Apparently this novella was originally available on the author’s website and has now been released as a short ebook. I didn’t know anything about it, so was happy to see it turn up for sale.
This is the story of the actual zombie Rising that forms the background and basis of Grant’s Newsflesh trilogy. Despite not being at all into zombies, I have found that the right book – one about the science and the mystery, rather than the blood, guts and gore – can work very well for me. I felt that way about the first book, Feed, and devoured (if you’ll excuse the pun) the second book, Deadline, when it came out earlier this year. I’m looking forward to the conclusion of the story in next year’s Blackout.
The reader has gained a clear idea of what happened back in 2014 from the main books, but I very much liked getting to see it for myself. This is essentially a set of vignettes as events unfold, so it’s more of a sketch of what happened and who it happened to than a detailed story, but Grant got in just enough detail to make it work for me.
It was nice to meet both Amanda Amberlee and Alexander Kellis, the people whose names ended up identifying the new virus and I did like to get to see Shaun and George’s parents back when they still behaved like sane parents, something they really no longer were by the time of the books. I especially liked Michael Mason’s discussion with his lecture class about zombies and his instruction for them to watch Twitter, blogs etc, since we know that is really what saved mankind. The YouTube video where the truth first started coming out was also a nice touch.
The most touching and yet painful section was the final one, as Grant switches from human POV to that of Marigold the dog who lived next door to the Masons, and any reader of the series knows how badly that is going to end. Yet it was beautifully written.
For all that it occurs first, don’t read this before reading at least Feed. Because of its vignette format, it is really designed to fill out what the reader already knows, not tell it for the first time. But if you’ve read Feed (or Deadline as well as I had), then it’s a lovely, little addition to the series.
A strong 8/10.