Saturday, April 16, 2011

Review - Death Whispers

Caleb has the most rare of the paranormal powers, Cadaver-Manipulation (aka corpse-raiser). In this world of the future, with Brain Impulse “pulse” Technology’s wide-spread use and influence keenly realized, routine school inoculation has expanded to include a pharmaceutical cocktail, which once administered, unlocks the genetic potential for paranormal abilities. Using this small window of puberty, teens who have the genetic propensity find themselves manifesting extraordinary gifts; some of which garner the full attention of our government. Caleb must camouflage his new “talent” during the mandatory eighth grade Aptitude Test so that he remains undiscovered while establishing choice for his future. However, events beyond his control systematically reveal Caleb and his friends, which force them to fight for their freedom. In the midst of this struggle, his girlfriend's father battles to reassert his abusive dominance in her life while a couple of “peer enemies” thwart his efforts of secrecy at every turn. In the explosive climax, Caleb must protect his friends, and Jade, the one he all costs.

Stories with male leads aren’t normally my thing, and I wasn’t sure how far I’d get when I first started reading. But I was hooked by the end of the first page, and starting with a past event and then transitioning back to the present was what did it. It made me feel like the world inside Death Whispers had existed long before I’d opened the book, but at the same time I didn’t feel like I was struggling to catch up. Caleb’s memory of a disastrous day in Biology was the perfect place to start. It both gave valuable background information and set the stage for future events at the same time.

Since the story is set in the future there’s some pretty cool new technology involved that made the techie in me sit up and take notice. It took me a little while to catch on to some of the new gadgets, but the fact they were gradually introduced and explained in the story made it easy. Also, most of the new technology were very logical evolutions of existing technologies, which made it easier to follow along with.

The relationship between Caleb and Jade seemed very genuine. Tamara didn’t over dramatize the nerves or the fist steps of their relationship. She just set let it progress naturally which resulted in a connection between the two that seemed as real as that between any couple in any hallway of any high school in the U.S.

For me the best part by far was trying to connect the dots and figure out what was going on with all the other teen aged characters. Caleb was focused on the development of his own paranormal powers, but at the same time there were little bread crumbs being dropped about the other characters paranormal powers. Trying to figure out what the powers were before Caleb found out was a lot of fun for me.

Death Whispers was an excellent debut from Tamara Rose Blodgett that I recommend to teen and adult readers alike, but you'd better pick up your copy soon so that you're up to date when Death Speaks, the second novel in the Death Series, comes out this summer.

- Aaron

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