Friday, December 2, 2011

H.Y.P.E. Project: Die for Me by Amy Plum

Title: Die for Me
Author: Amy Plum
Publisher: HarperCollins/HarperTeen
Release Date: May 10, 2011
Pages: 341 pages (hardback)
How I Got the Book: Bought it for the H.Y.P.E. Project (details here)

Die for Me (Revenants, #1)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 for it to 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 day. 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?


After her parents' deaths in a car crash, Kate lives with her older sister and grandparents in the heart of Paris. The pain is ever-throbbing in her chest and she spends all her time floating around museums and sticking her head into books instead of trying to move on. Vincent dares to accost her when he sees her at a cafe and Kate decides to give  him a chance. Why not? It's not like there is any other guy in the picture. As they grow closer, she discovers his secret: he is a revenant, a being compelled to give their life to save others. But Vincent has enemies in the numa, polar opposite beings compelled to destroy lives, and both Kate's heart and her life could be in danger if she stays with him.


Unfortunately, the characters let me down. While certain secondaries like Charlotte won me and the cast of Die for Me is a marked improvement over the casts of some of the other novels I've read during the course of the H.Y.P.E. Project, the main characters Kate and Vincent inspired only indifference in me. Disappearing Parent (or grandparent in this case) Syndrome struck again so Kate would have less supervision when falling for Vincent. Their connection was too-much-too-fast for me and I didn't completely understand what they saw in one another.

And just a little thing? I hate the role Jules fills. You know, that flirty friend of the male lead, the one who later becomes a love interest to the heroine. I have seen this irritating, almost-never-done-right character in two books straight and three or four in the past month alone. Authors, quit it. Stop writing this character. I beg you.


The pacing was all over the place and the plot liked to play peek-a-boo. The book starts off with a fight scene under a bridge involving the numa and the revenants, but then it slows down while Kate and Vincent get to know one another. The mystery of finding out what's going on with Vincent drives the reader to the reveal around page 100, but the pace almost comes to a halt for around 150 pages while the plot pokes its head around the corner every now and then to giggle, then tries to pretend it's not there. Then we come to the end and OMG STUFF! Then more over-the-top romance and the book is over. What little plot there is to the novel is solved over the course of it and could function as a stand-alone if needed.


The strongest point of the novel is Kate's genuine conflict about whether or not she wants to keep seeing Vincent. Her parents are recently dead and she's still torn up inside over it, but she starts falling for Vincent and slowly getting better. Then she finds out his secret and that if she gets into a serious relationship with him, she'll have to endure the pain every time he dies saving someone. Even if he comes back to life, the pain will still be there. This is the one point of the novel I stand up and applaud for. The overdramatic way this is set up as being true love and no one ever considers that this could be just another relationship between two people gets at me, but I digress.

Whether or not you mind that a boy is the reason Kate begins to heal is unique to the reader. I minded it a little bit, but not enough to impact my opinion of the novel. At the very least, she questions whether or not she is being expected to save Vincent. Most heroines don't get that far.


The descriptions of Paris were lovely and it was great to experience a change in setting to the beautiful City of Lights from the usual small-town America settings of YA paranormals. Otherwise, I found the writing unremarkable. There were no muttered "wow"s or mental markings of good passages from me.


Refreshingly, Kate made logical decisions most of the time. When she feels Vincent is acting strangely and thinks he could be doing something he shouldn't be, she does the smart thing and runs the hell away. Though I was overall unimpressed by the novel, this is another quality of it I can respect: that Kate has a brain. Kudos for being one of the few fictional Kates I've gotten along with lately. Other than that, all is well in the world of logic--or as well as it can be in a paranormal novel, but that's why suspensions of disbelief exist.

Was it worth the hype?

To sum it up, how much a person will enjoy this book is directly proportional to how much they mind reading a novel derivative of Twilight. I do not make comparisons to that novel easily--you could check and see that this is the first time I have directly compared a novel to Twilight. For me in particular? Twilight and I have a nonaggression pact. I don't care about it and we leave each other alone. This is good for Die for Me because I don't mind the similarities as much, but what creates protection one way creates a problem another way: I couldn't emotionally invest myself in it.

Die for Me both manages to live up to its hype as something different in a sea of the same old trite novels and does not live up to it. For all the tropes it twists around, it still falls into the same cliches and is at its heart a paranormal romance. Readers who buy Die for Me thinking it will be more than that will be sorely disappointed.

Bonus cover section

While I like the final cover of Die for Me due to its bold covers and the swirls (kudos to the illustrator Johanna Basford because they really are lovely), I am more partial to a draft cover I saw back when the novel was first being advertised. At least, I think it was a draft cover. Maybe it's an international cover. This is what I'm talking about:

While I can see why the publisher would change the cover and I think they made a good choice, there's something I like about this old cover. The bold red boat, perhaps? The reflection of the title in the water? I'm a sucker for reflective images on book covers like that.

3 stars!

What am I reading next?: Crescendo by Becca Fitzpatrick (Just don't ask. I'm being an idiot again.)