Book Review: Die For Me by Amy Plum

9462812Title: Die For Me (Revenants #1)
Author: Amy Plum
Genre: Urban Fantasy, Young Adult, Paranormal romance
Publisher: HarperTeen
Publication Date: May 10th 2011
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Rating: 4,5 stars
Review copy provided by the publisher through Netgalley.

My life had always been blissfully, wonderfully normal. But it only took one moment to change everything.

Suddenly, my sister, Georgia, and I were orphans. We put our lives into storage and moved to Paris to live with my grandparents. And I knew my shattered heart, my shattered life, would never feel normal again. Then I met Vincent.

Mysterious, sexy, and unnervingly charming, Vincent Delacroix appeared out of nowhere and swept me off my feet. Just like that, I was in danger of losing my heart all over again. But I was ready to let it happen.

Of course, nothing is ever that easy. Because Vincent is no normal human. He has a terrifying destiny, one that puts his life at risk every day. He also has enemies . . . immortal, murderous enemies who are determined to destroy him and all of his kind.

While I’m fighting to piece together the remnants of my life, can I risk putting my heart—as well as my life and my family’s—in jeopardy for a chance at love?

Everyone and their pet chihuahua seemed to request this book from Netgalley, and I decided to ask it too and see what all the fuzz was about. I’ve heard a lot of people in their reviews saying that after the dissapointment offered by Starcrossed and Hereafter – both of which I haven’t read yet I’m sorry to say – they felt like Die For Me was a nice change, and a fresh breeze in YA paranormal romance. Albeit familiar, with supernatural creatures roaming our earth, and a teenage girl falling head over heels for one, I have to agree that Amy Plum’s take on the whole supernatural thing offers an original concept and a refreshing idea. If you’re tired with vampires, werewolves, witches and every other well-known nightly creature passing the revue, then you will probably find Die For Me a nice change. I certainly thought it was interesting, entertaining and at times, even heart-melting.

Kate Mercier is just your average teenage girl. She is pretty, but not popular, and a bit too self-conscious to truly accept her own good looks. She enjoys reading books and visiting museums. Since her parents only recently died in a car accident, she keeps a lot to herself, and suffers from depression and a sadness so grave even the beauty of Paris during summer cannot solve. One day, while reading a book in one of the local cafés, she stumbles into a guy named Vincent, who is there accompanied by his two friends Jules and Ambrose. Although Kate feels an instant connection towards the gorgeous stranger, she also realizes that he might be dangerous – especially after she sees his best friend Jules getting killed, and Vincent not even blinking, or looking sad afterwards. Confused and pained, Kate has no idea what’s going on. When she stumbles into Jules – who was supposed to be dead – a couple of days later, her confusion reaches an entirely new level. She realizes that Vincent may not even be alive, and that, in any case, he probably isn’t human. But as Vincent explains her true heritage to her, and reveals that he is in fact a Revenant, a person who keeps coming back to live after dying and die to save others, Kate must find a way to deal with the truth and her feelings for Vincent. But on top of that, there’s this law in the universe that says for every good guy, there has to be a bad guy…

Let me start by saying that although some parts of the storyline might be predictable (like Kate falling for Vincent, that’s a big no-brainer), there are some parts that are truly intriguing, fascinating and original as well. I loved the mythology after the Revenants, and I was constantly wondering why no one had ever used the concept of people coming back to life after giving their own life to save others in YA paranormal books before. The concept was original enough, and highly entertaining and interesting, and for that alone, I would have kept reading. Except that Amy Plum offers a lot more than just an original, refreshing story in her novel: she offers great quality writing, extraordinary characterization skills and a protagonist who you will grow to care for like a sister.

The setting is Paris. I’ve been there before, one on a rainy weekend in autumn, and once on a sunny day in August. There’s a big difference between Paris in summer, in which the city comes to life, with vibrant colors, plenty of people, lovely and cozy cafés and this special vibe that screams “I’m the most romantic city in the world”, and Paris when the wheather is grim, dark and unsettling. Amy Plum manages to cover both sides of Paris beautifully, and her descriptions of the city made me reminisce my time there, and made me want to take the first train in that direction. She makes the city come to life on the pages of her book, and she blends the main characters in with the decor, as if they belonged there all along. Georgia, Kate’s sister, albeit born in the South and raised in New York, makes the perfect parisienne socialite, obsessed with going out, always to the trendiest clubs in town, and practically conquering the entire city as she goes along. Kate on the other hand, is the perfect example of the bohemian artist vibe the city still portrays: the girl reading paperback novels while sipping lemonades in a local café, or the art collector strolling seemingly random through the different museums. I liked the contradiction in the girl’s personalities, as they appear to be representatives of the contradiction in the nature of the city itself, and I thoroughly enjoyed how, despite their many differences, they managed to get along just fine. I loved their interactions, their fights and struggles, and their unconditional love for each other.

Another bonus point is that Vincent is the perfect French gentleman. He is considerate, caring, sweet, and just heartbreaking. I really wanted him for myself, but since Kate is such an amazing and kind-hearted person, I’m willing to share. No, but really. There are a lot of guys in YA paranormal books that are so-called bad boys, or they treat girls badly and yet the protagonist still manages to fall for them, or they’re stalker-material like Edward in Twilight (that’s not to say Vincent doesn’t have the whole stalker-concept going on, because he does at times, but I can forgive him for that). No, on the contrary, Vincent is the boy your parents would want you to take home. He has a lot of qualities, and seems like a genuine and caring person, which gives Katy plenty of reason to fall for him besides his extraordinary looks. I also enjoyed the fact that Kate and Vincent actually went on a date – that’s one of the first time I’ve seen this happen in books of this genre – and that they actually took the time to get to know each other better. They laughed, flirted, joked around, and worked on building a friendship to strenghten their romantic feelings for each other. It was great, and a very mature take on things, which you probably would expect from a Revenant like Vincent, and from a person who recently lost so much like Kate did.

Jules and Ambrose were interesting characters as well, and both were equally charming. I must admit that I really liked Charlotte as well. I thought it was good for Kate to have a female friend, and the same thing counted for Charlotte as well. She’s also a very interesting character, and I would like to see more of her in the next book in the series.

As I already mentioned, Amy Plum’s writing style is absolutely fantastic. I was mesmerized by Kate’s trials and adventures from page one, and I stayed like that till the very end. Then why only rate a 4,5 and not a 5 stars, you ask? Well, I would have liked the author to completely shred all YA paranormal romance clichés, and take the Revenant twist a step further. I would have liked the bad guy not to be that obvious – I knew from the moment we met him in the story – and to make the romantic feelings between Vincent and Kate even more believable and realistic. I was very proud of Kate to think about the consequences of their relationship, and to even try to turn him away when she noticed she might not be able to handle it, but she gives in easily enough when he keeps on trying. I would have loved it if they had taken things more slowly. Also, I feel like the mythology of the Revenants could be a bit better developed.

Die For Me has a lot to offer to potential readers, that distinguish this novel from other books in the same genre. It offers a protagonist you will sympathize with almost instantly, who has real, honest human emotions, and who has to deal with a lot of grief, and has her own way of coping with that. It has one of the most beautiful cities in the world as its main setting. There’s an original take on supernaturals, introducing a whole new breed of them called Revenants, and telling us of their mythology and personal history. The romance is sweet, and not all that “girl sees guy and falls head-over-heels with him” crap we see all too often. Considering all of those qualities, I would definately recommend this book to everyone who enjoys paranormal romance, or young adult novels in general. It’s a most enjoyable read, and I’m already looking forward to the sequel.

Comments

  1. Wow! Awesome! Finally a review that convinced me to read this book ASAP! 🙂 Sure, I’ve heard a lot of good things about it before and I was curious, but I couldn’t actually get what’s it about and why all the fuss. So, great review! Thanks!:)
    xoxo

  2. I couldn’t agree more! It really was a refreshing change and completely adorable at times (in a non-cavity-inducing sort of way). Like you, I’m hoping that Charlotte plays a part in the next book. Awesome review! <3

  3. Thanks for your honest review! I’m so glad you liked this book! Check out my review: http://the-bookaholics.blogspot.com/2011/06/die-for-me.html

  4. I love Vincent! He’s so perfect for Kate and ever since I read the book; It has enncouraged me to read more and more. I wonder what the next book will entail. Hopefully it will be as good as ‘Die for me’ , although many books’ sequels to the first, don’t seem to be as good. If anybody is wondering, the next book is called ‘Until I die’…. does anyone know the release date? I can’t wait– too excited! 🙂 xoxo

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