Happy September everyone, hopefully there’ll be more frequent blog posts now summer’s almost at an end. Sure, we only had about a week of proper summer here in Blighty, and that was late June/early July, but there was still barometric pressure screwing with me, and I’m sticking to that story!
Today our paranormal romance centres around a revenant, a kind of zombie-ghost featured mostly in British folklore, though they’re present in much of Western Europe in general, and this book takes place in France. I actually knew most of that before I re-checked it on Wikipedia, having done some research on vampires several years ago when studying Dracula.
The More You Know!
DIE FOR ME
(Condensed reveiw on Goodreads here: https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/892315814)
Another one of these pointless one-page prologues that featured so beautifully in The Selection and A Beautiful Dark. Maybe it means this one will give me Schlockholm too?
Then again, maybe not.
We meet our heroine, whose parents recently died in a car crash. Even though her sister is still alive and she doesn’t have any psychic powers, she is somehow even more emo than Ever from Evermore. Friends, this is Kate.
Yes, I know, it’s reasonable to be emo when your parents die in a car crash, but it still annoys me. Kate enjoys wangsting over having ‘almond-shaped’ eyes, and gushing over how awesome Paris is even though she’s too emo to go outside.
Convinced by her older sister Georgia, Kate leaves her grandparents’ house for the wonders of Paris, probably so she can escape her grandmother’s random dropping of French words into their conversation.
You know, in case we forgot she was French.
Kate goes off to find a cafe; rejects the first due to all the old people inside, and finds a suitable location to meet her Paranormal Love Interest—I say paranormal rather than Generic, because the last few haven’t actually been quite so generic. Although I admit I don’t hold out much hope.
He shows up right on cue and they stare into each other’s eyes, Kate only taking a break so she can describe his friends in such a way the reader will immediately forget them.
There is more mourning of the loss of Kate’s perfect French father and a mother who was apparently her soul mate (!?!). Maybe the love interest, who we know from the prologue is called Vincent, did away with the mother himself? There can be only one!
Then Kate and Georgia decide to go out, and end up watching a girl try to kill herself by jumping off a bridge, ‘as if she was offering herself up as a sacrifice to gravity’.
Sacrifice to gravity.
Yeah, I got nothing.
Anyway, Vincent tries to save her by spreading his arms out in the shape of a cross and diving into the water, then a sword fight breaks out… somehow, and one of Vincent’s friends pops up to say he’s the police, and there’s gang fighting in the area, so the girls should get da fuk out.
Vincent then reappears with the girl, both alive, and Kate and Georgia wonder if they should call the real police, but the conversation goes off on a tangent and they laugh the whole thing off like all sensible people would.
Well, Kate goes back to her miserable life, sits in the cafe and cries over passages in ‘To Kill A Mockingbird’ that she’s read a million times before, so I suppose I shouldn’t be surprised that she was so emo over her parents’ deaths.
Vincent shows up to steal her bag and holds it hostage in exchange for Kate’s name that he actually already knows. Unfortunately the bag is really shittily made and breaks open—the most embarrassing thing that’s ever happened! Like, ever!
Kate sees Vincent stalking her a few times over the next few days and is torn between annoyance and twu wuv. Then she sees some random people who beckon her over, which results in her not getting killed when the building randomly starts falling apart, and then the random people vanish.
Well, things happening is supposedly a staple of a novel, so I guess this book has that going for it. I don’t know if they might want to inject some meaning into those things, but…
Kate goes home so Granny can yell ‘Katya!’ at her. Was she supposed to be Russian?
Anyway, later on Kate and Georgia go to an art museum. Yay. And one of Vincent’s bazillion generic friends is there. Yay. And Vincent’s image is ‘burned indelibly’ into her mind. Yay?
Well, Vincent shows up for a Boring Conversation. It takes up most of the chapter, and they arrange a date, and why not after all their meaningful interaction so far?
Bella spends some time wondering why a guy as gorgeous as Edward would ever be interested in her. Wait…
Yeah, you all know where that joke was going.
Anyway, our heroes go on the underground and stare at people, a ‘French national pastime’. Hmm, they must recognise us horrible English on sight then, because they’ve never stared at me in Paris, and you’d think they’d at least have been entranced by my hideousness, but no…
Vince steadies Kate on the subway, causing her to tell him she’s ‘not a damsel in distress’. I’m sure this will turn out to be true!
(Spoilers: It doesn’t).
Their boring date continues, and Vincent asks Kate what a girl like her would like as a gift. Kate assumes this means he has a girlfriend—WANGST! But he doesn’t, so there were a few pages we could have done without.
Actually, that’s the end of the chapter, so we could have done without it entirely.
Vince sees someone in the street, and from his reaction it’s likely a generic antagonist, but since Kate doesn’t see them I have no idea—it could have just been a Jehovah’s Witness.
He decides they have to find Jules, who seems to be making a booty-call somewhere in one the more stereo-typical areas of Paris. Kate overhears them talking cryptically about the encounter, but apparently the most interesting thing to her is that Vince describes their outing as a ‘date’.
Jules says Kate has to get da fuk out, and Vince agrees, which Kate thinks makes him ‘cowardly’, despite the fact that she has no idea what’s going on, except that it might be police business—but why would Vince ever want to break off a date with a girl he barely knows, just to see to important police business?!
Well, she ends up following him to a scene of a man trying to kill himself by jumping onto train tracks—no doubt as a sacrifice to trains. Jules jumps onto the tracks too, and then the train hits them.
Okay, not so good, people jumping in front of trains is bad. I almost missed a play once because of someone jumping in front of a train; the ensuing railway delays were that terrible!
Anyway, Vince whisks Kate back to chateau Vince for coffee and apparently doesn’t give a shit that Jules just died. What a coincidence—neither do I.
Though given the blurb of the book, I somehow doubt we’ve seen the last of Julie-wulie. Kate does some boring wangsting and demands an explanation. Vince responds by being mysterious. Kate decides that he’s a terrible person and she never wants to see him again, then flounces.
I wonder how long before twu wuv ensues?
Kate thinks that Vince and Jules were probably part of some underground gang, because that would make perfect sense. All the gangs in Paris carry swords and go around preventing suicides, don’t you know?
After a conversation with her sister wastes a few pages, Kate goes on to talk about the American School of Paris, a place full of lost souls trying to pretend they’re back home…
… IN AMERICA!
The school makes her do a project on a strike that happened in 1968, and while researching the strike she finds an old newspaper about some firemen who died and, le gasp! It’s Vince and one of the Vince-friends!
Are newspaper photos from 1968 really that good as conclusive evidence? Apparently so.
And then she sees Jules randomly hanging around. I think we know what that means.
Rather than assuming Jules has a twin or a lookalike, Kate tries to convince him that he’s dead, but we all know Jules has been Dead All Along, so he just pretends not to know her. Or maybe he has amnesia, either way my cliché-ometer is going off.
Then Kate goes to Vince’s house to leave him a message, apologising for calling him a terrible person since it seems there was a supernatural explanation all along.
As I’m sure you would, rather than writing, “WTF IS GOING ON, DEAD-BOY!?”
While at the house she remembers she’s a heroine in a pseudo-gothic romance, and decides to do some exploring—because that always ends well. She finds Vince’s corpse lying next to a framed photograph of herself, and Jules bursts in to say that ‘the game’s up’.
Well… that’s interesting.
I sense that something exposition-y this way comes.
First Jules takes Kate to ‘Charlotte’s Room’ while talking to himself, or probably a ghost or something. Kate freaks out about Vince being dead, even though Jules is dead too and he seems all right.
Anyway, he locks her in with Charlotte, one of the random people who saved Kate from the random building collapsing, and Kate goes on and on about how beautiful she is. I guess Kate swings both ways? That’d be a twist…
Charlotte calms Kate down by having a boring conversation that doesn’t explain anything. The best kind of exposition by far!
Charlotte takes Kate back to Vincent, which explains why Jules had to lock them in a room together, oh wait, no it doesn’t, and Vincent is alive again. However, Kate knows that he was dead a few minutes ago because apparently she’s a qualified Medical Examiner.
Jules turns up again, along with some more characters I can’t be sure will have anything to do with the plot. One of them is the owner of the house, Jean-Baptiste, who insta-hates Kate and wants her to get da fuk out, making him my new favourite character.
He flounces, heralding the end of another chapter in which nothing happened except some guys being introduced.
Well, here it is, the exposition-dump everyone’s been waiting for!
And… they really are zombies! I knew it! Dawn, get the shot gun!
Dawn: We live in the UK, freak. We don’t have any guns.
Well in that case I suppose a cricket bat will have to do, and—
Oh wait, it was a joke. But they are revenants, and those are kind of like zombies, so I’m still hanging on to that bat. Anyway, in this universe revenants are dead people who have come back to life, and every time they die they come back as the same age they were when they first died, then age normally until they die again. So far, so good.
The reason they keep dying is…
Not going to be explained in this chapter, except that it has something to do with saving people. Too much space was taken up already by Vince’s friends babbling nonsense.
In this chapter we meet Jeanne, a housekeeper whose family has worked for Jean-Baptiste since Napoleonic France when her ancestor was saved from death-by-cannonball thanks to Jean’s sacrifice. The ancestor then brought Jean’s body back to France…
… after he’d been killed by a cannonball? Those things kind of tear you to pieces. Did he carry him around in a bucket or something?
Anyway, I’m sure she’s integral to the plot.
Also, Vince tells us that revenants have stayed under the radar all these years, because Kate’s heard of vampires and werewolves but not revenants and that means that no one’s heard of them, even though during the middle ages they were the most common creature to find in English paranormal literature.
I guess you’ve stayed under the radar so long as Lon Cheney, Claude Raines and Bela Lugosi never went near you!
Oh, and we passed the third-way mark.
Vince and Kate have a date in which twu wuv is imminent. Kate ponders whether being involved with an unholy walking corpse is a good idea, but then remembers her dead mother once told her she had good intuition, which I suppose is going to be this book’s explanation for how its heroine’s dumbassery is justified.
Vince opts for telling Kate how he first died later in the book to keep some semblance of suspense—uh, I mean because he wants her to know him for who he is now before she knows who he used to be. Yeah.
Instead, he explains how he told Charlotte to save Kate from the random building collapsing via astral projection (called ‘volant’) because he felt it would happen.
And then Vince tells Kate he’s in love with her because of… reasons. I mean, who wouldn’t be in love with Kate and her… Kate-ness?
Kate compliments Vince on his English skills for the day. Was he supposed to have trouble speaking English? Their conversation is boring until Vince mentions the enemies the revenants have. Damn it, it’s those Jehovah’s Witnesses, I just knew it!
No, actually it’s the ‘numa’, and their evil goal is to spread internet memes everywhere until I have no choice but to reference them in my commentary, the bastards!
Also, they become immortal by killing people to make up for the fact that the revenants become immortal by saving them. Unless the revenants kill them, in which case they die for realz.
Well, now that that’s sorted we can get back to the boring date, and Vince and Kate’s boring and schmaltzy first kiss. Yuck.
Kate’s sister texts her incessantly about her new boyfriend, and Vince texts her as well even though she never gave him her number, because he’s a stalker.
Wait, why did he still not have her frikken’ phone number before apparently stealing it in the restaurant last chapter?! They’ve been hanging around each other for months at this point!
Georgia now also has a boyfriend, what do you want to bet he’s secretly a numa and possibly the main antagonist?
(Spoilers: Georgia’s boyfriend is a numa and also the main antagonist).
For now Georgia flirts with one of the Vince-friends because I guess she’s not that into her new boyfriend, and Jules’ astral projection goes with them on their date so Vince can pass on flirty remarks from him to Kate, because that’s attractive.
Georgia wants to go to a restaurant in the territory of the bad guys, and instead of asking to go somewhere else, they just go to that restaurant and, surprise, surprise, run into the bad guys.
What a bunch of idiots.
The Vince-friend gets stabbed to death off-page, so they have to take him home in a taxi, and they tell the driver that he’s just drunk because that worked in the Clue movie. And he’ll reanimate in three days, so it’s no biggie.
Wait, I thought you had to die saving someone’s life in order to be reanimated?
We also learn that Vince was born sometime in the 1920s and in order to kill a revenant for realz you have to Burn The Witch!
Dawn, go get the accelerant I keep in the basement!
(CONTINUED IN PART TWO)