Devourer of all books fantasy
I listened to this on audiobook. The second book, Until I Die, has already released and the final book in the series, If I Should Die, is scheduled for a May 2013 release. It was a very well done paranormal book that’s Parisian setting and creative take on zombies make it something special. While I loved the beginning of the book, I wasn’t as enamoured with the ending.
Kate and her sister Georgia move to Paris to live with their grandparents after their parents are killed in a car crash. Kate is struggling with her grief and drifting around reading books in cafes when she meets Vincent. Vincent is beautiful and somehow different from everyone she knows. Her and Vincent start to spend time together, but then Vincent’s best friend is killed in front of Kate and Vincent doesn’t seem to care. When Kate sees Vincent’s friend walking around the next day she suspects that Vincent and his friends aren’t as human as they seem.
I loved the idea behind the zombies in this book, it was fascinating and super creative. Basically Vincent and his “family” are Revenants. These are humans that die when sacrificing themselves in place of someone else, because of this sacrifice they rise as Revenants. The Revenants have an urge to sacrifice themselves to save humans. They do this over and over to help save humans’ lives. The rules behind how the Revenants work are interesting and really well done.
Kate makes an excellent and down to earth heroine. She is struggling with grief but doing her best to dig her way out. There are multiple places in this book where her sadness just about broke my heart. She really loves art so there is a lot of art-talk in this book.
Vincent is your typical super sensitive, yet dark and mysterious type. He is sensitive and romantic to the extreme. There were parts of the book where I felt that he was too perfect and so syrupy sweet that it was a little sickening. Still the romance between Kate and Vincent is touching and full of mutual respect; I really enjoyed it.
The setting is awesome. The whole book takes place in Paris. I loved hearing about the beautiful sights and it made me want to travel back there to find all the beautiful little nooks and crannies that Kate and Vincent found. I wish more YA paranormal books were set in international locations; they are just so fun to read and learn about.
The story focuses mostly on Kate discovering what Vincent is and how to deal with it than anything else. This is more of a mystery type book than an action-based one. Although, the Revenants do have enemies and there is a pretty well done fight scene between the two groups at one point in the book.
The book is well written and engaging. I ended up enjoying the beginning of the book more than the end. Plum did an excellent job of building and unfolding the mystery about Vincent. The ending where they fight the enemy Revenants felt a bit forced and rushed.
As you might imagine there is a heavy theme of death throughout the book; death is very prevalent in Kate and Vincent’s life. So those sensitive to the topic of death be warned.
Overall an excellent YA paranormal. This book presents a very creative take on zombies and I enjoyed it a lot. I also enjoyed the down to earth heroine, the sweet respect based relationship between Kate and Vincent, and the exotic Parisian setting. I enjoyed the beginning of the book more than the end, the ending felt a bit rushed. I can’t wait to see what the next book holds for this truly bizarre couple. Highly recommended to those who love YA paranormal reads without cliched love triangles and insta-love.
I have read all of John Green’s other books and have had Looking for Alaska forever to read. So, I was excited to finally read it. To be honest it wasn’t my favorite John Green book (that honor goes to The Fault in Our Stars, followed by Paper Towns, followed by Will Grayson Will Grayson). However, it was still a very good read.
I listened to this on audiobook and the audiobook was very well done. All the characters voices were easy to distinguish and emotions were portrayed really well too.
Miles Halter is a high school student who is obsessed by last words, he loves to read biographies about authors more than he likes reading the books written by them. Miles’ big issue is that his whole life has been a bit lot of nothing, he has no friends, no goals. Miles decides that transferring to Culver Creek Boarding School will change all that. And it does. He meets his crazy chain-smoking roommate known as The Colonel. The Colonel introduces him to the funny, beautiful, smart, and slightly insane Alaska Young. Between Alaska and the Colonel, Miles (who is nicknames Pudge in irony of his wiriness) has a decidedly not boring school year.
This was a very well done contemporary YA book. That is basically a coming of age story that deals with issues of teen drinking/smoking, grief, suicide, and sexuality. After reading all of John Green’s books and then reading this one you can tell that this was his debut novel. It’s a really good book, but it is a little rough around the edges at points.
I loved all of the literary quotes throughout. I also really enjoyed Pudge’s/Mile’s obsession with people’s last words. My favorite parts of the story were the pranks the kids pull. There are some pretty darn hilarious pranks in here that had me laughing out loud.
I know there was a lot of controversy over this book when it was released and it was banned in some states/schools. While I hate the idea of banning books, I can understand why people got a little worked up. There is an absolute crapload of drinking, smoking, and sex in this book.
All the kids seem to do well at their classes, this is a group of very smart kids we are reading about here. However they also chain-smoke and drink until they pass out….a lot. At times I would think…”geez high school wasn’t like this when I was in it” or I would think…”Wow is that what boarding school is really like?” I think the behavior in here is pretty extreme for high schoolers. Additionally there are some explicit oral sex scenes and Alaska is absolutely sex-obsessed.
So being completely honest here...reading about people smoking themselves sick, finding new ways to smoke and get away with it, and drinking until they puke really isn’t my thing. Yes there is a lot more to the story than that, but there was also a lot of drinking/smoking.
There is a lot of serious meat to the story as well. This is pretty much Miles’ coming of age story. However, all the characters deal with issues of grief and fitting in. There are a lot of family issues woven into the story (poverty, parents dying). There is also a lot of discussion about suicide and guilt. Ultimately the story is about the painful path that we call life and how to navigate it. This is a very engaging book and it absolutely pulls the reader in. It was hard to stop reading.
Overall a very good coming of age story about teens dealing with fitting in and grief/guilt. To those who don’t like reading about a lot of drinking/smoking/puking I might recommend reading one of John Green’s other amazing books. If you can get past all of that though this is a very entertaining, engaging and thoughtful book about finding your path in life and dealing with the trials you have to survive to get there.