Title: Passing Strange
Author: Daniel Waters
First published January 1, 2010
386 pages, Hardcover
ISBN: 9781423121992 (ISBN10: 1423121996)
In Passing Strange, Daniel Waters weaves a gripping tale about the lengths we’ll go to keep our true selves hidden. Karen DeSonne has always lived a double life, pretending to be a typical teenager while hiding her undead status from the world.
But when her dead friends are accused of a murder they didn’t commit, Karen must risk everything to bring the truth to light. In a world where zombies are outcasts, Karen’s biggest challenge is not only proving her friends’ innocence but also keeping her own identity a secret.
With heart-pumping action and unexpected twists, Passing Strange is a thrilling read that will leave you on the edge of your seat until the very end.
Passing Strange, by Daniel Waters, is a unique contribution to the supernatural genre, blending elements of mystery, romance, and suspense with a richly imaginative world-building and a powerful exploration of identity, memory, and redemption. Waters is an accomplished author with a knack for combining vivid prose with complex characters and intriguing plots.
He is known for his popular Generation Dead series, which focuses on a society where the dead can come back to life as zombies and the living struggle to understand and accept their existence. In Passing Strange, Waters takes a different approach, exploring the lives of two teenagers who have a unique ability to pass through different realities and dimensions, confronting their fears and insecurities while discovering the secrets of their past.
The story takes place in two main settings: the San Francisco Bay Area, where the protagonists, Karen and Jordan, live, and a mysterious island in the Pacific Ocean where they end up after a freak accident. The contrast between the urban, modern world and the mystical, timeless landscape of the island creates a sense of tension and wonder, as the characters navigate through surreal landscapes, meet other-dimensional beings and learn about the true nature of their powers.
The plot revolves around Karen and Jordan’s search for their missing parents, who were involved in a shadowy scientific experiment called the Infinite Horizon Project, which promised to unlock the secrets of the universe and transcend human limitations. As Karen and Jordan uncover the truth behind the Project and the forces that want to control it, they also confront their own doubts and fears, and realize that their true strength lies in their ability to rely on each other and face their inner demons.
Waters’ writing style is poetic and evocative, with a keen eye for detail and an ability to capture the essence of his characters’ emotions and motivations. His dialogues are realistic and nuanced, and his descriptions of the supernatural elements are imaginative and fresh, never resorting to clichs or stereotypes.
The pacing of the story is also well-balanced, with enough introspection and action to keep the reader engaged and invested in the outcome. One of the strengths of Passing Strange is its thematic depth, as Waters tackles complex issues such as family, loss, grief, addiction, and betrayal, and shows how these affect the characters’ relationships and self-perception.
The novel also touches on larger social and philosophical themes, such as the nature of reality, the limits of science and technology, and the importance of empathy and compassion in a world that can be both frightening and beautiful. However, the book is not flawless, as it sometimes suffers from inconsistent world-building and plot holes that are not fully explained or resolved.
Some of the secondary characters also feel underdeveloped and stereotypical, and the ending may leave some readers unsatisfied or confused. Overall, however, Passing Strange is a remarkable achievement in the supernatural genre, blending imaginative storytelling with profound themes and insights into the human condition.
It is a book for readers who crave something different and thought-provoking, who want to be transported to a world that is both familiar and strange, and who are willing to question their own assumptions and prejudices. Therefore, I wholeheartedly recommend Passing Strange to anyone who enjoys supernatural fiction, coming-of-age stories, or thought-provoking narratives that challenge our perceptions and inspire us to see the world in a new light.
It is a book that will stay with you long after you finish it, and that may even change the way you think about yourself and the world around you. Rating: 4.5/5