The Dead and The Gone

I was really excited about the release of Susan Beth Pfeffer's The Dead and the Gone because I loved Life As We Knew It. My first impression after reading it was that it was good but that I didn't like it as much as I liked LAWKI.

They are very different books - TDATG isn't meant to be a sequel to LAWKI. It's more a companion novel. They are different and theoretically one does not need to read LAWKI first but I do recommend it. In TDATG there isn't as much explanation about what happened with the moon and the after effects of it moving out of orbit. You don't get the same view of what is happening across the country and around the world as the moon's new position causes volcanoes, earthquakes and tsunamis.

I found that the connection with the main character, Alex, wasn't as well formed before the asteroid hit. We didn't really get to know him in the before like we did with Miranda. Alex, even though he lived in NYC seemed more disconnected from the events than Miranda and her family did. It was interesting to see two different families, living in relative isolation, and yet one had pretty regular contact with other people.

I also found that religion was played out differently in this book. In LAWKI Miranda's family is not religious and religion only enters the story through one of her friends who belongs to a cult-like religion. Religion in that book was portrayed in a rather negative view. In TDATG Alex and his family are quite religious. They attend Catholic schools and go to mass regularly. It plays a large part in their story and is viewed very positively.

LAWKI had me freaked out and wanting to stock up on bottled water, canned goods and crank-powered flashlights and radios. TDATG didn't get under my skin the same way. I just didn't connect with Alex and his faily on that level. I think that perhaps it has something to do with LAWKI being told as an episodic diary and TGATG being told in third-person.

I also found that the ending didn't quite work for me. At the end of LAWKI I felt reassured that the family was going to be ok for awhile at least or at least I was quite hopeful that they would. I didn't feel that same reassurance with TDATG. I felt like LAWKI concluded (not totally but satisfactory at least) but that TDATG just ended.

I know that I've done a lot of comparisons here but that's the way I read it - in the reflection of LAWKI. I just don't see TDATG as a stand-alone book.

It was good but for me not as good as LAWKI.

Susan Beth Pfeffer is working on a third book. Pfeffer and her editor are still trying to come up with a plot that they both agree on so stay tuned!