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Beautiful City of the Dead

Beautiful City of the Dead
Author: Leander Watts
ISBN 13: 9780618594993
ISBN 10: 61859499
Edition: N/A
Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers
Publication Date: 2007-09-10
Format: Paperback
Pages: 256
List Price: $7.99

Relly’s band is called Scorpio Bone. Screaming guitars, crusher drums, and a singer who looks like a golden god. Along comes a girl named Zee, with a bass guitar, a notebook full of strange lyrics, and exactly the right attitude.

At the first practice, it all comes together. And Relly’s vision of a new kind of music, Ghost Metal, comes alive at last.

“Now that we’re together, the four of us, it’s gonna start. The big time. The biggest thing you ever saw,” Relly says. “When we get cranking, the four of us, we can cross over to the other side, the other world. It takes four and no more. It takes four to win the war.”

It sounds crazy, but Zee knows it’s the truth. And at their first gig, she realizes that music isn’t all there is to Scorpio Bone. They’re not just a band anymore. Together they are immortal.

Myrna Marler - KLIATT

Do even Goth metal heads need their own fiction? The average reader might regard this story as the slow descent of a girl into madness as Zee, the new girl in school who happens to play bass, comes to believe that she and her three punk rock band mates are gods and goddesses in disguise, together embodying earth, wind, fire, and water. Fantasy readers will go along willingly. Zee and her friends must do (metaphorical? physical?) battle with a threesome (looking for a fourth, and Zee is their choice) of older people, malevolent people, who also happen to be the biology teacher, the principal, and possibly the janitor of the school she attends. That these people mean Zee and her friends harm makes it okay for the young people to ignore everything at school as trivial (except for the confrontations with the three evil stooges) or irrelevant. Only the music is real?—?so real that there's actually silence within the music, especially the louder it gets. If the reader is not a fantasy fan or does not groove with heavy metal, then this story makes little sense on a literal level. On the other hand, this may be an allegory or a morality tale, except the moral values of the characters are murky. If ultimate good is defined as obliterating spiteful old people and playing music as loudly as possible with friends in the attic, then good prevails. Although the novel is well written and plotting and characterization keep the pages turning, it may be a puzzle for many. KLIATT Codes: S—Recommended for senior high school students. 2006, Houghton Mifflin, 254p., Ages 15 to 18.