Book Review: Dead Set by: Richard Kadrey


Rating: 5/5

Publisher: Harper Voyager

Publication Date: October 29, 2013

Origins:  From Publisher for Review

Format:  Hardcover

Order Links:  Amazon / Barnes & Noble

Synopsis: 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 unfamliar — 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?

Review: Zoe is a character I think we all can relate to in some way: she’s mourning her father, angry about having to move, and she’s lonely. Her one true friend is her dream-brother, Valentine, who she visits every night. However, something new has invaded their dream world and is starting to affect Zoe’s waking world. When Zoe ditches school and wanders aimlessly, she comes upon an old record shop. Now, as her parents were both into music and art, she’s drawn in and stumbles onto a very special section of the store. For the right price, Zoe can see her father again…

I absolutely adore the Sandman Slim novels, so when I saw Mr. Kadrey had written a YA novel I was super excited. Mix Gaiman and de Lint with the special Kadrey touch and you have ‘Dead Set’. With exquisite world-building, well-defined characters, and a beautifully seamless blend of ancient mythology and modern life, 'Dead Set' does not disappoint! As we walk beside Zoe in her travels, we are introduced to the hidden world of Iphigene where the restless dead are ruled by the iron fist and decayed heart of its queen. Zoe brings a ray of hope to a world resigned to its fate and her journey begins to heal not only herself, but the whole of Iphigene. ‘Dead Set’ is a treasure I will enjoy reading many times over!

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