Saturday, November 6, 2010
by Daniel Waters
Generation Dead, book three
Karen DeSonne always passed as a normal teenager - and now that she's dead, she's still passing - this time, as alive.
But when her dead friends are accused of a high profile murder and forced into hiding, it's up to Karen to prove their innocence. Which means doing the unthinkable and becoming the girlfriend of bionist zealot Peter Martinsburg, who she suspects of framing them. But if Peter finds out who Karen really is, the consequences for her will be worse than death...
(description taken from back jacket copy)
Karen DeSonne is one of my favorite characters not only in this series, but in recent YA fiction period. She is interesting, she is vivacious (which takes talent because she'd...well...dead) and she has great character depth. Her personality greatly affects all of those around her and has really helped to lead the two previous books, so I was stoked when I realized she is the main character for Passing Strange.
As I've stated in my previous reviews of Generation Dead and Kiss of Life, Daniel Waters manages to infuse these "zombie" novels with great depth, creating one of my absolute favorite zombie series. Again in this third book, Waters challenges readers to question discrimination, religious zeal, violence, love, life after death, and sexuality.
The plot is once again exciting and interesting. Karen must play a part to get the information that she needs to clear her friends' names. There is the threat of violence and death. There is the possibility of love..., but though the plot always draws me in, it is the social commentary of these books that keeps me coming back (and thinking about what I've read long after).
With this book, especially, and my fascination with Karen's character and the secrets you learn about her life, her death, and her differently biotic life, I have been unable to settle after finishing the book. I think when the author and publishers chose the title of this book, Passing Strange, they did a fantastic job getting right to the heart of things.
The term "Passing" has been used in the past to refer to a black person attempting to look like a white person so that they will be treated better. Not only does the concept fit here, as Karen hides herself amongst the living to be treated better, but also the term...Karen uses it herself...and to have it in the title just draws ultimate attention to the fact that even today we still discriminate and base our treatment of people on appearances. This is a not so subtle reminder in a fancy form to consider how you react to others in life.
Again, this was a powerful and heartfelt addition to the series and to the paranormal YA genre as a whole. I highly recommend this series, beginning with Generation Dead.
Full disclosure: Book received from publisher for review