Dead Water Zone
by Kenneth Oppel
Cover Artist: Jonathan Barkat
Review by Gayle Dixon
Eos Paperback ISBN/ITEM#: 9780061234422
Date: 01 September 2007 List Price $6.99 Amazon US / Amazon UK / Show Official Info /
I can recommend the solidly written Dead Water Zone, a Young Adult novel, without reservation.
The coming-of-age story is set against the backdrop of a lakeside community of marginalized people impaired to varying degrees by their contact with contaminated water.
The main character, Paul, has a finely crafted interior life. The exterior of Paul's world could benefit from greater attention. Even the proper nouns, infrequently provided, have an oddly generic air: Governor's Hill, the City, Rat Castle.
Most of the young readers will be unfamiliar with Dune, so they won't cringe at the "Drink the water, Paul" scene, but given a choice I would change the name of the hero.
None of the themes -- misuse of technology, nefarious government, the hubris of scientists -- is new, but the novel is solidly crafted and an enjoyable read.