Vinaya's Reviews > Die for Me

Die for Me by Amy Plum
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Mar 27, 2011

really liked it
bookshelves: books-i-liked, ya-fantasy, fluff-fluffy-fluffest, surprised-me
Read on March 10, 2011

** spoiler alert ** After the double disappointment of Starcrossed and Hereafter, I almost didn’t read this book. A story about a young girl who meets a mysterious, darkly handsome stranger and falls desperately in love with him, only to discover that he is in fact a zombie? I was pretty much resigned to reading Twilight: Zombie Edition. Why not? We’ve already romanticized vampires, faeries, fallen angels and shapeshifters; wasn’t it about time the zombies had their turn? Thankfully for my jaded palate, Die for Me was nothing like I expected it to be.

Kate Mercier moves to Paris with her sister after the death of her parents. As she is trying to cope with their loss, she runs into a handsome, mysterious boy called Vincent, whom she begins to hang around with. Soon, however, inexplicable things begin to happen around Vincent, and Kate is brought to the realization that Vincent might not be entirely human after all.

The revenants aren’t zombies, exactly, although they do like to toss the term around. They are people who have died while sacrificing their life to save someone else’s. While not all such sacrifices result in the reanimation of a dead person, the people who have been chosen to become revenants are destined to spend the rest of their immortal lives saving people on the brink of death, often by sacrificing their own lives. Their death, however, is only temporary, and they rise again in three days to return to their secret lives as saviours.

Of course, where there’s good guys, there ought to be bad guys, and the villains in this story are the numa, the ‘bad’ revenants who never die, but instead spend their lives murdering people and driving them towards suicide.

It’s an interesting mythology, and fairly well-constructed. In these days, when everyone’s tripping over themselves to jump onto one paranormal bandwagon or the other, it’s nice to see a book that touches on a hitherto largely unexplored mythology. I wiki-ed revenants, of course, and I find that Plum has twisted the idea of an intelligent, re-animated corpse that returns to fulfil a particular goal, into a believable, almost-human creature.

This book is not a stunning, original work that will sweep all readers off their feet. It uses a lot of the regular YA tropes, but it’s a sweet, entertaining story that’s definitely worth a read, and ought to especially please the YA audience.

I liked both Kate and Vincent. They were charming, and troubled and importantly, very believable. And their romance gave me goosebumps, which is always a point in favour in my book! Even though Kate feels a connection with Vincent the first time she meets him, she doesn’t fall headlong into his arms. They actually go out on a date (what an original concept!), they spend a lot of time talking to each other and when she finally accepts that there’s something supernatural going on, she freaks out. When Vincent’s friend Jules seemingly dies in a subway accident while trying to save a man, Vincent takes Kate, who witnessed the whole thing, back to his house to cope with the shock. Vincent, of course, knows that Jules will be reanimated in three days, but Kate, being unaware, is so shocked by his seeming callousness towards his friend’s death that she walks out on him and refuses to see him again.

And this only one of the many instances where I found Kate to be a refreshing change from the general run of YA heroines. Despite falling hard for Vincent, she wills herself to take it slow. She is still messed up by her parents’ death, and when she finally realizes that being with Vincent may mean having to see him die over and over again, she decides that it would be safer to guard her heart, and breaks up with him. Of course, that makes her mopey and miserable and depressed, but I was willing to forgive her this, because of how they get back together. I was totally expecting her to finally decide that she couldn’t live without him and fall compliantly into his arms, but instead Vincent (not being the falsely noble sort, thank god!) decides to fight for a chance to make their relationship work. Again, unusual and interesting.

The dynamics of the relationships in this book were a huge plus point for me. Kate is pretty, and not falsely modest about it. She has a great relationship with her sister, even if they do fight. Her grandparents are very present in the story, even if they are a bit lax, by Mormon standards. Vincent, too, has a strong bond with his ‘kindred’, the other revenants. Kate slowly and steadily becomes friends with all of them, except one (which I’ll leave you to find out about in the book!). She bonds very well with Charlotte, the only female revenant in the group. What I really liked about this story was that it wasn’t all ‘Kate and Vincent all the time!’ The entire supporting cast got meaty roles and played their parts very well indeed.

Yes, this book has some clichés, including true everlasting love, teenage style, and some melodramatic moments, but all in all, I would recommend it as some very good light reading. It needs some editing work, since it has a bad case of First Line Fail, which almost made me give up (“The first time I had seen the statue in the fountain, I had no idea what Vincent was.”) but I’m glad I went on. I would definitely recommend this book.

On a side note, I noticed that several reviews compare this book to Twilight. Undoubtedly, there are parts of Die for Me that closely resemble Twilight. But somehow, it didn't read to me like a Twilight rip-off. It felt more like Amy Plum was picking up situations from Twilight and twisting them, as if to say this is how it should be done; take that, S Meyer! Maybe I am reading too much into it, but if I ever meet Amy Plum, that would be a question I would like to ask her!

NOTE: This ARC was provided to me by the publishers via Net Galley. No considerations, monetary or otherwise, influenced this review.
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Reading Progress

02/08 marked as: read

Comments (showing 1-21)

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message 21: by Tatiana (new)

Tatiana Well, the last of Harper Teen summer offerings... Will it deliver?

Vinaya Yup, it does! :) Just finishing up the review now.

message 19: by Shveta (new) - added it

Shveta Thakrar *adds to list*

message 18: by Lani (new) - rated it 5 stars

Lani Woodland Great review! My TBR pile keeps growing. :)

Vinaya Thank you Lani! :) Hey, if you meet Amy at a writer's conference or something, ask her my Twilight question, okay? I really want to know! :)

message 16: by Lani (new) - rated it 5 stars

Lani Woodland LOL okay. :)

message 15: by Lani (new) - rated it 5 stars

Lani Woodland I also love the cover!

Sandy Vinaya, Amy Plum mentions how Twilight influenced her book on the FAQ on her website:

Amy says something similar to what you mentioned above. She says she loved Twilight and was addicted, but then she writes, "I wanted a heroine who wasn’t dependent on the man she loved. Self-sacrifice is admirable up to a point, but I wanted someone who was independent and smart – not just intellectually but emotionally."

Sarai I think I'll give this one a chance just for the simple fact that the characters go out on a real date. :P

Vinaya Ah-ha! I feel vindicated! Thanks, Sandy :)

Kat Kennedy Okay, I think I'm going to have to try this one!

message 10: by Elizabeth (new) - added it

Elizabeth Fantastic review! This was already on my TBR list but I was on the fence. I am now climbing off the fence and standing steadfastly on the ground. I can't wait to read it myself. Thanks again!

message 9: by Tatiana (new)

Tatiana Have you noticed, this book's cover now looks almost exactly like Hereafter's.

Vinaya Lol, you're right! It also reminds me a little of Unearthly's Australia cover; it's like HT has a cover theme going: 'Girl in Prom Dress' Part 1: Forest, Part 2: Water, Part 3: City... Part 4 will probably be on a mountain of something!

message 7: by Tatiana (new)

Tatiana This summer's theme is probably a girl's view from behind.

Kat Kennedy Because you know, as long as you have access to her uterus, what else matters? You don't need to see the face.

*eye roll*

Okay, and putting down the Beauvoir for the night!

message 5: by Katie(babs) (new)

Katie(babs) The cover is beautiful! I have this one and hope it delivers. I take the zombies don't sparkle? lol

message 4: by Anthi (new) - added it

Anthi Well your review really convinced me you mentioned all the reasons for which I would like to try reading a YA pnr :)

Kennie is dah Name (: Batista amazing review! cant wait to read this books :D

Katherine Great review, although really wish you marked it as containing spoilers as I now know what the "big secret" in the book is and how the plot will play out. Still enjoying the book so far though, just wish I had read your review afterwards :) although it did make me take the plunge and start reading!

message 1: by Anna (new)

Anna Pravdica They go on a date!? Sold.

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