Review – Passing Strange
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  • Posted:
  • May 28, 2010

Last year I discovered Daniel Waters’ Generation Dead series. I, all but, devoured the first two books in quick succession. I was very entranced by the characters, the story, and the fight for zombie rights presented within.

The third book in Waters’ zombie young adult books, entitled Passing Strange, released this week. I got my copy from the bookstore and devoured it overnight. And, once again, the read proved fabulous.

The third book follows the most “human” of the differently biotic kids – Karen De Sonne. With the recent rash of “zombie” crimes the humans have become afraid. Fear leads to chaos and chaos breeds unrest. The government has revoked nearly all of the DB privileges and many of the crew has gone underground. Karen has done the opposite. Karen slapped on makeup and hair dye, inserted contacts, and took a job at the local goth emporium. Karen is trying to pass as human.

Karen attracts very little attention until former football superstar, and zombie bioist, Pete Martinsburg, wanders through her store. Karen suspects him of being involved in a circulating video of “zombies” murdering Pete’s lawyer. She sees a chance to expose him for the murdering fraud he is and decides to do some detective work by flirting and befriending him. The rest of the book follows Karen’s efforts to get to know him.

For the record, Pete is an abominable character. I mean shudder to the soles of your feet kind of evil. I can’t stand him. I’m not supposed to, of course, but Waters’ skill lies in how he honed such a loathsome human being. Ick. Martinsburg is just plain icky. First off he’s too full of himself, second he’s a bigot, third he’s gotten off for murdering Adam Layman earlier in the series, and fourth… Well, the word sociopath comes to mind. Plus his treatment of women do not rank him very high in my book. He’s just such a terrible human being. That said, he’s hard to read. Some of the things he says and does make the reader want to put the book down. It’s just hard to believe that anyone can be as contemptible as this guy.

Karen, herself, is much more sympathetic to read. She has to endure being with this skeevy POS just to try to get info out of him, and it horrifies her to her very core. Karen is really the reason to read this more than anyone else though. It’s her first turn as narrator, after all. She is no longer second fiddle to Phoebe and Adam’s story. Do I miss Phoebe and Adam? Most definitely, but I am very pleased that Waters’ chose to include Karen’s story at this point in the series. It helps to not only humanize the living impaired, but further demonizes those that oppose them. As for Karen, Karen personifies a running theme in this book… forgiveness… and what happens when we chose to give forgiveness, or revoke it.

This was much better than Kiss of Life, which I had a harder time with than the first book. That said, I give it a 4 of 5 stars, for occasionally being a very hard read.

-BP

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