Die For Me by Amy Plum (click for Goodreads)
MY LIFE HAD ALWAYS BEEN BLISSFULLY, WONDERFULLY NORMAL. BUT IT ONLY TOOK ONE MOMENT TO CHANGE EVERYTHING.
Suddenly , my sister, Georgia, and I were orphans. We put our lives into storage and moved to Paris to live with my grandparents. And I knew my shattered heart, my shattered life, would never feel normal again. Then I met Vincent.
Mysterious, sexy, and unnervingly charming, Vincent Delacroix appeared out of nowhere and swept me off my feet. Just like that, I was in danger of losing my heart all over again. But I was ready to let it happen.
Of course, nothing is ever that easy. Because Vincent is no normal human. He has a terrifying destiny, one that puts his life at risk every da. He also has enemies … immortal, murderous enemies who are determined to destroy him and all of his kind.
While I’m fighting to piece together the remnants of my life, can I risk putting my heart–as well as my life and my family’s–in jeopardy for a chance at love?
Right off the bat, I’m going to address the biggest stigma about this book: that it is a zombie version of Twilight. The unfortunate thing is that I can’t describe the plot in simple terms and convince you otherwise. Girl sees guy. Girl is instantly in love with guy. Guy is BASICALLY A STALKER (cue angry rant against stalkerish relationships in books being ‘okay’). Guy basically falls to pieces when they try to avoid each other. They get back together. They instantly consider each other soul mates. CUE THE ENTRANCE OF THE EVIL PEOPLE! Oh, and Guy is totally undead and sexy. Girl is described as “normal.” I have just described the basics behind both Twilight and Die for Me. But you may want to read on, because me–Madam Twilight Hater–has given this books four stars. Why?
Plum does it RIGHT.
Okay, okay, that sounds unbelievable, right? How can ANYONE do that RIGHT? Well, let’s discuss (with spoilers, so lookout!):
The main character, Kate, is NO Bella. When it comes right down to it, she makes her own choices and DOES SOMETHING. When she finds out what Vincent is, she breaks up with him because she isn’t sure she can take watching him die again and again after the death of her parents. When Evil Bad Dude breaks into the house at the end of the book (intentionally being vague, here), she pounces on him and tries to sword fight with him (even though she has no idea how to use a sword at all). Kate is very proactive throughout the book, which makes for a nice change.
The plot, also, keeps moving. THINGS HAPPEN. You’re hoping for a great battle scene at the end of the book, and you GET IT. The mythology here is also different enough to engage me. I’m not a person who likes zombie stories (at all), but I caught onto this book right quick. The ideas behind revenants is really cool, like zombie superheros. There is always something new on every page to learn, or some new ability. Yes, some of them feel contrived to make the plot work, but that’s only once or twice so I passed it off.
The other characters in the book are also really interesting. Even Kate’s party-girl sister, Georgia, comes off without being a tired cliché, but rather a round character. The other revenants are also cool, especially the twins. This book doesn’t feel like Kate/Vincent and the rest. Everyone else has an honest to goodness part to play in the book.
Lastly: Lack of love triangle. Some people may argue no, JULES! But really? Jules is a playboy who enjoys flirting and Kate isn’t into him. It’s innocent and cute.
Okay, yeah, there are SOME things you just can’t do better. For instance, love at first sight. Plum makes an attempt to work it into a real relationship–they go on a DATE, she turns him DOWN, gasp!–but the scene where she first sees Vincent is written like every other cliché love at first sight thing and after that I just can’t forgive. It also gets way too serious, way too fast. I understand that with the circumstances and all, there wasn’t really much else that COULD be done, but it still leaves jaded old me shaking my head.
Overall, though, this book really won me over. I was ready to hate it for its Twilight-ness, but I kept reading and I was glad I did. There’s a real plot here, and real characters. Kate and Vincent turned me to mush pretty quick too. I’m a sucker for adorable couples–and thankfully the stalking thing wasn’t mentioned all that often and only happened once or twice, or I never would have forgave him. Some bits of the plot felt like they were being forced forward, but everything flowed pretty well around them. I will most certainly be checking out the second book, Until I Die, due out May 8th.