Teno Q.'s Reviews > Pale

Pale by Chris Wooding
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's review
Aug 31, 2012

liked it
bookshelves: bite-sized-stories, arcs

This novella is a quick and easy read that doesn't take a lot to process. As it states in the description, Pale is a story about a zombie-state-inducing serum called the Lazarus; but really, you could replace the word "Pale" with "gay," "chav," "nerd," or "slut," take away the science-fiction factor, and you'll have a story to pretty much the same effect. Pale is less of a story about zombies and more of one about discrimination, bullying, and what true friendship is.

That being said, it also dumbs down these aesops to practically nothing, so that you could cut and paste them into a cartoon aimed at preschoolers without losing any viewers. In this story, the main character's "friends" are bullies who ditch him at the drop of a hat as soon as he becomes a Pale - yes, without a single regret or thought to the years of friendship they'd previously shared. His girlfriend is the one who had him brought back to life, and yet she dumps him immediately after, not willing to overstep social boundaries in favor of her so-called love for her boyfriend. Along comes another Pale boy who is nice, includes him in his group, and helps him when he's in danger - and the main character henceforth claims that he now knows what true friendship is. Thus, the aesop has been established: True friends are people who do stick with you, and do not start beating you up if your appearance changes to something they're uncomfortable with.

The writing is like this as well. Simple, short sentences.

I'd recommend this for children and preteens 8-13. This novella should do well in holding the interest of that demographic. Older teens and adults, however, might find it lacking, and if they're anything like me they will be questioning the logic (or lack thereof) behind the premise and some of the character's actions.

Thanks to Netgalley.com and Stoke Books for providing me with an ARC of this book!

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