Title/Author: Die for Me by Amy Plum
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy/Urban Fantasy, Paranormal, Romance
Published: May 5th, 2011 by HarperTeen
Hardcover, 341 pages
How I Got This Book: Checked it out from my library
Why I Picked It Up?: Well, there was an author event with Ms. Plum at one of my cities libraries and I was deciding if I wanted to go and get a book signed or not, so I picked up her first book.
Book Jacket Blurb: “In the City of Lights, two star-crossed lovers battle a fate that is destined to tear them apart again and again for eternity.
When Kate Mercier’s parents die in a tragic car accident, she leaves her life–and memories–behind to live with her grandparents in Paris. For Kate, the only way to survive her pain is escaping into the world of books and Parisian art. Until she meets Vincent.
Mysterious, charming, and devastatingly handsome, Vincent threatens to melt the ice around Kate’s guarded heart with just his smile. As she begins to fall in love with Vincent, Kate discovers that he’s a revenant–an undead being whose fate forces him to sacrifice himself over and over again to save the lives of others. Vincent and those like him are bound in a centuries-old war against a group of evil revenants who exist only to murder and betray. Kate soon realizes that if she follows her heart, she may never be safe again.”
My Review of the Work:
A fair and friendly warning to you, my readers. This will be my most mixed-up review to date. Why? Because this book took me on a roller coaster ride, and not the good emotional kind. More like a “Okay, this is intriguing–wait what the heck was that–ummm is this serious?–what was she thinking?–Where is the logic?!–this is less than stellar writing!–Umm I think I maybe liked the story” kind of ride.
Yeah, I told you I was all mixed up.
I took a pretty long break between when I finished this novel and when I wrote this review because my notes while reading this review were mostly not pleasant, and I didn’t want to post such an emotionally fueled review before I had time to process everything that this novel offers (or doesn’t offer). So, while I will express a lot of negative thoughts, I can now do so without using ALL CAPS AHHHH kind of sentences. So here we go.
I read the first 100 pages of this novel with relative enjoyment–Plum sets up some interesting character back stories with an intriguing paranormal premise. From the get-go you feel very sympathetic towards Kate, who has recently lost both of her parents and had to move with her sister to Paris to live with her grandparents. While Georgia deals with her grief by going out every night, Kate curls up inside of herself, typically with a book. While sitting at a coffee shop, she spots a table full of rather attractive boys who are looking her way. One day, one of these boys saves her life, and she is thrown into a secret world full of modern-day guardian angels. Revenants. And the rather attractive boy named Vincent becomes someone that Kate just can’t get enough of or walk away from.
Unfortunately, some time after page 100, I began noticing different elements of this novel that just didn’t sit right with me. And the further I read, the more annoyed I became. How could such an interesting story begin to annoy me so quickly?! (Here comes the negative part)
The mythology of the Revenants– I, for one, am still really intrigued by this idea of guardian angels. Plum creates a moderately-developed history behind this “secret spiritual world.” But there is no connection to Christianity?! This might not annoy people, but I just feel like if you are going to design a mythology that OBVIOUSLY resembles the relationship between Jesus and Judas (Savior vs. Betrayer), then you should probably tie your mythology to the religion from which it is derived. But there is no mention of Jesus or Judas despite the fact that the Revenants mythology and history IS the relationship between Jesus and Judas. I have a hard time believing in this paranormal/urban fantasy because it neglects such a big part of culture, as if it is not even there. I’m sorry, Christianity exists, and if they mythology you are creating uses OBVIOUS connections to it, you should probably mention that.
Language inconsistencies–As Kate’s grandparents are French, Kate and Georgia have both grown up speaking English and French. This novel takes place in Paris, where the predominant language is French. But my question is…When are they speaking french and when are they speaking English? In some scenes, Plum specifically answers this question, and notates if the language switches from English to French/French to English. But she does not do this every time (which I wouldn’t expect anyway, because that would be SUPER annoying). I understood that sometimes a clarification was needed, but there would be some sentences where the text would say “Kate said in French” halfway through a conversation with Vincent. Is that needed? Does that mean that the rest of the conversation was in English? But you just told a page ago that they speak in French around Jules because he is originally from France. This is unnecessary confusion for the readers.
Logic Problems–Kate stays out all night, and her grandparents and sister don’t say ANYTHING? I mean, sure, someone texted them saying that she was “staying at a friend’s for the night…” but RED FLAG family, since when does Kate have friends she would stay the night with?! She has been a recluse! Great parenting/sistering. There are many other instances like this, especially regarding Kate’s grandparents. Maybe in Paris it is normal for sixteen-year-old girls to walk around the city at any time, day or night, without checking in with their guardians? I’m not sure. But the logic behind the parenting coming from the grandparents is NOT present!
Awkward Descriptions– “The waves lapped loudly against the base of the wall, their sound mounting to a crashing crescendo when boats motored by. I closed my eyes and let the tranquillity of the place flow through me.” –pg 120
I’m sorry, but how does “lapped loudly” and “crashing crescendo” describe a place of “tranquillity”? Hello?! Tranquil = babbling brook, not a crashing crescendo of loud waves.
Unfortunately, there are A TON of awkward and weird descriptions in this novel such as the one above. These also lead to the logic problems I mentioned.
Bad Bad-guy name– I am trying very hard to take this novel seriously. But when you name your “bad guys” numa, all I can think of is the guy dancing to Numa Numa on Youtube.
And seriousness = out the window.
In case you needed a reference 😉
Unbalanced Character Development– I stand by what I said up front. The beginning of this novel lends its way to some pretty-okay character development. Readers gain an introspection with Kate and feel for her. And Vincent is this mysterious man who you just want to get to know. But then when they get together, their dialogue becomes forced and cliched. Kate and Vincent conversations become bland and boring, and character development goes out the window. I feel like Plum spends more time and effort developing Jules, whom I absolutely LOVE, and Kate’s sister Georgia than she does her two MCs, which I found to be an unfortunate problem.
So why did I finish this book?
In spite of all of the negativity I discovered in the middle of this novel, I still found the overall story to be intriguing. But I honestly finished this book because I wanted to see if it got any worse as the story progressed. Then, I had a change of attitude. I said to myself, “Self, just think of this book as another Twilight, a book you picked up not for the content or the quality, but for an entertaining story.” SO that is what I did. I read the last 150 pages with this in mind, and I have to admit I liked the story. I enjoyed how the plot developed, how the Revenants were fighting their evil Numa counterparts, and how every element interacted and intertwined with the other elements.
After all of this negativity, I still wouldn’t say that this book isn’t worth reading. I now know that, at least for me, this is a series that I will probably continue to read on the basis that I will not be reading this because of the QUALITY of the story (because, let’s face it, there are more well-written stories out there I could read instead) but rather for the entertainment factor, which allowed me to like the story in the end.
My Bookshelf Rating:
A Second Shelf Book.
Going into this novel, I think I expected something…idk, better? While the plot was intriguing enough, I found the style of writing to be bland and even awkward in some places. There were some logic problems with the storyline, and the main characters to me were not anything special. However, once I understood that this work is more entertainment than quality entertainment, I actually enjoyed the story more. I will probably pick up the sequel now that I know that this series is kind of a Twilight for me (sorry Twilight fans).
Love and Dandelions,