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Jonas by Eden Maguire
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's review
May 06, 2010

really liked it

Title: Beautiful Dead

Author: Eden Maguire

Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire

This book made me completely and utterly stumped as to how to rate it. I had seen it in stores, and loved the premise and cover, but never picked it up. When I got offered an ARC from teensreadtoo, I jumped on the chance. And I still can't figure it out. On one hand, it wasn't amazing, and has first-novel-in-series syndrome, on the was fun and slightly dark and cool to read.

Eden Maguire introduces us to our protagonist, Darina, who is dealing with the deaths of four students from her high school within the past year; Jonas, Arizona, Summer, and Phoenix. The last one hit home, Phoenix being her boyfriend of two months. But, in Darina's depressed state, she thinks she sees Phoenix alive, so she follows him...And discovers the world of the Beautiful Dead.

The Beautiful Dead is actually the four students, along with four other people, that have died within the past year. At the head is a man named Michael, who is cold and distant to Darina. They try to control her mind and make her forget, but her love for Phoenix is too strong, so she makes a deal. In order to retain knowledge of their little zombie state, she has to help each on of them take care of unfinished business so they pass on.

And so the story unfolds. We are met first with Jonas, who died when he crashed his motorcycle, severely wounding his girlfriend, and a former friend of Darina's, Zoey. Darina begins to delve into the mystery, all the while trying to cope with only seeing Phoenix in small time frames, and dealing with some other not-so-nice townsfolk.

The first half of the book did not impress like I thought it would. There was an info dump (which was a one time thing, thankfully) and the romance between Darina and Phoenix was already established, so it kinda felt flat. The only concept I found new in their love was that both people were equally devoted, and while it had Twilight-shadowing, Phoenix is never abusive or cruel or monstrous. He still shows love and affection like a normal teenager who is entrapped by the bindings of true amour. The characters were pretty good, but nothing spectacular. And the plot was interesting, if ripping off Ghost Whisperer.

It was somewhere around a certain plot revelation that the story began to speed up, and change for the better. Darina was a nice character, but Zoey really had my attention. She wasn't too amazing as a character, but she was interesting, and I loved reading about her lost love with Jonas. It appealed to my romantic side quite well. And it was near tear inducing despite the cliche of the situation. I also enjoyed the mythos added to the book involving the Beautiful Dead - they become slightly darker and troubled. And that really sets it apart from the light paranormals we see. This book deals with death. With people dying. And it doesn't shy away from it. Which is cool, and welcomed, especially among the almost too happy paranormal books we see today.

Overall, it was a pretty good book. The writing was good, and the plot elements were cool despite being a little contrived. The characters were just enough to keep me going, though the myth and the romance could use with a good expanding and fleshing out along the way. Maguire has an interesting series starter, and while it wasn't anything spectacular, it appealed to my romantic side and my love of paranormal stories. Needless to say, I will be picking up book two, because its an enjoyable paranormal series despite some flaws that come with the territory. And I enjoy the covers. They are cool and gothic, while at the same time not too insane. :) But that's just another reason I'll keep reading.

A side note: Maguire talks about influences involving Wuthering Heights, and I can really see it well. I think some of it is a little shallow for teen readers, but it's an interesting perspective, and fits with the book's darker atmosphere.

Rating: Four Stars

Copy: Received for Review from TeensReadToo and Sourcebooks Fire (Thankies to both)

Book review provided by Dreaming in Books.
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Javiera Can u help me I don't know what to press to read this book

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