Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Kiss of Life (Generation Dead, #2) by Daniel Waters

Title: Kiss of Life (Generation Dead, #2)
Author: Daniel Waters
Publisher: Hyperion
Paperback, 410 pages
Date Published: May 12, 2009

Description (Taken from Goodreads)
The phenomenon that's been sweeping the country seems to be here to stay.  Not only are the teenagers who have come back from their graves still here, but newlydeads are being unearthed all the time.  While scientists look for answers and politicians take their stands, the undead population of Oakville have banded together in a group they're calling the Sons of Romero, hoping to find solidarity in segregation.

Phoebe Kendall may be alive, but she feels just as lost and alone as her dead friends.  Just when she reconciled herself to having feelings for a zombie -- her Homecoming date Tommy Williams -- her friend Adam is murdered taking a bullet that was meant for her. Things get even more confusing when Adam comes back from the grave.  Now she has romantic interest in two dead boys; one who saved her life, and one she can't seem to live without.

Much like Generation Dead, this second installment in the series expands upon the zombie ‘disease’ that is affecting the dead youth throughout the US. Where the opener in the series focused on the blossoming relationship between Goth girl Phoebe and the undead new guy Tommy, Kiss of Life is more about the political aspects and the consequences of having the dead come back.

The love story that drove the series opener is much more subdued here. Waters delves much more into his characters and makes sure each zombie is unique. Phoebe’s guilt over Adam’s death dominates much of the first half of the book, but it brings a lot of tension as well. Adam’s many issues integrating into his new zombified state was both interesting and heartbreaking. His chapters filled with jumbled words and confused speech, were some of my favorite. The chapters from Pete Martinsburg’s POV were in complete opposition to the rest of the book. At times, they could be very disturbing. His complete hatred for zombies and his indifference about murdering Adam is chilling.

Tommy’s fight to bring more equality and rights to zombies feels very much like a Tommy thing to do. With the zombie rights movement in full swing, there is bound to be some negative reactions and, surprisingly, they don’t come from just the ‘breathers.’

The escalating tension between the humans and the zombies reminds me of the civil rights battle back in the 50’s. The segregation, the violence, and the people (zombies in this case) who chose to fight back are all referenced. The increasing societal mistrust and fear of the zombies really intensifies with each new chapter, with all of it leading up to a not quite explosive, but still intense ending. The outcome with Pete Martinsburg, Adam’s killer, is what I most look forward to discovering in the next installment, Passing Strange.

With a fast pace and an interesting slew of characters, Waters makes Kiss of Life a worthwhile (and better in my opinion) than its predecessor.

Opening line(s): Phoebe. Beautiful Phoebe. ~pg. 1

Favorite line(s): What matters is that we’re all thinking beings, and if we are thinking beings we ought to be able to find common ground somewhere. Maybe if people can see us playing, three beating hearts and a dead guy, it will inspire a little more tolerance in the country. ~pg. 226
*This review is my honest opinion and I received no monetary compensation from it.

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