Title: Die for Me
Author: Amy Plum
Publisher: May 10th 2011 by HarperTeen
Format: Hardcover, 341 pages
Series: Book 1 in the Revenants Trilogy
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.
To be honest, I had no idea what the book was about, but I heard all of the fanfare for the second book in the series, and I wanted to give it a try. The plot wasn’t especially unique in young adult literature today (girl destined to be with boy, obstacles abound), but I liked how this one was handled.
I liked all of the characters, especially Kate. She was a strong person who’d recently lost her parents. She was still struggling with being an orphan, but she had her sister to commiserate with. I thought it was interesting to see how the sisters dealt with their grief so differently: Georgia went out and distracted herself with boys and parties, while Kate’s solution was to occupy her mind with school and art. But they were there for, and supported, each other. I especially liked Kate’s decision to not have a relationship with Vincent, once she realized how his being a revenant might bother her so soon after the death of her parents. It was a wise and atypical teenage thing to do.
Their grandparents, whom they lived with in Paris, weren’t around very much, so we didn’t learn a lot about them. They seemed nice enough, just showing up every once in a while for an understanding pep talk or an encouraging suggestion. Clearly, they were taking the lax approach to parenting. Vincent was a very sweet guy. We learned about his background and how he ended up where he was. He was a classic swoon-worthy hero. At first, I kind of rolled me eyes and chuckled at the swooniness of it, but finally, I just accepted it for what it was, and I really ended up enjoying the romance aspect of the story. These were two people who had a connection and wanted to make it work. There was no insta-love (though there was insta-attraction!). Just good old-fashioned interest and talking and getting to know each other.
This was my first introduction to revenants and I was quite pleased. I’ve seen some compare them to zombies, but I didn’t see that at all. The revenants died sometime in the past, and for reasons unknown, they came back to life. Now, compulsion drives them to sacrifice themselves to save strangers. Even if they don’t die during these rescues, they still have a 3 day period every month (kind of like PMS from hell) where they appear dead, though they can “haunt” other revenants with their spirit. There are also evil revenants who like to kill people. Basically, Kate has to decide if she can fall in love with Vincent and watch him die over and over, or if that would be too hard for her, given that her own parents had recently died.
The dialogue was peppered with the occasional French phrase but it wasn’t hard to understand what they were saying. Otherwise, everyone was very straight-shooting and I liked that. I enjoyed the way one of the other revenants flirted with Katie, the innocently sweet way he did it and always managed to make her blush.
There were plenty of swoon-worthy moments. Vincent was basically every girl’s dream boyfriend. He was kind and sweet and hot and once his revenant occupation became a problem, he did what he could to make it easier on Katie. When they were apart, he was just as torn up as she was. He said all the right things and was protective of her. No wonder she fell for him!
I’m a big fan of this cover. Of course, it doesn’t have anything to do with the story (though it does feature a Parisian landmark), but it’s very pretty.
A classic young adult love story with a few twists.
Check out my review of Book 2, Until I Die.