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Die For Me

November 17, 2017
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Die For Me, by Amy Plum, is a young adult paranormal romance about the Parisian adventures of an orphaned 16-year-old girl named Kate who meets a 19-year-old boy named Vincent and falls in love, although she has to wait a little while before he will take her home to meet his “kindred.”

The “kindred” are heroic immortals who died saving people and then come mysteriously (and apparently spontaneously) back to life so they can save new people, with a rest period of only three days each month when they appear dead, although they call it “dormant.”

The plot is pleasant and predictable. When Kate heads to the library to do research for a school project on the French riots of 1968 and says “instead of looking through history books, I decided to search contemporary newspapers to find personal accounts,” it’s obvious that she’s going to find out that Vincent and his friends are way older than they look. In fact, she immediately finds Vincent’s obituary: “And there he was. Halfway down the first page. It was Vincent. He had longer hair, but he looked exactly like he had a month ago.” When she confronts Vincent and his friend Ambrose about seeing their obituaries and asks “so how can you be here now?” they respond with “we’re zombies” and then try out “undead” and “ghosts” before finally explaining “we call ourselves revenants.” In an effort to keep Kate from “freaking out,” one of them matter-of-factly offers some etymology of the word “revenant” as “one who comes back.”

Vincent later tells Kate that his kind exist all over the world, saying “I’ll bet you walked past a good number of revenants in New York City without knowing that you were crossing paths with a zombie.”

The Parisian “kindred” live together in a magnificent house that still belongs to its original owner, Monsieur Grimod. Along with the house come faithful family retainers like their cook Jeanne. When Kate is introduced to her, Jeanne explains:
“My great-great-great grandfather (plus a few) was Monsieur Grimod de La Reyniere’s valet, and went to war with him when he fought under Napoleon. It was that ancestor, only fifteen at the time, whom Monsieur Grimod saved, pushing him from the path of a cannonball that took his own life. It’s a good thing the boy was determined to bring Monsieur’s body back from Russia for burial, because he was there three days later when Monsieur woke up and was able to care for him. And my family’s been with Monsieur ever since.”

The kindred have enemies, however. They fight the “numa” who they say are
“the same as us, but in reverse. They’re revenants, but their fate isn’t to save lives. It’s to destroy them….We become immortal when we die while saving someone’s life. They win their immortality by taking lives.” Kate’s sister, of course, falls in with one of the numa and Kate and Vincent have to rescue her.

Kate and Vincent also have to go through all the usual hand-wringing over the dilemma posed by an immortal contemplating a lifetime relationship with a mortal. You’ll be glad to know they work it out, however, and find a way to live fairly happily ever after—at least until the sequel (the title of which, Till I Die, indicates that it will follow the pattern established by Twilight and let Kate join the carefree immortals).

 

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8 Comments leave one →
  1. Nancy permalink
    November 18, 2017 12:21 pm

    Oh ho, sexy zombies. Such things they have nowadays!

  2. November 18, 2017 2:27 pm

    Ahahahah, oh man, I love a good YA paranormal library research scene. The microfichier the better.

    • November 18, 2017 2:30 pm

      Ha! This novel is short on microfiche and long on scenes of Paris. It’s really hard to feel sorry for the poor orphaned girl and her sister when they’re living with wealthy grandparents who don’t supervise them much in a very nice part of the city.

  3. Jenny permalink
    November 21, 2017 4:26 pm

    I’m curious that people would want to be servants for a group like this. You’d think immortals would have time to work out a good rotation for cooking and washing the dishes themselves.

    • November 21, 2017 4:54 pm

      It struck me as a kind of WWI-batman (right hand man, often lower in class) situation, like Sam Gamgee’s loyalty to and friendship with Frodo.

      • Jenny permalink
        November 21, 2017 9:37 pm

        Hmmm. So throw in immortality to that relationship. Vampires, for instance, are traditionally not just conservative but downright reactionary, which is logical, so they would want servants. (Interesting to imagine a socially progressive vampire.) But your batman-style loyalty would have to be your family’s to an individual, rather than a family’s to a family. You’d have to bring up your kids to think, This Is What We Do. It’s an interesting dynamic (though I’m sure a very tiny part of this book.)

        • November 21, 2017 10:24 pm

          In this case, the serving family and descendants are all loyal to the same undead person, Grimod.

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