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The Ninja Reader

High-brow or downright pretentious, good PNR or sparkly vampires, I don't care about the premise so long as it entertains me.

Currently reading

Bullying: The Social Destruction of Self
Laura Martocci
Die for Me - Amy Plum Die for Me seems to be a hate-it-or-love-it kind of deal for people. On one hand, it's very much like every other stereotypical YA paranormal romance out there. On the other... it's not. So today, instead of analyzing, I'll look at the things this book has in common with all the other paranormals, and evaluate how it does right where others fail.+ Setting the story in Paris isn't accidental. By which I mean that the characters weren't imported from America just so that they could name-drop the Louvre and the Eiffel Tower. Vincent and his friends are essentially French, and their fates are very closely interwoven in France's history, specifically the World Wars and the Occupation. That has a very important impact on their characters, and their development as such.+/- There is stalking. Actual stalking. In most YA paranormals, stalking is portrayed to be normal, even romantic. Twilight is best known for it, but a lot of books such as Evermore and Wings include it as well, justifying it as 'curiosity' or a 'desire to protect'. Die for Me, on the other hand, calls the stalking what it is, and doesn't even try to make it look good. Revenants do feel a strong compulsion to know the people they've saved and see if they had an impact on their lives, but it's a knife with two blades and both sides of it are shown in the book.+ The supernatural creatures aren't Teh Best Thing Evah! Like I said, revenants aren't a happy bunch. They don't just save people, they are compelled to do so, and it's not nice, especially if the victim doesn't turn out for the better. They're a sad bunch that can't form connections with others outside of their circle, and their existence is pretty lonely. And that actually has an impact on them. + The dead parents aren't just an excuse for the heroine to do what she wants. Disappearing Parent Syndrome is a very well known trope in YA, but it rarely has an actual impact on the character development of the MC. Ever Bloom, for example, only brings up her family's tragic death as an excuse to mope and be pathetic. In contrast, Kate is actually deeply affected by her parents' deaths. She dealt with death as more than an abstract concept and has felt first hand the devastation that comes after a loved one passes away. She very naturally doesn't take it well when she discovers her boyfriend is essentially a death junkie. Speaking of which...+ The heroine actually has a spine. Kate comes off as overly sensitive sometimes, but she's actually very strong willed. Not once, but twice, she leaves Vincent when she decides that his behavior is unacceptable (once before and once after she discovers his secret). Moreover, when she decides that this or that is a deal breaker for her, she goes through with her decision. Oh, she's sad, of course, but that's because she is forced to give up someone she truly likes because there is too much of a risk for her, and I think that's something we can all relate to.+ The hero isn't an abusive jerk. Vincent stalks Kate, but then stops to give her some privacy. He's dangerous and tortured, but tries to not throw all his baggage out there on the first date. And he actually lets Kate call the shots, instead of passively-agressively imposing his opinion over her own. When she decides she can't deal with him constantly throwing himself in danger's path, he looks for a way to work around his nature as a revenant. Basically, theirs is a story of a boy and girl falling in love, and working for their relationship.However...- This book is about a love story. For those of you scratching your heads right now, no, I do not think love stories are bad. I actually quite enjoy them. But there is only so much tension you can get out of a story where the biggest conflict is whether those two will be together or not, which is why romance usually works best as compliment to the actual plot. But in Die for Me, the actual plot about the war between the revenants and the numa really doesn't involve Kate until the last quarter. Still, the romance actually develops, so I imagine it's not such a bad thing after all.