Series: Death, #1
Author: Tamara Rose Blodgett
Pages: 354 (Kindle edition)
Publisher: Tamara Rose Blodgett
Release Date: March 30, 2011
Almost fifteen-year-old Caleb Hart is a Cadaver-Manipulator in the year 2025.
When teens receive a government-sanctioned pharmaceutical cocktail during school, paranormal abilities begin manifesting... making the teens more powerful than the adults.
After Caleb discovers he has the rare, Affinity for the Dead, he must do whatever it takes to hide it from a super-secret government agency whose goal is exploitation. Caleb seeks refuge in his new girlfriend, Jade, until he realizes that she needs as much protection from her family, as he does from the government. Suddenly, Caleb finds that hiding his ability while protecting Jade and his friends is a full time job; can he escape the government, protect Jade and lose the bullies that are making him miserable?
The first thing that stood out to me about Death Whispers is that it's told from a male point of view! It was very interesting and different to be in the mind of a teenage boy. Even though I myself have never been a teenage boy, I thought the author did a great job capturing the teen boy essence, complete with smelly socks and an insatiable appetite! But Caleb isn't a normal teenage boy, even among those who develop paranormal abilities. He has a rare ability to raise the dead!
I loved the setup of scientists finally unlocking the human genome and discovering latent supernatural/paranormal abilities coded there. These abilities now manifest at puberty due to some kind of shot all kids get, and Caleb has got the rarest of the rare of abilities. One that he must hide, or else the government may take him away to use his abilities for "political" purposes. Of course, Caleb is a bit careless with his power as the book moves along. Using zombies to fight off bullies and help build a hideout is not the smartest of moves. The zombie-gopher army was pretty awesome though!
One thing that I didn't like about this book was that it took place in "our world." Everything related to the paranormal abilities, and AP testing, came about because of President Obama's health care reform. It was only mentioned once, but I would have preferred this to have been set in a fictional government. I did like how some of today's stuff was considered old school (Hinder, phone numbers, books, etc). It's something I often think about, since technology and trends are always evolving. I thought those aspect were added in nicely.
This may be random, but I absolutely loved Caleb's mom! She's a cookie baking environmentalist, and doesn't let Caleb get away with using "gay" and "retard" as derogatory terms. You go, Alicia Hart!
While this book for some reason seemed longer than its 354 pages (there was a lot going on), I really enjoyed it. I loved how the different paranormal abilities were categorized and ranked based on strength. Watching Caleb discover all he can do was fun, exciting, and sometimes a little scary (Great Grandma!!!). There were themes of how much the government should be involved in our lives, and that great power needs to be used responsibly!
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