A review by Elyse Taylor
I’ve noticed a formula emerging in young adult literature, and I’m sure I’m not the only one. ‘Average’, plain, bookish, un-popular girl starts at a new school in a new town/country. Girl is accepted by a new crowd. Girl meets boy. Boy has strange appeal and an air of mystery. Boy and girl hook up. Boy (or even occasionally girl) turns out to be some kind of mythical creature. That’s right; Die for Me is Paranormal Romance. Again… but hey, at least it’s not more vampires…
This time, well, let’s just say that the love interest is “mortality challenged”, but he’s not a blood sucker. Heroine Kate meets the man of her dreams, Vincent, after moving to Paris to live with her grandparents following the death of her parents. She doesn’t fit in at school and struggles to connect with the ‘typical’ pleasures that her sister Georgia distracts herself with. Big surprise. Why is it that the girls who attract supernatural boys always seem to be outsiders and a little bit different? Don’t answer that one.
One interesting development is the reason for the fledgling romance falling at the first jump. Thankfully, Vincent does not possess Edward Cullen’s annoying demon complex or believe that he is basically bad. Yes, he does think that he is bad news for Kate; and yes, he does attempt to instigate a separation. For once through, the problem is really hers (no I won’t tell you what it is; read it yourself!), and of course, it doesn’t last long.
In addition to the un-dead boyfriend (complete with oddball family) there is of course the mandatory supernatural, semi-immortal bad dude; who just happens to have a grudge against Vincent. Well, it is a tried and true way of developing a conflict without turning the story from a romance to a tragedy. Romeo and Juliet would clearly have done better with an ogre or two.
Plum seeks to create a different feel by setting her novel against the backdrop of Paris; however, the heroine is still a typically American school girl. Paris is certainly more romantic than your average small American town, but there is definitely a lingering feeling of American style rather than French and, despite constant references to the fact that the story takes place in Paris, really the events could take place just about anywhere.
Among the rash of teen romance where one or both of the lovers are un-dead to hit the shelves in the last few years, Die for Me is a fairly standard sample. The writing is enjoyable if you like the genre, and the choice of a new creepy dead thing to love refreshes things a little. The plot moves at a reasonable pace and contains enough action to keep all but the most indifferent of readers going. If you liked Twilight, House of Night, or even if you aren’t a big reader and prefer a T.V. series like Supernatural, then Die for Me is definitely worth a look.
Previously published in Dark Matter issue 4, July 2011.