Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Cathy Reviews: Dead Set

I'm thrilled today to welcome my mother in law Cathy back to the blog to share her latest review!

DEAD SET
Richard Kadrey
Paranormal Young Adult
320 pages
Harper Voyager
Available Now
Source: Finished copy from publisher for review

THE STORY (from Goodreads)
After her father’s funeral, Zoe and her mother moved to the Big City to start over. But life’s not so easy, the money is tight, and a new school brings trials. Fortunately, she has an escape: her dreams. A world of freedom and solace removed from the loneliness and anxieties of real life, Zoe's dreamscape offers another, more precious, gift: It is the only place where she can spend time with her closest companion — her lost brother Valentine.

Yet something is very wrong. An unfamiliar — and univited — presence has entered her private realm to threaten Zoe and Valentine, a disturbing turn of events that is compounded by an impossible discovery. A chance encounter at a used record store where the grooves of the vinyl discs hold not music, but lost souls, has opened up a portal to the world of the restless dead. Now, the shop’s strange proprietor is offering Zoe the chance to commune with the father whose passing took a piece of her heart. The price? A lock of hair. Then a tooth. Then...

How far into this eerie world will Zoe go to discover what she truly needs? And once she does, will there be enough left of her to come back?


CATHY'S THOUGHTS
In Dead Set, author Richard Kadrey manages to make us feel the angst of 16 year-old Zoe as he gives us an upfront account of her troubles: her father is dead, she has to move to a rundown apartment, and she has to start a new school with no friends. That's enough misery to push anyone close to the edge. Mr. Kadrey gradually reveals other stressors in Zoe's life, hinting at a hospital stay for cutting, but  the most fascinating aspect of the story for me was Zoe's dream life. While Zoe hates her real life, she loves her dream world where she can spend time with her dream brother, Valentine. But slowly, even in sleep, her world begins to become troubled.
 

In the main part of the story, Mr. Kadrey creates a world where the dead are living temporarily until they can move on. He is very descriptive and paints us a detailed  picture of this world. Not really somewhere I would like to be! Zoe manages to cross the boundaries into this world and sees her father. There is lots of mystery and intrigue while she is in this underworld. We feel her angst and frustration, which in turn sometimes fuels our own frustration because of Zoe's very teenage decisions. Even so, we cheer for her as the reluctant heroine. She learns the lesson that some things are worth the sacrifice.
 

This book felt like a mixed genre to me part myth, part fairy tale, and part contemporary paranormal. At one point in her journey, she's like Alice down the rabbit hole! If you have time, take a journey with Zoe.

Rating: 3.5/5
 

Find Richard


This book was sent to me by the publisher free of charge for the purpose of a review
I received no other compensation and the above is my (or in this case, Cathy's) honest opinion.

28 comments:

  1. I haven't heard of this one before, but I really like how different it seems. I'll have to check it out for sure - thanks for sharing!(:

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    1. It was different and had a well developed underworld. Hope you like it

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  2. Wow it sounds like the author manages to pack a lot into this little book. I'm not sure that this book would be for me, but I'm glad that you were able to enjoy this overall. Great review Cathy! :)

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    1. Thanks for the support and he did put a lot in this book!

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  3. This sounds really interesting! I am glad that even though it seems to be all over the place genre wise you were still able to enjoy it.

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    1. It stays focused because of the character development of Zoe.

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  4. I do like the mix of genres, it's just more fun ;)

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    1. You would probably enjoy this book then.

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  5. Poor Zoe! Just those first few sentences and I'm already feeling for the girl. Communing with the dead...an interesting premise. Hard to let go of the dead when they seem like they're just right there with you.

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    1. Zoe has lots going on for a teenager but we do feel for her and cheer her on. Have a great Christmas!

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  6. Poor Zoe indeed! Wonderful review Cathy and I can see where this book would feel like a little bit of everything. Very interesting indeed!

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    1. Thanks! He does cover a lot of territory, the real world and the underworld!

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  7. Hmm..not quite sure what to make of this one. It seems that there's too much going on to have the story stay focused. I think I might skip this one as it doesn't sound like it would be a good fit for me. Thanks for sharing, Cathy!

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    1. I understand and at this time of year, free time is limited.

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  8. Hmm, I feel like this one may be a bit too angsty for me. It also sounds like there are kind of too many problems for Zoe to handle; I get the feeling that the author doesn't talk about all of these subjects in detail. I'll probably skip this one but great review, Cathy!

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  9. I don't think I've ever seen this one before. The whole idea of this underworld sounds fascinating, but I'm not sure that I'd really like Zoe, considering her often irrational choices and all that teen angst.
    I so enjoy reading Cathy's reviews! Thanks for sharing your thoughts, Cathy!

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  10. I'm not a visual reader by default so descriptive writing often tires me a lot. I'm actually intrigued about the story though and that genre you described, Cathy, but.. I don't know. I'm so over my head with books right now since I have gotten most of the ones on my tbr, but haven't had the time to read it thanks to the end of the semester at uni, however, I do think that I have someone close who would enjoy this way more than I ever could so I'll definitely recommend this to my lovely friend :) I'm glad that you enjoyed it as a whole. Thanks for your review:)

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    1. Oh, and the typography on the cover? GORGEOUS!

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    2. My stack of books continues to grow as well. hope exams went well and that your friend will enjoy the book.

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  11. I'm such a wimp when it comes to these kinds of books... especially from a horror author. However, this sounds like it is dark, but not so scary that I can't handle it. I am very curious about this one now. Oh thanks for the wonderful review!

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    1. It is dark but not in an overly scary way . Hope the review helped your decision.

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  12. Oh I love ghostly books so this sounds like something I would love. Thank you for introducing me to it. I will add it to the old pile :)

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  13. Sounds like an interesting read but one that might be a bit all over the place for me.

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  14. I read this book as well and really liked it. I think the whole premise of getting to see that loved one, one more time drew me in. Awesome review Cathy :)

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  15. I hadn't heard of this one before! Sometimes I like dreamworld stories and sometimes not so much. This one sounds pretty interesting since so many contemporary issues are included.

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  16. This sounds like such an interesting world, and I've been meaning to read Richard Kadrey's adult novels for a longtime. I didn't know he had teenage protagonists too. I'll have to check this out. Lovely review!

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  17. I agree with people's comments that this book sounds ilke an interesting mashup of genres. I've also not heard of this book, and I'm glad you found enough about it to like!

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