Before reading this read my review of the first half of the book.
One aspect of the book that I failed to mention in my first post is the importance of memory in the story. Memory is what keeps ghosts alive in Westerfeld’s world. Without people to remember their lives the ghosts fade and are lost. Spirits can only live on if they’ve had an impact on someone. I find this intriguing. We exist in the way we influence others, and pieces of us are lost when those who know us are gone. This melds well with an episode of Battlestar Gallactica where Cat is afraid to end up like the girl in the photo who no one can remember. As if dying in battle wouldn’t be so bad if she could live on through the memories of her copilots. Being an anonymous casualty on the remembrance wall is the worst possible fate for her. I think Westerfeld captures this concept better than Battlestar, especially in Mindy’s character development.
The framing story of the writer resonates with me more than the story she writes, but I wonder if teens can relate to it as well. I think this book will have a niche fan-base of literary hopefuls ages 18-30. It can be enjoyed beyond that niche but I suspect that those will be the people who connect with it the most.
I appreciated Westerfeld’s comparison of authors and psychopomps- with minor characters serving as “cannon fodder”. It brings to mind Galaxy Quest and guy’s frantic fear of death because no one knows his last and he’s just another red-shirt. Once again, being known by others saves the characters; or at least gives them a more memorable death. I think people in their early to mid twenties will appreciate Darcy’s struggle with adulthood. She often feels like an impostor, and this is something I experienced myself in every aspect of adult life. Her insecurity will connect many emerging adults with the story.