively recaps the life of Debbie whose grandfather taught her to respect Nature, that it can be cruel. This life lesson is never more apparent as she watches the dead come to life and the air begins to smell like the Everglade swamps of Florida. Life is only temporary but death is eternal. Incredibly eerie story. Makes you wonder what form you would take in an apocalypse: hero or someone more expendable?
San Diego 2014: The Last Stand of the California Browncoats tells the story of individuals that found themselves in a comic book convention when the zombies begin to rise. Thirty years have passed since the Last Stand and Mahir Gowda interviews the only survivor Lorelei Tutt. This short story encompasses a large cast of characters and we get to see snippets through their eyes and what they’re doing to try to survive the long five days they were barricaded inside the convention center. Last Stand was a Hugo nominee for Best Novella in 2013 and it really comes as no surprise. This nod to the Browncoats of Firefly is yet another brilliant story that brings to light the realities of just how terrifying a zombie apocalypse would be.
In How Green This Land, How Blue This Sea, we get more Mahir but this time he’s in Australia doing an article on their famed rabbit-proof fence. It’s an interesting piece that reads very much like a travelogue, as if Bill Bryson visited Australia except there’s zombie kangaroo hopping around. It was interesting to get a glimpse at how people outside of the United States have handled the zombie apocalypse. There’s a definite lack of action with this one, Mahir never was the type to get out there and slay some undead, so this one is definitely for those interested in the scientific aspects of an apocalypse.
The Day the Dead Came to Show and Tell is a riveting and suspenseful novella set in the same world as Grant’s popular Newsflesh trilogy. The story follows Alaric Kwong and Mahir Gowda in current day 2044 who are conducting research on the tragedy trying to find the cause of it all. Flashbacks to 2036 are told from the point of view of teacher Elaine Oldenburg and shows the flaws of the ‘secure school system’ she thought she worked in. Her desperation to survive and to keep as many of the children safe as possible is palpable and even knowing that all sorts of wrongs are likely to follow, the reader can’t help but hope for a miracle. Incredibly thrilling for a mere 112 pages, Mira Grant continues to impress with her boldness.
Please Do Not Taunt the Octopus centers are my favorite character: Dr. Abbey. Most of these short stories can stand by themselves but Octopus combines not just the story from Blackout but The Day the Dead Came to Show and Tell and guys? It’s so damn good. Dr. Abbey is being her badass scientist self trying to figure out how to save the world from the virus that overtook it, but she also has to protect her lab from those who want to take it from her. There were some fantastic character revelations and added backstory to those interesting characters that we never quite knew much about. Bottom line, if you haven’t read this, do it immediately.
And now we come to the brand new stories! All the Pretty Little Horses was admittedly a massive step back in terms of pacing after the thrill ride of Octopus but I can’t complain too awful much. We also took a bit of a step back in terms of time as well. Georgia and Shaun have always been center-stage and we never quite knew much about their adoptive parents, at least until now. Stacy and Michael Mason, we know from the Newsflesh novels, lost their son Phillip after the family dog amplified. Stacy, lost inside her deep depression after being the one to have to put a bullet in his head, pulls herself out when she develops a passion for photography. The duo are one of the first to start blogging of the epidemic and photographing it for those too scared to venture out into the unknown. It was interesting to finally get some backstory on these characters we’ve always known but never knew much about.
The final story, Coming to You Live, is clearly leading up to events to come in Feedback and if I wasn’t excited before I sure am now. This story takes us into the backwoods of Canada, where Georgia and Shaun have been living since the end of Blackout. Honestly, I don’t want to spoil a single thing about this but I will say that it was so damn good to have those two back on the page. This one was intense and a bit of a nail-biter at times but such a satisfying read. I may not have wanted this one to end but it was still fantastic no matter the size and I’m not sure if I’ve mentioned Feedback but I’m even more excited for it now. Feedback, the fourth Newsflesh novel, comes out in October. But seriously, is it October yet?