In the twenty-second chapter of Feed, Georgia gathers the entire After the End Times team for a shocking announcement. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to read Feed.
I’m at a point where I hate that I only get two reviews of Feed this week. It’s not fair. IT’S NOT. How am I supposed to stop now? The tension in this book is downright agonizing. I don’t even know how Georgia, Shaun, and Rick are going to pull off this exposé. They now know beyond a doubt that a FUCKING GOVERNOR is behind the attacks on HIS OWN RUNNING MATE. Oh god, is this part of a larger government conspiracy? Like, does Tate have backers in the government? I hadn’t even considered that until I read this chapter. What is so horrible about Ryman’s politics that’s worth numerous terrorist attacks? How huge is this thing? How many people are involved? Am I on the brink of some sort of cultural war?
And really, it’s a consistent thing in this little corner of the Internet that I am unprepared. It’s the nature of what I do. But I’ve never written about a thriller before, and I feel like I have never been so completely enthralled by a narrative like this for Mark Reads. This book has captured me, and Grant’s world-building sucked me in, and now I am terrified that I can’t ever leave. I can’t! I need these books, I need answers, and I need more scenes with Ryman, Emily, Shaun, Georgia, and Rick. So I’m stuck between craving more and more from this trilogy and feeling utterly frightened by what it’s going to do to me. Make no mistake: Feed is deliciously clever at this point, and that sense of feeling unprepared is certainly a highlight.
But this isn’t just smoke and mirrors. The cleverness of the text is not its sole feature. I care about these people. I am fascinated by the structure that these bloggers have built. I am overjoyed that a book displaying a thriving Internet culture does not come off as hollow or forced. That’s such a hard thing to do. And yet it’s integral to Feed, and Grant pulls this off effortlessly. Most of this chapter takes place in one room as Georgia runs a giant video chatroom. Like, if you had come up to me and said, “Would you read a book where a character spends a lot of time on the Internet talking to people?” I’m pretty sure I would tell you to walk in the opposite direction as quickly as you could. Get away from me. But this doesn’t feel clunky or awkward, and I’m just in awe. I mean, do I need to remind y’all that I once threw a tantrum over someone narrating their use of their favorite search engine? Look how far I’ve come now.
So, let’s just talk about this:
“Please check your e-mail. You’ll find your termination notice, along with a receipt confirming that your final paycheck has been deposited to your bank account. Due to California’s at-will status and the fact that you’re all employed under hazard restrictions, I’m afraid we’re not required to give you any notice. Sorry about that.”
Honestly, I just put my head down on my desk. I mean, look, once you give this any thought after the shock wears off, it’s not that surprising. It’s rather smart on Georgia’s part, but that doesn’t mean I didn’t react to this rather dramatically. Initially, I thought she might have decided to just go it alone with her brother and Rick, but how would she be able to pull off something so ridiculous and overwhelming with only three people total? Instead, she gives her employees a choice: leave now on good terms and with the promise of help getting hired elsewhere or continue on with the knowledge that shit has gotten real. I truly respect Georgia for doing this. I respect her for giving these people a choice, and for refusing to shame anyone who chooses to leave. Ugh, she is so great, y’all.
And then we get to Mahir, who holds a lot of this plan together. He’s given a new assignment: download everything off the servers and move to Ireland, the only country in the world without extradition treaty with the United States. He’ll be a living failsafe, a way to keep the After the End Times team from being charged with terrorism, the only crime payable with death in the U.S. You know, I think it’s a sign of how well-written these characters are when I got sad during this part of the chapter. Mahir has only existed in this book in videochats and phonecalls, and then he says he wishes he could have met Georgia in real life, and I’m overwhelmed with feelings? I suppose the worst part about this is that I believe it’s entirely possible these two might never meet. That’s how high the stakes are.
Good lord, this book is making me nervous.
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