Thursday, July 29, 2010
Review : Dead Beautiful
Title: Dead Beautiful
Author: Yvonne Woon
Published: September 21st 2010 by Hyperion Book CH
Arc: Courtesy of Karen at FWIW.
Synopsis: A haunting love story about desire, danger, and destiny.
After Renee Winters discovers her parents lying dead in California’s Redwood Forest in what appears to be a strange double murder, her grandfather sends her off to Gottfried Academy in Maine, a remote and mysterious high school dedicated to philosophy, “crude sciences,” and Latin: the Language of the Dead. It’s here she meets Dante, a dark and elusive student to whom she feels inexplicably drawn. As they get to know each other better, Dante can’t seem to control his attraction either, and their desires gradually deepen into a complex and dangerous romance. Dangerous because Dante is hiding a frightening secret. A secret so terrible, it has him fearing for Renee’s life.
Dante’s not the only one with secrets, though. Turns out Gottfried Academy has a few of its own… Like, how come students keep disappearing? Why are the prefect-like Monitors creeping around campus during the night? And what exactly are the Headmistress and Professors really up to? Renee is determined to find out why.
Dead Beautiful is both a compelling romance and thought-provoking read, bringing shocking new meaning to life, death, love, and the nature of the soul.
Thoughts: What an amazing debut. I loved the concept behind it. It's really hard to describe what Dead Beautiful is really about without getting too spoilery. Lets just say it's a great spin on a well known, well loved topic.
After finding her parents dead in the woods, Renee's grandfather enrolls her at Gottfried Academy, where the academics and the students are anything but usual. First, everyone is required to take Latin, but some students (the advance students) seem to just know it by heart. They walk around speaking it as if they were born with a natural tongue for it. Then the rules? A bit extreme and odd. Plus, all work must be done by candle light. That's right, no lamps or anything. Needless to say, Renee is in for one long semester.
Luckily, Renee meets Dante. He's everything a girl could want: intelligent, gorgeous and off limits. He doesn't talk to anyone nor ever showed interest in any girl...until Renee. Soon, Renee and Dante become lost in a forbidden love affair (students are discouraged from dating at Gottfried). The thing is, the longer Renee is at Gottfried and the more time she spends with Dante, the more she realizes Dante's past, the mystery behind her parent's death, the students and even Gottfried Academy itself are all tied together in ways she never imagined.
First off, I must say, this book really reminded me of Twilight, especially the romantic aspect! Renee and Dante's relationship (and the phase leading up to said relationship) are so similar to Bella and Edward that, at times, I thought I was reading Twilight. The mystery behind Dante, Renee's uncontrollable pull towards him, all of it just got more and more Bella-Edwardesque the longer I read. Even their mannerisms mirrored Bella-Edward. It's okay. I love Twilight, so it works!
Now, UNLIKE Twilight, the mystery behind Dante and the other students at Gottfried is very nicely done. Instead of knowing what they are from the start, Dead Beautiful will have you guessing again and again. Just when you think you've got it all figured out, Dead Beautiful adds a twist or two. Plus, the background story behind the school and the students? Nice. This was probably my favorite part of the book.
And swoon-worthy boys. Obviously, if you're a Team Edward gal (*raises hand*), you'll enjoy Dante. He's a good looking gentleman who's smart and just a doll. He doesn't share Edward's anxiety and extremities, so that's nice. Think of him as a laid-back EC.
Overall, I really enjoyed Dead Beautiful. The mystery will have you guessing and the romance will have you squealing for more. By the way the book ended, I'm guessing a possibility for a sequel is in-stored? I sure hope so!