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Pale (Stoke Books) Library Binding – September 1, 2012
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Top Customer Reviews
Pale by Chris Wooding is a novella about Jed, a bully, who antagonizes the Pales-- people who have taken the Lazarus Serum after dying and have been resurrected into someone who vaguely looks like the person they were before but now have pale skin, eyes, and hair. Jed has it all-- a best friend who is a huger bully than he is, a beautiful girlfriend, and popularity. Then in one moment all of that changes.
This book was written for middle schoolers, but I was impressed by how in 70 pages, Wooding does more than many writers do in 5 times the number of pages. The novella isn't perfect-- the ending is not the best and sometimes the writing is almost too simple. That said, I was flipping pages until I got to the end and was captivated from start to finish. Not to mention, that instead of immediately falling asleep, I stayed up thinking about the implications of the story and what it meant ethically and emotionally. We are never told how the Lazarus injection works or much backstory on how it gets started. Some reviewers were very bothered by this. Usually, I have a lot more problem with it-- but we are getting the story from Jed's perspective and he doesn't know how the injection works, just that it does. So it makes sense we don't get a huge description of it. The story lays open for much more, and I wonder if Wooding is intending to write another novella or expanding this to full novel length.
Overall, a gripping, intense read that captivated me from start to finish.
For what it's worth, this book echoes Robert Silverberg's 1974 sci-fi novella "Born with the Dead" . In that book the main character loses his young wife and is unable to handle the grief. Worse, a new technique called "rekindling" allows the dead to have a sort of life after death. But they don't resume their old ways. Instead the Dead develop a new separate culture. Jorge is a "warm" , and he struggles to infiltrate the world of the Dead to reconnect with his wife. I mention this novella because it is one of the cornerstones of the claim that Silverberg belongs in the Asimov-Bradbury-Clarke league. I also mention it because it is a wonderfully written, deeply unnerving, and remarkably atmospheric "adult" version that complements "Pale" and demonstrates the deep potential of these Lazarus/rekindling fables.Read more ›
Pales are dead people who have been injected with the Lazarus Serum and brought back to life. They are different in appearance. One of the side effects of the serum is that they wake up totally devoid of any color, hence the name Pale. The fact that they are the dead and look like the dead pretty much gives everyone else reasons enough to isolate them.
We explore racism, prejudice thoughts and bullying in Pale. We also explore what happens when things are turned around and the cool kid is no longer cool and the bully becomes the bullied.
I think the issues brought up in this book are obviously still prevalent today. This book would be great for kids in middle school. Bullying is becoming more and more of a problem in our schools and I think we need to find more creative ways to tackle this and the other issues brought to light in the book. This book lends the opportunity to discuss these issues in a more neutral way. I was completely impressed by the writing and how things unfolded. I think our youth would be able to relate and walk away with very important messages.
Yes, this is a novella. Yes, there were details not included that could have added to the story. No, I don't feel as if I was cheated. I think all was perfect just as it was because the most important details were there. I consider this a good foundation and would be excited to read the next installment if Chris Wooding chooses to go there.
I definitely recommend this read to everyone!
ARC was provided by Stoke Books via NetGalley.
The first introduction to Jed is as a bully; someone who hates "pales" and wants only to beat them up, simply because they have the right blood type to be brought back to life. When Jed is accidentally killed and becomes a Pale himself, he comes face to face with the same discrimination and bullying that he had dished out literally the day before.
Yes, this is a short read, but it's the right length for someone who is reluctant to read at all. The action moves at a pace that pulls the reader along, always keeping you wanting just a little bit more. The characters are believable and behave consistently. There's just enough depth to make you care for the characters yet still allow the reader to see themselves in the story. It also manages to use the themes of discrimination, acceptance, and bullying without being overly "preachy" or without hitting the reader over the head with "when you're a bully, bad things happen to you."
The book is slanted a bit more for male readers than female, but either would it enjoy it.
As a side note, this novel(la) also provides a great teaching opportunity for parents to discuss with their children the problems and consequences of bullying and discrimination.
Highly recommend for 13 - 14 year olds who like action, science fiction and futuristic tales.
(Disclaimer: Received from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review)
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This was a novella, so a quick read. The premise was intriguing, and I liked the whole plot about the Lazarus Serum. Read morePublished on July 12, 2014 by Majanka
Chris Wooding has written an excellent short tale that is perfect for older students who struggle with reading or dyslexia. Read morePublished on January 16, 2013 by val313
I read this book through Netgalley and was intrigued by the subject matter. Sort of a play on Zombies but with the humans being the monsters. Read morePublished on December 31, 2012 by Thomastracy62
Pale is a nicely written short story by Chris Wooding that I would classify as a Sci-Fi book. I would say the book could be read by anyone 4th grade or higher, although I believe... Read morePublished on November 27, 2012 by Kendell K. Jordan
Pale is an interesting book. It was meant for high school students needing lower level reads. Although English is not my first language, I thought it's really low. Read morePublished on November 5, 2012 by Disincentive
PALE is a quick read: an interesting read. I got a few pages into it and thought, darn! this is a book that my English teacher back in middle-school would have loved to have us... Read morePublished on October 13, 2012 by The Invisible Pam
When I started reading this on my Kindle, I thought it was a full length book. I didn't realize it was more of a novella. With only 72 pages, it was a very quick read. Read morePublished on September 23, 2012 by The Flashlight Reader
Pale was a really interesting concept, and it had so much potential. When people die they are given the Lazarus serum, which for certain people has the potential to bring them... Read morePublished on September 16, 2012 by Turning the Pages
I'm pretty sure that from now on, I should be more careful before choosing the next books I'm going to read. I was eager to start reading Pale, expecting, of course, a novel. Read morePublished on September 4, 2012 by roxtao