Friday, July 8, 2011

Review: Die for Me (Revenants #1) by Amy Plum

Kate Mercier has come to Paris in order to escape a past of death and tragedy. After weeks of burying her thoughts and her pain within the pages of a book, things start to look up when Kate meets the mysterious and charming Vincent. But Vincent is a revenant, which means he's got his own crosses to bear -- like ancient enemies and a deadly compulsion -- that will bring Kate face to face with her worst nightmare.

In Die for Me, Amy Plum creates a complex, original mythology that stands out among modern paranormal romances. This story is centered around sacrifice, and the myriad variations on that theme are impressive in their imagination and variety. The past lives and deaths of the revenants add richness and shade to the narrative, and Plum takes a special interest in the wars of the past -- times rife with personal sacrifice and national tragedy. Each revenant's story will earn readers' respect even as it breaks their hearts. The Parisian atmosphere provides the backdrop for the tale, and is strikingly vivid, almost another character in the story -- setting the tone for this tale of myth and romance.

I wanted to like Kate. She starts off as bookish and pensive, and there are several times throughout the novel when she doesn't hesitate to do what's best for her or speak her mind. However, at other times, she can be melodramatic and self-blaming, when she is clearly not at fault. This tendency to be a martyr for love is a personal frustration with several modern heroines, and Kate seems to fall into that mold. Kate repeatedly claims that she pushes people away out of self-defense after the pain of losing her parents, but the fact that she tells rather than shows these feelings makes them appear less genuine and the ups and downs in her relationships seem forced.

Unfortunately, the romance also falls flat. Vincent is the typical mysterious, supernatural bad boy who starts out arrogant but quickly becomes the doting boyfriend. Their relationship moves at a breakneck pace, with both of them willing to die for the other within a month and claiming to have "never felt like this about anyone before." They become extremely co-dependent and possessive, and their utter infatuation with one another is occasionally overwrought in its mushiness.

In fact, it is difficult to connect with most of the characters, as they tend to behave inconsistently and unbelievably. Jules is an over-the-top Casanova, while Charles acts like a petulant child. Thankfully there's Ambrose, the playful, big brother bear, and Charlotte, the other girl among the group with whom Kate can bond. Charlotte is definitely the best of the bunch, and I would have liked to see her play a stronger role in the story to counteract the overwhelming testosterone in the revenant household. Nonetheless, the playful, brotherly bond between the boys is endearing. The plot thickens when all is revealed, and the final pages kick up the pace and excitement, leaving readers on the edge of their seats as Kate fights for all she holds dear.


Disclosure: I received an advance e-galley from the publisher for an honest review, and won an ARC in a contest hosted by Good Choice Reading. This did not affect my review in any way.

Click here to purchase Die for Me by Amy Plum.

Part of the 2011 Debut Author Challenge.


SweetestLittleBookworm said...

I just read this book a few days ago. I enjoyed the concept of revenants; I've never read anything about them before. I'm not sure if they are specific to this book or if they are out there in paranormal/fantasy-land and I just am not aware of them. But I like that they are something fresh besides vampires and werewolves.

While I found the book quite entertaining, I do wish there was another title out so I could find out a little bit MORE about what happens with Kate and Vincent. I felt like I just needed a little more information about their romance; more than they've never felt this way about anyone else before. I don't even know if that makes any sense or not.

Also, this cover that you posted is the edition that I read (the cover is quite beautiful)...after I read the book I realized that there is another cover, one that really goes with the book much better. The picture is of Kate in the boat with the dark dress. I don't really understand the marketing behind all of the different covers. This one is beautiful, but I kept reading the book and waiting for this particular scene...waiting for Kate to put on a beautiful red dress.

At any rate, I really enjoyed this book and will read the second book quickly when it comes out. I really enjoyed your write-up. Thanks so much. :)

Tara (The Bodacious Pen) said...

I had pretty much all the same problems you did with this book. I had to DNF it.

Yani {AvidReader} said...

We totally talked about this at BEA! I hope I didn't spoil your opinion of it =P

Lauren M said...

I actually quite enjoyed Die For Me. Some parts of it were kind of cheesy, I agree, but I still thought it was good overall. The concept of the Revenants was fascinating.

Anyway, great review! Thanks for sharing your honest opinion. :)

Casey (The Bookish Type) said...

@SweetestLittleBookworm -- I think the cover you're referring to was the original one, but they decided to change it for some reason. I agree that it worked much better with the story than the pretty pink cover they used on the finished copy.

@Tara -- Yep, I can totally understand that. I'm just too OCD not to finish a book, no matter how much it's frustrating me.

@Yani -- I read this before BEA, so no, I was already pretty meh about it ;)

@Lauren -- I think it just reminded me too much of Twilight. I know a lot of people did enjoy it though, and the revenant mythology was definitely awesome =)

Rubita said...

Oh, thank god! Someone else who had problems with this book. Everyone seems to have loved it and I found it to be so full of issues that the gushing reviews made me scratch my head in confusion.
I particularly agree with you about connecting with the characters. I couldn't, a fact which was especially true of Vincent and Kate.

Small Review said...

I felt much the same and eventually DNF-ed it. The characters felt shallow to me and I really don't like that kind of all-encompassing romance. Die For Me is the book I'm using for the next review comparison, and I'd love to include your review if you'd like to submit it. :)

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