Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Review: Die For Me

DIE FOR ME (Revenants #1)
Amy Plum
Paranormal Young Adult
341 pages
HarperTeen
Available Now

THE STORY
Kate is still reeling from the sudden deaths of her parents. She hoped moving to Paris with her sister to live with their grandparents would help her distance herself from the tragedy, but she finds she's in as dark a place as ever despite her new home in the City of Light.

It's not until she meets Vincent that she's finally able to feel something other than pain and misery. He piques her curiosity, especially when she and her sister seem him leap from a bridge in order to save a young woman who's jumped.

As it turns out, Vincent is more of a distraction than Kate could have ever imagined, introducing her to an unbelievable world where there are more questions than answers and more dangerous encounters than quiet romantic moments. The more she learns, the more she realizes a relationship with Vincent might prove to be impossible, because no matter how much he's brought her back to life, death will always be trying to keep them apart.

MY THOUGHTS
For a story that walks hand in hand with death, Die For Me radiates life and vitality, its characters full-bodied enough that we see them clearly through the printed ink and the paper pages, and they are as real and full of color as if we were making our way through a picture book instead of a novel. Though there are a few stereotypical young adult elements sprinkled in here and there, Ms. Plum impresses us with a plethora of unexpected details and mythologies and sets the romantic in us aflame with a relationship so enviable we can't help but glare at our own significant others across the room and chastise them for not being as sweet as Vincent. In the midst of a beautiful romance, she ingeniously threads the utterly intriguing world of revenants, dazzling us with the intricacies of their existence and ensuring we are gleefully anticipating the next installment by the time we close the back cover.

Kate is an extraordinarily ordinary heroine–truly genuine and not overdone in any way, she wins us over quickly with her grief and mourning for her lost parents. While she is understandably devastated, her despair isn't so dramatic that we can't find our way to the heart of her character through the miasma of melancholy and despondency. She's coping but yet keeps enough to herself that we feel as though we are her only friend and our bond, though one-sided, strengthens and solidifies the more we read. Her initial response to Vincent is nothing we haven't seen time and again, but happily for us a declaration of love is slower in coming and seems to be earned on both sides rather than given away freely and easily. She keeps a level head through some fairly spectacular emotional and physical turmoil, and even when that level head seeks to protect her heart by pushing Vincent away, we can appreciate the logical nature of her decision though we do speed our reading to reach the part where the needs of the heart overpower the choices of the mind.

Vincent, though of course devastatingly handsome and charming, proves himself to be a young man of substance–a pretty face backed up by an intelligence and infectious wit. He and his fellow revenants are a true highlight of the story, seeming so beautifully normal despite their very unique existence. Vincent doesn't use sarcasm and swagger to downplay his interest in Kate, rather he chooses to put everything on the table fully knowing his complete honesty will most likely be met with hesitancy and even fear. Theirs is a relationship we want to see succeed with every fiber of our being, and we carve out a portion of our hearts to make room for the two of them knowing Ms. Plum has pieces in place that will challenge and test us all in upcoming installments.

Overall, Die For Me is a highly recommended read that blends new and unfamiliar elements with the comfort and normalcy of young love, managing to create its own delicious recipe that leaves us positively salivating for more. We are left grinning from ear to ear even though we're acutely aware this book is humoring us with only the temporary illusion of happiness, but we consume the crumbs Ms. Plum tosses us eagerly, making sure we absorb enough to sustain us through all that's sure to come.

Rating: 4/5

41 comments:

  1. Fabulous review as always, Jenny. I have this one setting in my library bag as we speak. I'm curious about the new paranormal figure and the mythology surrounding it. Besides the setting of Paris sounds wonderful and utterly romantic. And can I say it's about freaking time a love interest is straight forward and not hiding information "because it can harm you". So sick of that! Such an added bonus. :)

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  2. I think I'm a little on the odd side with this one, I didn't like it as much as everyone else. I thought the writing could have been improved upon because she kept using some phrases over and over again. Still, I did enjoy the overall feeling and excitement. I also felt for Kate and her feelings with her parents. The book just didn't click with me. I'm glad you liked it though! And I agree, I do think the happiness is just an illusion. I think her next book is going to be better than the first.

    Jen
    In the Closet With a Bibliophile

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  3. I'm so glad you liked this one. I adored it. I agree that there are cliched elements and it is very much like Twilight, but many of the Twilight-ish features were my favorite parts. The revenants - both the idea of them and the individual personalities - is indeed the highlight of the novel. Just as the Cullens are my fav part of Twilight, the revenant family is my fav part of Die For Me.

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  4. Fantastic review! You've convinced me to read the book. I was initially not sure because of some mixed reviews. Kate seems like a great character. And I am glad that Vincent is not just a pretty face, but has more depth to him.

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  5. Well you know, if you can't fall in love in Paris, where can you fall in love? Right? I am so glad you liked this one. I have this one, of course. But when I saw that Small DNF'd it I was upset b/c it looked so good! So, I have hope for it now.
    Great review!

    Heather

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  6. Beautiful review Jenny! I agree that Vincent is more than just a beautiful face and the romance was gorgeous in this :)

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  7. I might just get it just because Vincent is in it. ;) lol. Great review. I'm ordering a copy of this book in the weekend, because I need something like this. ;)

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  8. I just love that last paragraph :=) You put it so elegantly

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  9. Oh man, I just didn't like this book at all. Too many of those typical paranormal clichés in there. But I'm glad that you obviously enjoyed it Jenny :)

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  10. "...sets the romantic in us aflame with a relationship so enviable we can't help but glare at our own significant others across the room and chastise them for not being as sweet as Vincent."-Jenny I LOVE this! :) Love this review!

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  11. This one is my maybe YA list! I am drawn to the cover, the story sounds intriguing, and it seems like it is very well received!

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  12. Great review, Jenny! I loved this book and I'm so glad you enjoyed it as well. I thought I would hate it, but it sucked me in. I agree that there are some stereotypical aspects to this novel, but I was so into the whole idea of revenants. I can't wait for book two!

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  13. Rummanah - Can't wait to see what you think! I just really enjoyed it and the mythology of the revenants. And Kate didn't get all swoony which I appreciated:)

    Jen - We don't all like the same things which makes book blogging way more interesting. How boring would it be if every review on every blog said the same thing? I had fun reading this one and sometimes that's enough for me:)

    Alison - I hope we get lots more with Vincent's "family" in the next book, they were a blast to read about:)

    Misha - Hope you enjoy it! There are some fairly common YA elements mixed in but, I loved the revenant aspect and I thought Kate was a strong protagonist:)

    Heather - There are always going to be mixed reviews, but I went into this one just wanting to be entertained and I was. I think sometimes I read too critically and forget to have fun. Were there things that could have been improved? Sure. But there always are I think, and the good far outweighed the bad for me on this one.

    Nic - Thanks! I'm looking forward to more Kate and Vincent, though I'm hoping we don't get any sort of love triangle. I just want them to be happy like the sappy romantic I am:)

    Nina - Yay! Hope you enjoy:)

    Blodeuedd - Thank you!

    Aly - That happens sometimes. There have been a couple books where it seemed like I was the only one that had a differing opinion, but you like what you like right? :)

    Jacinda - Thank you so much!

    Felicia - I hope you like this one, it was just a fun read for me with a really different paranormal aspect:)

    Christina - I came to this one late because of all the hype, I was worried it wouldn't work for me, but I got sucked in too:) I'm ready for book too right this minute!

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  14. This one was a DNF for me, but I am glad you liked it so much! =)

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  15. I love the cover on this book and enjoyed the book. I will definitely be reading the second one when it comes out.

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  16. I loved this book too. Paris, Vincent - it's a fabulous read! Thanks for the great review.

    StuckInBooks.com

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  17. Yippie!!! You loved it....I loved this one too...:)

    I thought Vincent was pretty swoon-worthy and I love Paris so I mean just for that it was awesome..

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  18. Beautiful review, as always! I enjoyed Die for Me just about as much as you did. I definitely want my own Vincent! :p

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  19. Brandi - You're welcome:)

    Bailey - Too bad! That happens sometimes though:)

    Celeste - Me too, I can't wait to see what's in store for all of them.

    StuckInBooks - Agreed:) And you're welcome!

    Tina - I did love it, it just kept me flipping the pages to find out what happened next:)

    Lauren - Thank you! I want my own Vincent too. I think I actually told my husband that and got an eye roll in response. Super romantic he is:)

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  20. Fabulous review, Jenny.

    Like some people I just couldn't get into this one. I'm not sure if it was the fact that there were a lot of common YA tropes or maybe I just wasn't in the mood for it.

    Reading your review makes me want to take another stab at it though!

    This week’s Teaser Tuesday: Hard Spell

    Today’s Review: Hard Spell

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  21. As always nice review!I love reading them cause you always express exactly what the books it. I loved this book as well!

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  22. I'd read this just to see how sweet Vincent is. Sounds like Kate and him have a romance I can get behind.

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  23. Sounds like there are some great characters in this one! I wasn't really interested in it before, but I might pick it up in the future just to experience the great romance.

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  24. I've been wanting to read this one since Melissa's (book and things) review. I can't believe I haven't yet. I like the idea of a guy that is up front about his feelings. How refreshing.

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  25. I did enjoy this one too. Yes the stereotypical elements made me think that I wouldn't like it and I kept waiting for that to happen. Instead I was into the book like you! I really enjoyed these characters too!

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  26. While I really enjoyed the trip to Paris and the well-drawn characters, I wasn't a fan of the overall story (it had too many Twilight-esque ingredients for me). Glad you liked it, though! Fantastic review, as always!
    Mary @ Book Swarm

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  27. Carissa - I think sometimes you definitely have to be in the right mood to read certain books:)

    Savy - Thanks! I'm glad you loved it too:)

    Jenny - I really enjoyed Vincent, there wasn't any game playing between him and Kate which was refreshing.

    Ashley - I'm a sucker for a sweet romance so I got drawn right into this one:)

    Missie - Exactly. Vincent was honest and told her how he felt instead of trying to play it cool which I loved.

    Melissa - Yes! I kept waiting for those elements to bother me as well, but they didn't and all of a sudden I was at the end of the book:)

    Mary - Perhaps book 2 will deviate from the Twilight elements enough that you'll be able to get into it a bit more:) Glad you enjoyed the review though!

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  28. " ... we can't help but glare at our own significant others across the room and chastise them for not being as sweet as Vincent." Lol, your poor husband.

    I loved this one too. While Vincent and the other revenants were all better looking than the average person, they had more substance to them than being just a pretty face. I really enjoyed their interactions with each other the most.

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  29. Fantastic review Jenny! I have heard a lot of great things about this book and will definitely keep it in mind for my next trip to the libs :)

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  30. I actually did not enjoy this book. I didn't like Kate, and I didn't like the writing and the characters fell absolutely flat for me. In fact, a lot of the things that worked so well for you were things that didn't work for me.
    Isn't it interesting how we can read the same book and have such remarkably different opinions?

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  31. Jenny, I'm in awe at your reviews. Seriously, I haven't read too many great reviews for this one, but I loved reading your thoughts on it, and I'm eager to try it now :)

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  32. How do you do it? How do you write so incredibly articulate and well worded reviews? Can you teach us?

    Like Melissa said, I haven't read many positive reviews on this one, but maybe I'll try this one. It's definitely on my radar anyway.

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  33. Zahida - I know right? He's gotten used to me comparing him to fictional men, so now he just rolls his eyes at me:)

    Tara - Thanks! I'll be interested to see what you think of this one:)

    Ruby - It is! Sorry you didn't care for this one as much as I did:)

    Melissa - I love you. That is all.

    Pam - THANK YOU! *blushes* That's really sweet of you to say:) I hadn't realized the reviews for this one were quite so mixed until I posted this, but I had fun reading it and that's the whole point right?

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  34. Lovely, lovely review! Your opening and ending sentence make me really want to read this book. Heck, your whole review does! It's moving up in my TBR pile.

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  35. I have read both good and not so good reviews, but your attention to the characterization in the review has me thinking this one is one I should check out. I also love how you point out some of the usual YA stereotypical aspects, but also point out that they do not hinder the enjoyment of the book. Excellent review!

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  36. "Please sir, I'd like some more." *snatches hungrily for more morsels*

    So many people have shat all over this book and it's nice to see a different perspective! I was initially drawn to this one because je suis obsessed with Paris, but then I second guessed myself based on all the bad reviews. You, my dear, have convinced me to give it a shot.

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  37. I just finished this one. I enjoyed it but I have to say that the girls had a lot more freedom than I would have expected of girls that age. Fantastic review :)

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  38. I've heard mixed reviews on this one but I find I'm really responding to your description of the characters and their relationship so I might want to give this one a go after all!

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  39. Glad that you liked it Jenny! Despite Though there are a few stereotypical young adult elements sprinkled in here and there I personally wasn't turned off by the book at all... Thankfully (*cough, cough, Tris and Izzie*)... ;)

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  40. I think for the sake of my bank account I should stop reading your blog. I have to have this book. "we can't help but glare at our own significant others across the room and chastise them for not being as sweet as Vincent" this really hit home for me and I LOVE any book that can evoke this!

    Your amazing writing ability never fails to amaze me. Please be writing a book of your own.

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