Monday, November 5, 2012

Review: The Dead and the Gone (Audiobook)

I finished this book shortly before news of Hurricane Sandy began to hit the news. When I heard of the Hurricane, I instantly thought of the public transit system because of this book.  I honestly felt sick to my stomach because I recognized what a big deal the flooding would be to the Subways.  I've lived through a couple of Hurricanes out here in Texas when I lived in Houston.  Though hurricanes are more common out here, we also don't have a real public transportation system so most people have cars.  My heart goes out to those dealing with the effects of Hurricane Sandy.  It can take a long time to get things back up and going.  And with some things, things can't go back to what they were.  You have start anew.

The Dead and the Gone by Susan Beth Pfeffer
Series: Last Survivors #2
Genre: Dystopia
Pages/Length: 8 hours and 50 minutes
Narrator: Robertson Dean
Source: eLibary
Author's Blog | Twitter
Buy it: Amazon | Kindle | B&N | Book Depo

Susan Beth Pfeffer’s Life as We Knew It enthralled and devastated readers with its brutal but hopeful look at an apocalyptic event--an asteroid hitting the moon, setting off a tailspin of horrific climate changes. Now this harrowing companion novel examines the same events as they unfold in New York City, revealed through the eyes of seventeen-year-old Puerto Rican Alex Morales. When Alex's parents disappear in the aftermath of tidal waves, he must care for his two younger sisters, even as Manhattan becomes a deadly wasteland, and food and aid dwindle.

With haunting themes of family, faith, personal change, and courage, this powerful new novel explores how a young man takes on unimaginable responsibilities.

My Rating:

My Review:
In book one of this series the moon has been hit by a meteor and is knocked closer to earth causing changes to the earth due to the change in gravitational pull of the moon.  In book two, we revisit this event but switch to the point of view of Alex Morales, a Puero Rican American living in New York.  The disaster is compounded by the fact that Alex and his two younger sisters haven't heard from their mother since she left for work on the night of the disaster, nor have they heard from their father who was visiting family in Puerto Rico.  With only his upbringing and his religion as a guide, Alex and his two sisters must find a way to survive this horrible disaster.

On the story...
In many ways this book is better than the first but I strongly dislike more things in this one as well.  The book skips the build up to the moon being hit and gets right to the consequences.  I feel like The Dead and the Gone is less depressing than The World as we Knew it though tons of bad things happened.  Things moved along much faster.  Because I knew from the previous book some of the upcoming events that would occur, I was more alert and curious about how Alex would deal with these events.  I also wanted to know how these events would play out in New York.  Because of this, this book is a bit more adventurous and exciting.  I was not disappointed either.  Everything was unpredictable.  I was intrigued from beginning to the end.  It felt so real.

I loved all the characters with the exception of Alex.  There was such growth in his sisters as the story went along and I loved the characters that Alex met  and befriended.  There were moments that I disliked Alex and many more moments where his actions were chauvinistic and archaic.  This came from a bigger problem though.

Ms. Pfeffer took on a few issues in this installment.  We get a lens into Puerto Rican culture, the Catholic faith, and the separation between those who have and those who do not.  The perspective of Puerto Rican culture and the Catholic faith seemed a little forced and stereotypical at times, making Alex come across in the ways previously mentioned.  I commend Ms. Pfeffer for taking on such issues and creating diversity in her books though.  I think it went well for the most part, but it did result in a very off-putting character.  I think the look at the difference between the elite and others came off quite well.  It seemed real and it wasn't as in your face as the culture components.  The second installment of this series added an extra dimension to the tragedy.

On the Narrator...
Mr. Dean had an extremely deep voice.  While I liked his voice, it didn't sit well for a YA boy.  And his voices for the girls were as good as they could be with such a deep voice.  They didn't sound like girls.  I think Mrs. Dean's voice contributed to some of my feelings toward Alex.  When Alex said something overbearing to his sisters, it came across extra aggressive and callous.  I would listen to Mr. Dean narrate other books though.

I enjoyed this book more than the first, I think.  It is a close one.

I'm not sure that I'll finish the trilogy though.  Since book two gave an additional perspective, there was little progress on the actual disaster.  I have little hope that much progress will occur because of Ms. Pfeffer's writing style that tends to focus on the day-to-day details  and because there is only one book left.    I don't think I'll get what I want out of the third book.  Plus, Alex and Miranda in the same book does not appeal to my sensitivity to teenage drama.

What about you, have you enjoyed a series but still refused to finish it?  Or am I being crazy and sensitive?  Have you read any of these books?  What did you think?

 P.S.  This goes toward that Dystopia challenge that I committed to.  I wasn't kidding when I said there were more to come.  It'll start winding down soon though.  One more to go :)

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  1. I haven't read this series and I hate giving up on a series! I thought of giving up PC and Kristin Cast's House Of Night, but oh well... I feel bad if I do that and so I guess I'll end up reading it! Though I do understand why someone wouldn't want to continue a series...
    Nice review! :)

    Sarika @ The Readdicts

    1. Thanks! I don't know. While I won't give up on a book, I have no problem giving up on a series.

  2. Alex was a hard character for me to like at times. He was bossy and I think the struggle of trying to keep his sister's alive made him overbearing. I also like how this novel showed a little bit more of a class separation. The first novel it seemed like everyone was in the same predicament, but this one showed that people who had power and money were able to do a little bit more. Not that I like that notion, but I feel it was more realistic.

    1. It felt more realistic for sure. I understand what you mean with Alex. I wasn't sure if it was a product of his personality or his situation.

  3. PC Cast House of Night series. I won't continue it. I might read the last book when it comes out but I doubt it. :(

    1. I've heard that one mentioned earlier. What is it about that series?

  4. I'd read it :D I need more dystopia in my book diet

  5. This happens to me. I like something but don't really want to finish the series. I'm so over series.

  6. You're really getting into the dystopia challenge aren't you?!
    And I don't know, this is exactly the kind of book that freaks me out because the events are kind of... possible. A really long shot but not impossible, anad that really, really messes with my psyche. :D

    Glad you liked it more than the first book though :D

    1. I am getting into this challenge. I think it is something about the fact that I wasn't already reading these books, had to actively search for them, and never really knew what to expect.

  7. Too bad Alex didn't really work as a character to you and there was no real progress regarding the disasters claiming NY. From your description of this one I don't think I would enjoy this series very much.

    1. This series is different and it is interesting but it is emotionally draining in a different way. I just want to know how everything is solved but for some reason, I don't think we'll ever find out.


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