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Tuesday, April 12, 2011

'Die For Me' Revenants #1 by Amy PLUM

Received from the Publisher

From the BLURB:

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.

Kate Mercier has come to the city of love, to grieve. Having lost her parents in a tragic car accident months ago, Kate and her older sister Georgia have moved to Paris to live with their grandparents.

Georgia loses herself in the Paris nightlife, surrounded by beautifully trendy people in dim bistros and loud clubs. But Kate keeps to herself, reading in her room or sitting by herself in cafes. A spark of life comes in the form of a beautiful, raven-haired boy who catches Kate’s eye... a boy she keeps seeing around her Paris neighbourhood. She sees him in museums, cafes and walking along the Seine. And then one night she sees him jump into the river to save a suicide jumper, while his friends battle with swords nearby.

Kate is wary and intrigued by this mysterious boy, this impossibly beautiful person who seems flirtatiously smitten with plain-old Kate. She can’t help but be drawn to him, to know him . . .

Vincent Delacroix may be charming and handsome, but he also has secrets. He has mysterious friends who are threatened by Kate’s presence. He disappears for days at a time and he can’t talk about his past.

Kate is still grieving over the loss of her parents, yet Vincent has somehow managed to reignite her passion for life . . . but at what cost to her soul?
My relief was replaced by a chilling thought. “So I can’t leave? Are you keeping me prisoner?”
“That makes it sound a little melodramatic,” she said.
Her eyes looked as if they were used to taking much in, while giving little away. The eyes of an older woman reflecting the spirit of a little girl. “You saw things you shouldn’t have. Now we have to decide how to handle the situation. You know . . . like damage control. You’re the one who took the bite out of the apple, Kate. Although with a serpent that handsome, I can’t say I blame you.”
‘Die For Me’ is a YA paranormal romance from debut author Amy Plum. The book is the first in a new series called ‘Revenants’.

I can say, with unmitigated sincerity, that ‘Die For Me’ is one of the best books I have read all year. This series is unique on nearly all fronts; from the Paris setting to the unusually brilliant ‘monsters’ Plum has created. I don’t want to give too much away about what Vincent is, because Kate’s journey to his ‘reveal’ is a twisted guessing-game with a fantastically surprising conclusion. Save to say, the hints are all there in the series title. Revenant literally means ‘returning’ or ‘to come back’, and refers to the folklore of reanimated corpses. But Plum has written an entirely invigorating tale of the old zombie myth – there are no lumbering brain-eaters in sight. Instead, Plum has made her ghostly zombies into martyred superheroes with wretched pasts and even more tragic purposes in life.

To some extent I loved the world-building more than I enjoyed the characters of Kate and Vincent. They are fairly typical protagonists of their genre. Vincent is suitably suave and gentlemanly; he is thoroughly romantic and somewhat tepid in his idyllic boyfriend persona. Kate is likewise a typical heroine of the genre – innocent and sweet, quickly loyal and self-deprecating. There’s nothing really new in these protagonists – except that Plum makes the interesting decision to examine and scrutinize Vincent’s obsessive love.

I find it quite disturbing that in most YA paranormal romances there is a dark and sombre werewolf/vampire/angel boyfriend who happily stalks and lashes attentions on the girl of his dreams. And of course the girl of his affections is flattered, not disturbed, by this boy’s intense longing (see: Edward standing at the foot of Bella’s bed, watching her sleep). Well, in ‘Die For Me’ Plum has imbued Kate with a keener sense of self-preservation. There are quite a few times when Kate points out Vincent’s obsessive longing, when she queries his unhealthy fascination in her and is wary of his attentions. And Plum addresses Vincent’s almost unhealthy longing – she calls him on it, and forces an explanation rather than happy compliance of his stalkerish ways.

‘Die For Me’ is also invigoratingly unique for its Paris setting. It’s quite an exotic destination for a YA series to be set – and I applaud the fact that Plum writes Paris with easy familiarity, and makes a character of the city rather than just use the glitzy setting as a gimmick. You can tell that Plum has lived in the city of love for at least some of her life – she references little-known destinations, like Rue Oberkampf, and doesn’t go for the obvious (like the Catacombs) when writing big, dramatic scenes.

The book also has an interesting cachet of secondary characters, whom I hope to get to know better throughout the series. Vincent lives with other revenants like himself; beautiful and tragic people with fascinating backgrounds and plenty of room for expansive characters-arcs. There’s Jules, Ambrose, Charlotte, Charles, Gaspard and Jean-Baptiste. Amy Plum sets up quite a few interesting character asides for a few of these players – like Charlotte and Ambrose. Conceivably, this series could change narrators with each book and focus on a new Revenant protagonist and their HEA. I'm not sure if that’s Plum’s intention . . . certainly there’s more to explore with Kate and Vincent, but to some extent their story could end with ‘Die For Me’ and we could happily move on to a new character-arc. Either way, I'm definitely in this series for the long-haul, whoever may be narrating.

Plum has written a fancifully luscious paranormal romance in ‘Die For Me’. With a gorgeous Parisian backdrop, Plum winds a unique and tragic zombie mythology with a beautifully complicated romance. This series has such a wide-scope, it could go in many different directions – and I, for one, cannot wait to read more of Plum’s deliciously decadent ‘Revenants’ series in 2012.

5/5

5 comments:

  1. Eep! everyone;s loving this one. i am absolutely going to have to pick it up (despite it not being my preferred genre)

    LOVE the review ~ amazing!

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  2. I've never even heard of this book, but it sounds great. Your review has me wanting to go out and get a copy right now.

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  3. A wonderful review! I will definitely be adding this book to my TBR pile.

    http://obsessionwithbooks.blogspot.com

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  4. Great review. I just picked up J.R. Ward's "Dark Lover", my first paranormal since Twlight. Going to be keeping an eye out for Amy Plum!

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