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Review: Die for Me

June 20, 2011

Title: Die for Me
Author: Amy Plum
Publisher: HarperTeen
Pages: 341
Release Date: May 10, 2011
Format: eGalley via NetGalley (Thank you!!)

In the City of Lights, two star-crossed lovers battle a fate that is destined to tear them apart again and again for eternity.

When Kate Mercier’s parents die in a tragic car accident, she leaves her life—and memories—behind to live with her grandparents in Paris. For Kate, the only way to survive her pain is escaping into the world of books and Parisian art. Until she meets Vincent.

Mysterious, charming, and devastatingly handsome, Vincent threatens to melt the ice around Kate’s guarded heart with just his smile. As she begins to fall in love with Vincent, Kate discovers that he’s a revenant—an undead being whose fate forces him to sacrifice himself over and over again to save the lives of others. Vincent and those like him are bound in a centuries-old war against a group of evil revenants who exist only to murder and betray. Kate soon realizes that if she follows her heart, she may never be safe again.—Goodreads

Everything about this book is romantic: the setting (Paris), the boy (Vincent), and even the concept of revenants (people who died saving someone else and now spend their undead lives continually saving other people) is deeply, desperately romantic.

Unfortunately, I’m not a very romantic kind of girl.

While author Amy Plum does a fantastic job of setting scenes and tone—so much so that I was sitting there thinking OMG SEND ME TO PARIS NOW NOW NOW (There’s a scene involving a tarte tatin that had me looking up the nearest French patisserie/boulangerie to me. Thank God I live in NYC.)—I wasn’t really in love with her characters. The main character, Kate, is a bit of an emotional mess. It makes sense—girl lost both of her parents and then was whisked away to Paris to live with her grandparents—but she honestly spends the majority of the book crying, and not just because she is grieving her parents. I really tried to be sympathetic. I even tried being empathetic. Neither worked. I mostly just wanted to shake her and tell her to stop crying. (Lesson of the day: I am a heartless bitch.)

The love interest in the story, Vincent, isn’t much better. Yes, he’s romantic, and yes, he’s all kinds of paranormal-sexy, and really sweet to Kate, but the instalove is super intense. Like. Twilight intense. And he does that Edward Cullen thing where instead of letting Kate into his life and explaining the dark, complicated parts to her, Vincent tries to keep her on the outside because that is “going to protect her.” That got on my nerves too.

But! Not everything about this book annoyed me! There are three things I really enjoyed, other than the Parisian setting:

1. I really loved Kate’s relationship with her sister, Georgia. Although Georgia isn’t necessarily in the book all that much, her scenes brought a much needed life and energy and sisterly understanding/handling of Kate to the story.

2. Ambrose. He’s another minor character, but…he’s Southern! So I like him on principle.

3. There is a whole bunch of fencing in this book. FENCING!!!

Overall, I wish this book had had less crying, more fencing, and had allowed a little more time for the relationship between Kate and Vincent to grow. Plum obviously has the writing chops and ability to create intriguing, richly detailed, beautiful stories and I loved reading her descriptions of Paris (and the desserts.). I just wish I had loved the characters as much as I loved the setting.

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