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Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Second Gen Dead Novel A Little Too Ho Hum

(Image from Barnes & Noble)

After the excitement of Generation Dead, the first novel in Daniel Waters' YA zombie series, its sequel starts off pretty tame. When Kiss of Life opens, Oakvale is still swamped with the undead, but the town's living residents have become a little more used to the idea. Even seeing a living/zombie couple (Phoebe and Adam) doesn't seem to phase people too much. With Pete Martinsburg gone, the high school's zombie population goes relatively unmolested. Phoebe spends her days helping Adam adjust to his new "life," pursuing Undead Studies at the Hunter Foundation, hanging out with friends - alive and not so much so - and trying to forget Tommy, who's headed to Washington, D.C., to lobby for zombie rights. Pretty ho-hum. Compared to the first book, anyway.

Things don't stay quiet for long, of course. Tak, an outspoken zombie who refuses to assimilate back into living culture, has been making mischief around town. When harmless pranks segue into something more sinister, it puts everyone on edge. Zombie/trad relations take a nosedive; even the most sedate of the undead are in danger. The living who fraternize with the dead aren't safe either. Phoebe doesn't know where to turn. Should she stand by her zombie friends, even though they may be responsible for unspeakable acts? Torn between two boys and two worlds, Phoebe has to take a stand - before it's too late.
So, Kiss of Life didn't captivate me nearly as much as its predecessor. The plot meanders in the beginning, picks up in the middle, then kind of fizzles in the end. There are a couple surprises between the covers, but nothing really, really good. I still like the characters, although neither Adam nor Tommy were all that interesting in this volume. I'm hoping the next installation will kick up the action, kick up the romance, and find the momentum that made Generation Dead so entertaining. I mean, we're talking zombies - they've got to be more exciting than this!
Grade: C

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