roxtao's Reviews > Pale

Pale by Chris Wooding
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's review
Sep 03, 2012

it was amazing
Read in September, 2012

I’m pretty sure that from now on, I should be more careful before choosing the next books I’m going to read. I was eager to start reading Pale, expecting, of course, a novel. And when I began reading, I discovered a novella instead ^_^ Even so, reading Pale was a real pleasure and I don’t regret a second the time I spent. Especially that I only needed about an hour to finish it.. The only thing I feel sorry about is the fact that such an interesting idea was presented somehow superficial, in only 70 pages, when it could have become a much more captivating novel.

Pale covers the forever fascinating subject of immortality. This time, the attempt to fight death is represented by the Lazarus Serum, which offers the possibility to come back from the dead to a small category of people. But the adverse effects of the serum and the irony that only a few people fill the natural criteria to benefit from this new discovery are shaping huge debates and also a general feeling of hate for the ones that returned from death. Despite the fact that the Pales remain the exact same persons they were before dying (keeping their cognitive abilities, their memories and their behavior), their altered appearance determines the society to reject and brutalize them. And an unaspicious legislation makes their new lives even more difficult. The myths and the superstitions are the next to come – the fear, the envy and the ignorance being the trigger to a real war against the returned ones.

On this background we meet Jed and his friends, a group of children that absorbed from the adults the whole chord of thoughts and reactions against the Pales. And when one of the kids finds himself on the other side of the fence, the reader’s vision transfers in an opposite angle. We have now a different perception over the world, right from the inside of the Pales’ community and the society’s cruelty is highlighted even more. The concept of family is ruined, the friends become enemies and the ones we were seeing until now in a dark or at least in an unclear light become the only comfort for the main character.

The story makes you think about Pandora’s box. The Pales are the trigger of the negative feelings’ explosion: hate, revenge, envy, cruelty, vanity, abuse. But in the same time, they remain the only symbol of hope, the last bit of gentleness, kindness and harmony. Unlike other books where the living dead are usually the villains, in Pale, the roles are reversed. The humanity only lies in the hearts of the living dead, while the normal humans lost any trace of humaneness.


- The author’s style is remarkable, blending the childish tone and the infantile perception over the events with a well hidden cold and sharp touch. Although the novella is considered to be Young Adult, there are some deeper meanings, hidden between the lines.


- Because of the limited number of pages, a lot of important details were not clarified, so the reader remains with some questions that don’t receive an explanation. Also, the novella’s storyline could have been extended, in order to become a premise for a more complex plot.

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