Just like I did with Feed, I want to talk a little bit about the ending of Deadline. This is for those who have already read Deadline or, I suppose, for those who really don’t give a crap about piddly little things like knowing how a book ends.
So, with the ending of Feed, Mira Grant killed off Georgia Mason by having her shot with a dart carrying the Kellis-Amberlee virus, becoming infected, and in a horribly brutal scene (which I loved), was then shot and killed by her brother Shaun. I thought this was a perfectly authentic way to kill a character and it felt right for the novel. Loved it, despite how much I like Georgia as a character.
As I see it, the ending of Deadline was set up three times.
First, Dr. Connolly faking her own death (with help) and letting the team know that the CDC has accomplished human cloning. It was the Doc’s clone that was killed and destroyed to help her escape.
Second, Shaun mentioning later in the novel that the CDC had George’s blood for a period of time and had run a series of tests on it. This seems natural, but in light of how the ending to Deadline, is also suspect. Also, I no longer recall just how Georgia’s body was destroyed in the van.
Third, immediately preceding the Big Reveal, Shaun’s blog post states that if he had one wish and could change anything in the world, his wish would be to get Georgia back and damn all the other consequences and damn making the world go back to how it was before the Rising. His world is Georgia.
The last chapter opens with a person waking in a sterile room and we initially think that this is Shaun because has just in isolation after being bitten by a zombie (he also tested clean as his body is the only known body that has actually fought off the infection). But, it isn’t Shaun. The chapter ends with a voice from an intercom asking the individual to identify itself and it does: Georgia Mason.
At which point dropped some profanity and was confused.
I followed confusion by annoyance. I realized how Grant set this up and it isn’t completely out of left field, but I haven’t decided if I like this.
One of my major pet peeves (besides the phrase “pet peeve”) in fiction is when an author just can’t let their damn characters stay dead. Seriously, I applaud you for killing off a major character and one whom I may actually like, but once you do it – own it. You kill a character, don’t cheat the death by turning back the clock somehow. That’s what pissed me the hell off about To Green Angel Tower from Tad Williams. He killed a character in a heroic manner (I think) and it was a big deal. And then he undercut all the emotion of that event and (in my mind) the entire series by bringing him back in the epilogue with a “whoops, I survived.” I haven’t read Tad Williams since. Though, to be fair, his Memory Sorrow Thorn series wasn’t all that special and I wasn’t a fan of his writing style.
Georgia Mason coming back as a clone? I don’t know about that, people. It fits in the context of the series and I’ll grant that science could advance to full human cloning that somehow transfers the mind / soul / identity into the clone. I’ll give the author all of that – and I assume that there will be all sorts of implications of how Clone Georgia relates to the world as a clone, how that changes *everything* about her and her relationship with Shaun and their news organization and friendships and all of that could be fascinating as hell. I’ll go so far as to say that I absolutely expect to be delighted by Blackout. Mira Grant has done a fantastic job with the first two novels in her Newsflesh trilogy and I think so highly of them that I’m also going back to read the first of the novels Grant published under her real name Seanan McGuire (Rosemary and Rue).
But I really hate when writers kill off a character and then bring them back. I hate it. And while bringing back the clone of a character is different than having the character magically escape death and come back, or worse, have someone else use the literary equivalent of a Phoenix Down and revive the character – it still undercuts some of the emotion of the original scene of death.
And I hate that.