Friday, September 9, 2011

Book Review: Die For Me, by Amy Plum (Seventh Book in the 2011 Speculative Fiction Challenge)

ThIs is my seventh review for the
'Speculative Fiction Challenge, 2011'
hosted by Magemanda at Floor to Ceiling Books.
It started in January, and runs through December.

Title: Die For Me
Author: Amy Plum
Format: Hardcover, 341 pages
Publisher: HarperTeen
Release Date: May 10, 2011
Genre: YA Paranormal Romance
Awards: Voted to the "Summer 2011 Indie Next List", Romance Times top pick for May, 2011

One of the first things that drew me to this book was the beautiful cover.  Next was the setting -- Paris!  I've always wanted to visit that city, and haven't been able to...  It's the quintessentially romantic city, with its beautiful architecture, quaint streets and restaurants, and, of course, the richly flowing tones of the French language....

So off to Paris I went, in my imagination, aided by memories of photos in my French high school books, and a couple of foreign films here and there!

True to its setting, Die For Me is tres romantique (very romantic)!  While I did find some echoes of Stephenie Meyer's Twilight in the relationship between Vincent and Kate, the book's plot is original, as well as suspenseful, enough that I really didn't mind.  Anyway, what I found similar was Vincent's tenderness and adoration for Kate, as well as her admiration for Vincent, and breathless giddiness whenever she was with him.  Isn't this the case with all true lovers?  I for one certainly can't get enough of this! 

Kate and her sister, Georgia, move from Brooklyn to Paris after their parents' sudden death in a freak car accident.  They have decided to live with their French grandparents, in Paris, where they hope to be able to come to terms with their painful memories.  So they start their summer in the lovely French city, to which they have no trouble adjusting, because they're both fluent in French.

Being temperamentally different, they go about their grieving process in very different ways.  Georgia, the more extroverted of the two, immerses herself in the non-stop night life, flitting from party to party, and meeting as many boys as she can, although she doesn't become serious about any of them.  Kate busies herself with classic novels, such as To Kill A Mockingbird and The Age of Innocence, which she loves to read in cafes.  She also frequents art museums, becoming entranced by the works of revered masters.  Oh, I envy this girl...for Paris is not just a romantic city in the sense of being a perfect place for lovers.  It's also romantic in the sense that it's full of aesthetic and intellectual wonders to delight the mind and the senses!

it's in her favorite reading place, the Cafe Saint-Lucie, that Kate first notices  Vincent.  He's with two other boys, and all three are, as she describes them, "...young and beautiful and glowing with the kind of charisma that justified the fact that every woman in the place was under their spell."  Kate looked up from her reading, to find that he was staring at her.  Beautiful, beautiful Vincent...  In her words: "He was breathtaking, with longish black hair waving up and back from a broad forehead."  Her heart flutters suddenly, and they can't stop staring at each other...sigh... Yes, I know, I've read this kind of thing before, with different wording, but essentially the same.  But that's romance.  It always seizes one, catches one unawares.  it's the most wonderful, exciting feeling in the world, and I never get tired of reading about it!  C'est merveilleux (it's wonderful)!!

One strange night, Kate and Georgia, unable to sleep, take a stroll in their neighborhood, and see an unusual sight by the river's banks -- Vincent saving a young girl from drowning, while a sword fight is going on under a bridge spanning the river. 

Thus it is that Kate is introduced to Vincent's world, which is a highly fascinating, if a dangerous, one.  Vincent is a revenant;  in other words, a zombie.  Interesting for me, since I utterly detest zombie fiction -- at least, the kind that might remind me of "Night of the Living Dead"!  That's why I have a "zombie free zone" button near the bottom of this blog.  But,oh, Vincent is not like any of those zombies!  In fact, he's a sort of hero, for he became a revenant because he saved someone's life. 

In this novel, the revenants actually have a compulsion to save people's lives, over and over again.  They have been involved in a war for centuries, too, engaging in periodic skirmishes with evil revenants, known as the numa, who feel just as compelled to kill people, with no remorse or compassion, as the good revenants are to save them.  Kate and her sister unwittingly become involved in this war, so Georgia must also be told the truth about Vincent and his 'family'.

How the author develops this plot, keeping the suspense and the romance going, makes for some very, very addictive reading!  The two leads are just wonderful, and the other characters are very memorably drawn, as well.  I especially love Jules, Ambrose, and Charlotte, while Jean-Baptiste took some getting used to, at first.  The villains are also very convincingly evil, and the action intensifies until a very surprising, rather eerie climax resolves the conflict.  I was certainly not expecting it!

I love the way that Plum interweaves the romantic relationship with all the action.  Kate, who was at first wary of Vincent, in spite of her attraction to him, comes to love him just as deeply as he loves her.  In the midst of all the mayhem, they are always mindful of each other, always connected.  In fact, I can certainly see a movie coming....

This is another one of those novels that I want to re-read.  I want to capture not only the heady feeling of falling in love, but that of the bond shared by the members of this group of supernatural beings, one not unlike that of the Cullens in The Twilight Saga.  I didn't want this book to end so soon...  I didn't want to step out of this strange paranormal world, one that  immediately drew me in, to the point that I would have to mentally shake myself whenever I emerged from a reading session, because I was just as much a part of the mesmerizing, mysterious revenant world as Kate was...

In the words of Aprilynne Pike, #1 New York Times bestselling author of the Wings series, "I devoured this lush, mysterious romance, and it delivers a refreshingly human heroine alongside a hero truly deserving of the title."

The story continues with the next book, titled Until I Die, which will be released in May of next year.  I will be sure to get it!
So pick up a copy of this book, and dive headfirst into it.  Prepare to be totally enthralled!



  1. I love this review! I started this book a few days ago and had to put it aside (busy me). Cannot wait to pick it up again. Loved the beginning.
    Will of course review it, too :-)
    Happy Friday! Stop by my blog for a PNR ebook giveaway.
    _yay_ BookthatThing

  2. Thank you for following back, Maria! :)

    Got Die For Me in my wishlist... still waiting for it to get cheap in the secondhand market :D

    Cherry Mischievous

  3. Hi, yay!!

    Oh, I'm so glad you're enjoying it!! It's a wonderfully ROMANTIC novel, as I'm sure you'll agree!

    Happy Friday to you as well! thanks for commenting!! I'll stop by your blog ASAP!!!! : )

  4. Hi, Cherry!

    You're very welcome for the follow!!

    You know, if you buy the book on Amazon, they have third-party sellers that have lower prices. You can also try eBay. I, on the other hand, had to get it as soon as it was released! I had read about it on several blogs, as well as Goodreada and Amazon, and just couldn't wait!! (I bought it directly from Amazon.)

    Thank you so much for the comment!! : )

  5. I loved this book, too. I loved Paris, the romance, and the action. Plus the guys were really good guys. Can't wait for the next book.

  6. 5 stars? I should probably get around to reading this one! I read the first few pages a few months back but they didn't really grab me and I was sceptical about the Parisian setting. (I have been there and while it's nice, it's more international than really being French and it's just generally a busy city. (And yes, considering the fact that I have lived in a small French town, and my parents still do, I am in a position to comment. ;) )

    That said, it sounds like an original twist on zombie lore, so I'd be interested to see where it's going to go with it!

  7. Hi, Rea!

    Oh, you should DEFINITELY read this novel!!! It's breathtaking!! And so romantic!! In fact, this is one of my favorite books of 2011, the other one being "Winter's Shadow". And let me tell you, I don't usually read any books dealing with zombies. I totally DETEST these creatures!! But the 'zombies' in this book (the author calls them 'revenants' instead) are not the creepy-looking, mindless, flesh-eating kind. Not at all! They look like normal, living people. This author has given zombie lore a new twist, one that I can actually stomach! Lol.

    I highly recommend this book!! I found it to be highly addictive -- in fact, just as addictive as The Twilight Saga!!

    I've never been to Paris, myself. I'd LOVE to go there!! So I didn't find anything to object to, in Plum's depiction of the city and its daily life. Even if I had, though, I would still love this book!!!!

    Thanks for commenting!! : )

  8. Hey there! Thanks for your comment on my blog too. And I'm sorry for getting the title of this book wrong in my other comment - I think my brain switched off for a time! lol.

    I'll get around to reading this book as soon as I can. :) After a read focused on the reality of being part of the lower classes, I rather feel like moving on to a bit of fluff next! I noticed the big image of Winter's Shadow on your side bar ;) the front cover isn't one that would draw me in, but I'm always willing to give a book a shot! =D Just like you, I'm not that keen on zombies right now. I recently read The Forest of Hands and Teeth and I hated it and it's really put me off zombie books. Then again, it wasn't the zombies that I objected to, but the selfishness of the protagonist.

    I don't like Twilight :p but I do have other books that I'm addicted to in a similiar way to how others are addicted to Twilight. But I will definitely read this one when my readin schedule allows! :)

    Paris is very nice, very historical! It's definitely worth visiting once, if you can... but then you also need to visit other, more "French" towns or cities too. I was there a year ago exactly and it snowed the whole time I was there. It was breath-taking!! I hope you get to go there one day! :)

  9. Hi, Rea!

    Hey, you didn't get the title of the book wrong in your previous comment, so don't worry!

    How interesting that you don't like the cover of "Winter's Shadoww". That's the first thing that hooked me on this book! Lol. That just goes to show how different readers' tastes can be. Same thing with Twilight. I don't think I've found any lukewarm reactions to the books, from what I've seen on Goodreads and on the blogosphere. You either love or hate them! And if you love them, as I do, your love for them becomes an obsession! (BTW, "Breaking Dawn, Part I" has grossed over $500 mil worldwide.)

    But on to Paris! I studied French in high school and college (I've forgotten most of it, though, sad to say...), and became fascinated with the culture, as well as the art and literature! I would love, love, love to go to that city!! I'd get such a thrill if I were to actually visit Notre Dame Cathedral!!! Of course, I would love to visit French towns, too! The French countryside is GORGEOUS, as I know from great artists like Camille Pissarro and Paul Cezanne!

    You're so lucky you've been Paris...sigh... I don't know if I'll EVER be able to go there...

    Thanks for commenting back!! : )

  10. I really enjoyed this book. The concept was so unique. This was definitely one of those books that I just couldn't put down. I couldn't agree more with your review.

  11. I heard a lot about this book, but haven't read it yet. Great review! And five stars and the Paris scene? I'm convinced. Thanks.

  12. Hi, Damarys!

    Oh, you've GOT to read it!! It's a FANTASTIC one!! Thanks for the compliment on my review!!!! Music to my ears!!

    Yeah, I gave it FIVE stars because it was just SO wonderful!! I know you'll enjoy reading it, too. I wish I could go to Paris and stay for at least TWO weeks.....I've never been there....

    Thanks for participating in my giveaway, and commenting on this review!!!!

  13. Hi :)
    I read this one and I like it. I adore Paris and Paranormal. Buut, I hate when the romance is too cut and dry. The "love at first sight/I'll adore you forever" bit gets really old really fast.
    Thanks for your review :)

  14. Hi, Celeste!

    Oh, I LOVE this book!! Glad you liked it, too, and I agree -- the combination fo Paris and the paranormal is just great!!

    I also agree that the "love at first sight" can "get old" pretty fast!

    You're very welcome for the review, and thanks for the comment!! : )

  15. Hi, Celeste!

    Oh, I LOVE this book!! Glad you liked it, too, and I agree -- the combination fo Paris and the paranormal is just great!!

    As for the "love at first sight" thing, I'm a die-hard romantic, so I never get tired of

    You're very welcome for the review, and thanks for the comment!! : )


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