Book Review: Final Girls, Mira Grant

Book Review: Final Girls, Mira Grant

 

Book Review: Final Girls, Mira Grant

Science Fiction/Horror: Final Girls, Mira Grant

 

Mira Grant is the sci-fi/horror counterpart of fantasy writer Seanan McGuire. She has given us a pandemic that created (essentially) zombies, “mermaids” that are not lovely but do like to eat people, and now a virtual reality hellscape.

 

Esther Hoffman has spent her entire journalistic career debunking pseudoscience. When Dr. Jennifer Webb announces that she has invented a way to help people change their lives by confronting their worst fears in a virtual reality horror movie aided by a proprietary cocktail of drugs, it seems like the sort of thing Hoffman despises the most. Willing to prove a skeptic wrong, Webb invites Hoffman to do an exposé on her lab.

 

Initial reports are promising: in one example, sisters who could not bear to be in the same room become best friends after treatment. Hoffman, though, cannot accept mere anecdotal evidence. So Webb offers her the opportunity to try it herself. And Hoffman is sent to the most horrible place imaginable: high school.

 

Mira Grant is masterful at transforming the ordinary into the macabre. For some people, returning to high school would mean reliving their glory days (yes, a Bruce Springsteen reference, in case you were wondering). For many others of us, though, high school was a peculiar level of hell. For those who excelled in the acceptable arenas, sports or cheer squad or certain types of music, high school may have been a triumph. For those of us who were not part of the “in” group, high school offered an opportunity for daily torture at the hands of demons specifically designed to attack us individually.

 

As Hoffman relives the usual traumas of high school, two separate yet ultimately integrated events add to the challenges. One is the arrival in the virtual world of zombies. The other is the arrival in the real world of a murderer. And as the worlds collide, it becomes harder to know where the greatest danger lies.

 

Final Girls may be a novella, but it packs a lot into a few pages. Technology, mental illness, self identity, peer pressure, industrial espionage…and zombies. I was left wondering something about myself. If I could flatten some of my rough edges through the use of an innovative technology and medical cocktails, would I truly still be the same person? And, just how “real” are virtual relationships? In these days of advancing mental health treatments and social networking, we may all be discovering the answers to those questions together.

 

Also see:

Book Review: Into the Drowning Deep, Mira Grant

Book Review: Kingdom of Needle and Bone, Mira Grant

 

Book Review: Final Girls, Mira Grant

Book Review: Final Girls, Mira Grant

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