What a fitting title for this time of year, eh? When Kate’s parents die tragically and she finds it difficult to connect with anyone from her former life, who should help her find her way back to the land of the living but a guy who’s ever so dead? I won this book last year after participating in an online chat with the Colleen Houck Book Club on Goodreads. We talked with Amy Plum about the first book in her latest series, AFTER THE END. (It is also fantastic, and I highly recommend it, too.)
On to the review!
DIE FOR ME (Revenants #1) by Amy Plum
Published by: Harper Teen
Release Date: May 10, 2011
Genres: YA, Fantasy, Urban Fantasy, Paranormal
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. (Plot summary from author’s website.)
When I first read the flap copy, I was a little hesitant because it sounded more like a run-of-the-mill romance. This is so not that! Besides there being so much more sword-fighting and ass-kicking of epic proportions going on, Kate is no damsel-in-distress. She is very much a girl making decision – good or bad. And the revenants are so fascinating! I love the detailed design of their world, how they crave to sacrifice themselves for someone, almost like an addiction or sickness, until it becomes overwhelming – so interesting. And let’s not forget the setting! Plum really brings it to life. While reading, you feel totally immersed in this gorgeous city.
Let’s read an excerpt from near the beginning of the book:
If I could have escaped reality for just a few hours at night, maybe my waking hours would have been more bearable. But sleep was my own personal nightmare. I would lie in my bed until I finally felt its velvety fingers sweeping my face with numbness and I would think, Finally! Then half an hour later I was awake again.
One night I was at my wit’s end, head on my pillow and eyes open, staring at the ceiling. My alarm clock read one a.m. I thought about the long night ahead and crawled out of bed, fishing for the clothes I had worn the day before and slipping them on. Stepping out into the hallway, I saw a light coming from under Georgia’s door. I tapped on it and turned the doorknob.
“Hey,” Georgia whispered at me from upside down. she was lying fully clothed on her bed, her head at its foot. “Just got home,” she added.
“You can’t sleep either,” I commented. It wasn’t a question. We knew each other too well. “Why don’t you come out for a walk with me?” I asked. “I can’t stand lying awake in my room all night. It’s only July and I’ve read every book that I possess. Twice.”
“Are you crazy?” Georgia said, rolling over to her stomach.”It’s the middle of the night.”
“Actually it’s kind of the beginning of the night. It’s just one o’clock. People are still out on the streets. And besides, Paris is the safest – “
“- city on earth.” Georgia finished my sentence. “Papy’s favorite saying. He should get a job with the board of tourism. Okay. Why not? I won’t sleep anytime soon either.”…
At the river’s edge, we went down the stone steps to the walkway that stretches miles through Paris along the water and set off east over the rough cobblestones. The massive squatting presence of the Louvre Museum was just visible on the opposite bank.
No one else was in sight, either down on the quay or up at street level. The city was silent except for the lapping of the waves and the sound of the occasional car. We walked a few minutes without speaking before Georgia stopped abruptly and grabbed my arm.
“Look,” she whispered, pointing toward the Carrousel Bridge crossing high over our walkway some fifty feet ahead. A girl who looked to be about our age balanced on the wide stone handrail, leaning perilously over the water. “Oh my God, she’s going to jump!” breathed Georgia.
My mind raced as I gauged the distance. “The bridge isn’t high enough for her to kill herself.”
“It depends what’s under the water – how deep it is. She’s near the edge,” Georgia responded.
We were too far away to see the girl’s expression, but her arms were wrapped around her stomach as she looked into the cold, dark waves.
Our focus quickly shifted to the tunnel under the bridge. Even during the day it was creepy…And now, from its otherworldly darkness came sounds of a scuffle.
There was a movement from the top of the bridge. The girl still stood motionless on the rail, but now a man approached her. He walked slowly, carefully, as if not to alarm her. When he got a stone’s throw away he stretched out an arm, offering the girl his hand. I could hear a low voice – he was trying to talk her down.
The girl whipped around to look at him, and the man held up his other hand, stretching both arms toward her, entreating her to back away from the edge. She shook her head. He took another step toward her. She wrapped her arms tighter across her torso and jumped.
This was such an intense, fast-paced and heart-felt read. I tore through this first book and continued on through the rest of the series in less than a week. Such wonderfully developed characters and rich story lines, it was a wonderful world to get lost in for awhile. I just loved it.
Learn more about Amy Plum here.
Follow Amy on Twitter here.