Monday, April 18, 2011

Book Review: Dead Beautiful

TITLE: Dead Beautiful
Book 1 in what is apparently a planned series
AUTHOR: Yvonne Woon
CATEGORY: Young adult
GENRE: zombies, paranormal, romance
PREMISE: Renee's parents die and she's sent to live at Gottfried Academy where students are disappearing and she meets the mysterious, gorgeous Dante.
MY REVIEW: So this doesn't turn into a huge rant, I'll say the nice things about the book first. One is the cover. It's very pretty. Two, the mystery part was actually mildly interesting and it was nice to see Renee be proactive which is a nice change from all these passive female heroines. I also appreciated that at least Dante wasn't a semi-abusive jerk for a change and yay for no love triangles.
So the book isn't completely hopeless. However, that still doesn't save it from being mediocre. First problem is that the author is very poor at creativity. She doesn't think outside the box very much and as a result this book is basically a obvious Twilight rip-off that's trying to be Twilight mixed with Harry Potter but is really Twilight mixed with Evernight/House of Night with allusions to Harry Potter but no where near as good that series. The other issue is the writing. We have yet another Stephanie Meyer admirer. Spare me. Don't get me started on the ridiculous names in this book either. Really, the guy's name is Dante Berlin. Then there's names like Genevieve Tart (who is naturally the mean girl, hence the last name Tart), Professor Mumm (who is of course the horticulture teacher). UGH. Yes, Harry Potter had random names like this but Harry Potter was a magical world and most of those names had meanings and made sense in a world full of witches and wizards. This book takes place in the REAL WORLD other then the zombie thing. Therefore these names feel and look ridiculous. While I'm at it, what the hell is up with this school's curriculem? I know it's a private school, but private schools have to follow the standard curriculem as well, the only reason they're a private school is that they follow a higher standard then regular schools (and you have to pay tuition to go there). But the point is they still have to teach regular things like biology, calculus and so on. They most certainly would not teach stuff like they're teaching at this school because then they'd probably lose certification. Also, that lights out rule makes NO SENSE WHATSOEVER. Don't get me started on how they have a no dating policy and get away with it. Please. Oh, and school files generally don't have people's height, weight, and hair color on them. School files are for things like medical records and grade records from past schools. Amen. They don't go into parentage or looks at all. Do some research.
It's random things that make no sense like this that really drag this book down. As well as the yet another female lusting after a male and obsessing over him. I could go on about how horrible I find it that Renee flunks her Latin tests on purpose just so Dante could continue to tutor her and how this is not a good message to send to teenage girls nowadays who get enough crappy messages already. The thing is, this book had promise and could have been much better if the author had put in more effort and took a good look at the little details and have gotten a good editor. But unfortunately this is apparently the norm nowadays. I do not approve.
WHO SHOULD READ: Twilight fans, House of Night fans, zombie fans
MY RATING: Two out of Five school uniforms

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