Rummanah Aasi
  I've been anticipating reading Amy Plum's debut novel Die for Me ever since I've heard the book's early buzz about being a paranormal romance unlike anything I've read before. Once the book was released, I've read mixed reviews, ranging from glowing to "meh" reviews. Small Reviews has a terrific book comparison for Die for Me that I found incredibly useful where she breaks down the book's structure and provides links to the various reviews. Curiosity got the best of me and I decided to take the plunge and read the book. 

Description: After their parents are killed in a car accident, Kate Mercier and her older sister Georgia  move to Paris to live with their grandparents. While Georgia tries to be social and overcome her grief, Kate keeps to herself and finds solace by escaping into the world of books and Parisian art. Sitting at her favorite cafe, Kate meets and finds herself powerfully drawn to the handsome but elusive Vincent who seems to harbor a mysterious and dangerous secret. Kate is not sure if she is willing to be hurt once again but can Vincent melt her heart and make her feel again?

Review: I read Die for Me over the summer and I still find it hard to express my reading experience. If I could describe the book in one word, it would be: peculiar. I didn't really have any strong feelings for Die for Me so I'm going to focus on what worked for me and what didn't.
  I really enjoyed reading the book's setting. Paris is an incredible city that I was very lucky to travel to some years ago. Plum's descriptions about the city and culture brought back pleasurable memories of my trip. I can clearly picture the cafes and the streets of the city where the characters interacted on a daily basis. It was definitely refreshing to get away from the stagnant high school setting that usually takes place in a paranormal romance.
   In terms of the book's structure and writing, I felt the book's writing wasn't overly descriptive nor were there too many repetitive phrases or passages. It had the right balance of imagery and simple prose allowing for the plot to unfold in a relatively quick pace. We are given hints of unusual activities that are happening around Kate that draws us into the story, particularly when we are introduced to Vincent. I kept trying to figure out why strange events were happening and what is Vincent's real identity.
  While I had no trouble with the book's writing style and structure, I couldn't stomach the odd mythology and the characters. Before reading Die for Me, I never heard of revenants before. Is it a zombie, an angel, or a ghost? Well, it's a unique combination of three in the case of Plum's series. I had a really hard time wrapping my head around this idea because each of these well known paranormal/supernatural entities are so distinct in my mind and really had no connection to each other. It was as if the author had hand picked what she liked about each entity and combined them all in one. There was just too many things going on at the same time. After learning the bizarre rules of Vincent's species, especially being "reanimated", keeping a watchful eye on Kate, and discovering the species's purpose, I found it hard to warm up to his kind. I hate to sound superficial, but they really, really creeped me out.
  Due to my aversion to Vincent's species and his stalker like behavior, I didn't really feel any chemistry between him and Kate. Every time they got together, I couldn't help but think "Eww, how is that romantic?" Their attraction is instant and they are obviously drawn together for some reason, which not unlike many books in this genre, and I have a few guesses as to why. I just couldn't connect to either characters. Kate is very plain. We really don't know much about her besides her love of reading classic novels and that she doesn't find herself pretty while everyone else does. She doesn't stand out and her identity is really overshadowed by her relationship with Vincent. I was glad to find that she was a bit reluctant to have anything to do with him and his family from the start, which I thought was believable. Too bad that didn't last long. Kate does get a bit interesting towards the end, but I can't really give her credit for that since it's not really her (I'm trying to be vague in order to not give out a big spoiler). Like Kate, I thought Vincent was also pretty bland. He's your average nice guy with a mysterious past. We are given pieces to his history and get the sense that it is very painful. He tries to be chivalrous by putting Kate first, but again I couldn't overcome his bizarre behavior. 
  Die for Me has many similar characteristics to the Twilight Saga, especially where the adopted family is concerned, and it is hard to not pick them out while reading the book. Readers who enjoy the paranormal romance genre might find this book appealing and probably more forgiving than I am. I'm still up in the air about reading the next book in this series and will mostly likely wait to read reviews before making my final decision.

Rating: 3 stars

Words of Caution: There are some disturbing scenes and mild violence. Recommended for Grades 9 and up.

If you like this book try: Until I Die (Revenants #2) by Amy Plum coming soon in 2012, The Twilight Saga by Stephenie Meyer, The Eternal Ones by Kirsten Miller, Falling Under by Gwen Hayes
7 Responses
  1. Hmmmm... it sounds like with the revenants the author was trying to do something different by combined multiple supernatural entities, but it didn't really work so well. I'd prefer to keep them distinct in my mind too, so Vincent is not sounding particularly appealing to me.

    Believe me, I'm not one who wants to meet a literary crush and think "Ewww!" So yeah, I'll be skipping out on this one for now. Thanks for your honest thoughts on this one, very helpful review!

  2. Lauren M Says:

    I enjoyed Die for Me quite a bit. I really liked the unique concept of Revenants, and the romance between Vincent and Kate seemed genuine to me (though I agree that they didn't stand out much as characters). But to each her own. :) Thanks for sharing your thoughts!

  3. The insta-love is enough to turn me off, unfortunately. Honestly, it's just so prominent these days that I can barely stomach it at all anymore! I don't think this one is for me, but I appreciate how well you articulated your take on it :)

  4. Small Review Says:

    Yup, totally ewww for me too. I DNF-ed. I just kept picturing him dead, so when they kissed it was kinda gross. I also wasn't feeling either of the main characters. You described them perfectly.

  5. Great honest review! I am huge paranormal romance fan so I loved this book but I can see why people might struggle with this.

  6. Jenny Says:

    I really enjoyed this one but I think it's definitely been one of those hit or miss books for most people. It's always interesting for me to read a differing opinion, so I had fun reading your thoughts Rummanah!

  7. It's nice to find someone who feels the same way about this book as I did. I felt like the characters were pretty bland and I didn't get the attraction. Plus, Vincent was a total stalker and it felt weird. I think there is even a part where she asks him if he likes her so much because he saved her life or just because. I liked the book, but I thought it could have been done better. I had actually heard of Revenants before this, but I didn't like how Plum turned them into what she did. Excellent review, Rummanah! You hit it on the nose!

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