Dead Beautiful by Yvonne Woon
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Zombies... I guess I should have figured that out from the title.
I'll give Woon one thing, she WAS original with the whole 'dead' thing. Or I guess I should say 'undead'. She sort of romanticized the zombie in a way. But then again, what supernatural creature hasn't been romanticized in some attempt or another?
What I liked:
It kept me guessing. I appreciated the steps that Renee took to find out this big mystery. I was just as curious as she. I also appreciated characters like her grandfather. And I didn't mind the boarding school so much. Lately boarding school has become a popular YA setting. It's very cool when done right. Gottfried was creepy.
What I didn't like:
If I had the chance to sit here and depict every similarity to TWILIGHT then this review would be longer than a presidential speech, most likely. There were just too many similarities for my taste, which detracted from Woon's originality. Dante (the supernatural love interest) and Renee (the human girl that allures to him so much) meet in Crude Sciences class. They share a lab table. He's inexplicably drawn to her. She can't help noticing how undeniably beautiful he is. His profile like that of a Roman coin. He's cold-skinned. He doesn't eat food. He doesn't sleep. Yada, yada, yada. Sometimes it felt like Woon turned Edward into a zombie named Dante and plopped him into a boarding school on the opposite side of the country. So he can fall in love with another, irritatingly reckless at times, girl who can't help but love him even though he's one of the undead. Yeah... I just wasn't feeling the repetitiveness of the genre. Sometimes it felt like the characters were stereotypes. And the very end where all of the action comes into play wasn't very well drawn out. We have all this mystery and suspense, and when it comes down to the big reveal and consequence of it, it's all rushed and thrown into a hole, quite literally. The villains were very much outsiders. And we never really find out about them. And then bada bing, one of them gets dealt with like it's nothing.
DEAD BEAUTIFUL is more about romance. Turning zombies into another romanticized figure. It was unique in some ways, since most stories about zombies are more traditional, and I really liked the involvement of Latin (a dead language) and how Woon played with it very creatively. Unfortunately, I wasn't digging the way that DEAD BEAUTIFUL seemed to follow TWILIGHT's plot. I liked TWILIGHT a lot. But there can only be one successful play on it. Lately there's just been too many YA novels that seem to be riding on it's coat tails. This story would have been so much better if it hadn't fallen into the same plot niches.
In the end, it was a fairly good story. It was mildly entertaining and original for it's supernatural element. I would recommend it to anyone that loved TWILIGHT and would like a different monster to romanticize. I may or may not read the sequel.
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