Merary's Reviews > Dead Beautiful

Dead Beautiful by Yvonne Woon
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** spoiler alert ** When the title of the book (a very cheesy one at that!) reveals pretty much the major plot of the story, it pretty much means that you are unable to produce unpredictable and alluring stories. It kind of reminds me of Francine Pascal's Sweet Valley High edition #112: Jessica Quits the Squad. Guess what happened at the end of the book?
That wasn't my only problem. Oh, ho ho no. I really hate to say this, but, I found a lot of Twilight similarities in this one. Yeah. I know. The whole "paranormal novels imitating Twilight" sounded absurd to me at first, but Dead Beautiful actually confirms it.
Wha? Don't believe me? I'll show you some examples from both books separately:

From Dead Beautiful:

"It's milkweed butterfly, by the way."
"How . . . how did you know that? You didn't even look . . ."
But he didn't respond. And after confirming that it was, in fact, a milkweed butterfly, I turned to him, frustrated.
pg. 107


She described Dante Berlin's (the love interest) voice as velvety at page 246.

"And what have you concluded?"
"A mutant. A rare disease. A creature from the inferno. Dante."
"And what if you found out you were right?" he asked. "What if meant that I could hurt you?"
"I would say that I'm not scared."
pg. 322


"I tried to stay away from you," Dante said. "The beginning of the year. I kept my distance because I didn't want to put you in danger." pg. 370


"How old are you?" I asked, leaning against the trunk of a giant oak.
Dante played with a lock of my hair. "Seventeen."
I looked up at him. "How old are you really?"
pg. 385


From Twilight (Note: Couldn't find the actual book quotes, instead, I used the movie quotes. Even though it's pretty much the same. In some cases, number of page is included):

[Bella pushes microscope towards Edward]
Isabella Swan: Uh, prophase.
Edward Cullen: Do you mind if I uh, look?
[Bella shakes her head]
Edward Cullen: It's prophase.
Isabella Swan: Like I said.


Please! Bella Swan always reminds you how velvety is Edward Cullen's voice in pretty much the majority of the book!

Bella: OK, well let's say for argument's sake that I'm not smart... Would you tell me the truth?
Edward: No, probably not... I'd rather hear your theories.
Bella: I have considered radioactive spiders and kryptonite.
Edward: That's all superhero stuff, right? What if I'm not the hero? What if I'm... the bad guy?
Chapter 5, p.92

And from another scene . . .
Bella: I'm not scared of you.


In a part on New Moon Edward Cullen told Bella that he left--stood away from her!--for her safety.

Bella: How old are you?
Edward: Seventeen.
Bella: How long have you been seventeen?


Maybe there were more examples, but these were only ones I could come off with. Perhaps I'm exaggerating this. Or perhaps not. Tell me what you think.

When I noticed the plot, I noticed this very common words in pretty much most YA paranormal romance novels: inexplicably drawn to. Hmmm. Very fishy. Why do they feel suddenly inexplicably drawn to the hero? Hmm? Why do the authors feel the need to activate "Insta-love" to the main characters? Whatever happened to romantic development? I will never know . . .

Another thing that bothered me: Renée Winters is a complete idiot. Even though it is reminded several times that she's named after René Descartes (who was, in fact, a real person. And by the way, the so called book mentioned in this book, The Seventh Meditation, is actually a reference to Descartes actual book Meditations on First Philosophy which is actually made up of of six meditations. Or maybe not. Correct me if I'm wrong), she doesn't think logically and she's just plain stupid. And also quite desperate when it comes to love.

1. She pretends to not know the answers to a Latin test so she could spend more time studying with Dante.
2. She is too stupid to realize that she has a boyfriend that cares about her back at her old hometown, and, here she is, lusting after Dante.
3.According to her, she has never been in love until Dante came into her life. Oh, hey! What happened to Wes, your supposed boyfriend?
4.She thinks her and Dante are dating, even though that wasn't discussed between them at that point.
5. Already wondering if Dante loves her even though they met only for a weeks. (view spoiler)
6. Thinks small "flaws" like blemishes, scars, and big ears will drive Dante away.
7. She is self-absorbed. Check this quote from her:

"Who dislikes me?" I said forcefully. I was a nice, considerate person. Why would anyone dislike me?


Hey, Renée! Even if you are "nice" as you put it, not everybody is going to like you (especially myself at this moment). It's called life. Get used to it, bitch.
8. Renée is like Dora the Fucking Explorer. Like Clea Raymond on the Elixir series, she questions every single thing. Her favorites are questions that begin with "Why?" WHY?

I could go on and on, really. But enough is enough.
She's not the only idiot in the story. Pretty much everyone is stupid!!
When questioned, they only answer with "I don't know". They don't think and reflect at least once.
UUUGH.

Now, let's talk about the "important" part of the story: Renée and Dante's relationship. First off, I felt the romance a little bit rushed and with no passion. And no, kissing without touching their lips does not count! They had no chemistry and their love was mainly superficial. Renée always talks about how hot he is, for Pete's sake! She thinks he is perfect. Yawn. Oddly enough, she said this about him:

I realized that everything that was wrong with him was right. His solitude, his callous reticence, his unpredictability--it only drew me closer--his flaws making all the more real. pg. 149


Bitch you just said before that he was flawless and perfect! And besides, the flaws you mentioned aren't exactly flaws! Solicitude means the care or concern for someone or something. Callous reticence? Callous basically means insensitive and cruel. Reticence is about someone that doesn't speak freely. So, he expresses his cruelty by not speaking freely? Huh? Interesting. And unpredictability is about someone who is, you know, unpredictable. Can you explain how are these flaws again?
Not everything is paradise for them, though. When Renée discovers Dante's secret (view spoiler), she gets all mad, and blames everything on him!!

But it was his fault, I reassured myself. He did provoke me. If he hadn't been dead, and if he hadn't kept it from me, we never would have been in this situation. pg. 372


Isn't she charming?

Another thing that bothered me about them was that they were way too co-dependent of each other. Especially Renée towards Dante. The codependency is so strong that Renée expressed that she can't live without Dante three times. In less than 2 pages.

My stomach felt hollow as I imagined my life without Dante. pg. 436/437


". . . And I'd rather face death than live without you." pg. 437


"I'm not afraid of death," I said, looking at Dante. And this time I knew it was true. "I'm afraid of life without you." pg. 437


I think it was meant to be romantic, but . . . I never felt that. All I felt was desperation and clinginess.
And what about Renée's friends? I don't remember them and I don't care. (view spoiler)

And the writing. Gosh, too much telling instead of showing! And some sentences were constructed awkwardly. It wasn't mediocre, though. It was just . . . ordinary.

Now that all the bad was divided, I'm going to tell you the good parts.
Things finally get interesting after the end of Chapter 10 (like about page 290). You know that gut feeling when something exciting is about to occur in a book? I definitely felt that. :)
I have a confession. Even though Yvonne Woon isn't very good at keeping things unpredictable, she is very good at foreshadowing and symbolism. (view spoiler) That's pretty much on Chapter 10.
My favorite character was Headmistress Van Laark. She was very smart and cool. (view spoiler)

There were things that I didn't see coming. (view spoiler)

The ending was kind of weird. (view spoiler)

And I'm done.

Is this book recommendable? If you like zombies, cheesy romance, big books, and an original take on the genre, then yes. If not, well you know the drill. :)
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Comments (showing 1-7 of 7) (7 new)

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message 1: by Alex (new)

Alex Ha! Both Sweet Valley and Baby-sitters Club did a terrible job at being suspenseful when their titles gave it all away. Besides the one you mentioned (where Jessica quits on literally the last page), I always enjoyed "Welcome Back, Stacey!" from Baby-sitters Club. The entire premise of the book is "Will Stacey stay in New York or go back to Connecticut?" Well with a title like that - gee, I wonder. And if the title didn't give it away, the blurb on the front is "She's back for good!"

Oh, and I ran across this teaser for a Sweet Valley Kids book once and always thought it was hilarious:

Will Jessica and Elizabeth have to go to the hospital? Find out in Sweet Valley Kids #20, The Twins Go to the Hospital


Merary Alex wrote: "Ha! Both Sweet Valley and Baby-sitters Club did a terrible job at being suspenseful when their titles gave it all away. Besides the one you mentioned (where Jessica quits on literally the last page..."

The last one made me. XDD Oh! And I remember this edition from the Sweet Valley High series (edition #12: When Love Dies) where Steven's girlfriend starts ignoring him. If the title itself or the simply fact that Tricia Martin looked sick and pale on the cover didn't give the plot away (she's going to die!), then I don't know what did.


Lizzie Wirtz You're mental. Why the hell would you write such a detailed review if you supposedly hated it soooooo much?


Merary Lizzie wrote: "You're mental. Why the hell would you write such a detailed review if you supposedly hated it soooooo much?"

Mental? Me?
Why, YES, I AM!


(Who said I hated it? I actually praised some parts of it at the end. You should pay more attention when you read next time. ;) *giggles* )


message 5: by Melanie (new)

Melanie Segalla I have a friend who put this book on her to read shelf so I came to look at it and read your review. I have to say I laughed through the whole thing because I felt such a connection with this quality of becoming infuriated by terrible writing/plot! I bet we would have hilarious book discussions. For an outstanding fantasy romance, read Daughter of the Forest. Trust me, it is incredible. Loved your review :)


message 6: by [deleted user] (new)

I'm extremely curious to read this now. Yes, I understand that you said the book isn't that good, but that's what makes me want to read it. Also, I find a lot of YA rip off the Twilight Saga and I'm making a mental list.


Crystal Starr Light I think it's this quote that tells me the book isn't for me:

"I tried to stay away from you," Dante said. "The beginning of the year. I kept my distance because I didn't want to put you in danger."

I am SO TIRED of this! I think I've read about 80 bajillion YA books where the Disposable Boy says that!


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