Title: Life Eternal
Author: Yvonne Woon
Series: Dead Beautiful, #2
My rating: 4.5 / 5
Renee Winters has changed. When she looks in the mirror, a beautiful girl with an older, sadder face stares back. Her condition has doctors mystified, but Renee can never reveal the truth: she died last May, and was brought back to life by the kiss of her Undead soul mate, Dante Berlin.
Now, her separation from Dante becomes almost unbearable. His second life is close to an end, and each passing day means one less that she will spend with the boy who shares her soul.
Just when Renee has almost given up hope, she learns of the Nine Sisters--brilliant scholars who, according to legend, found a way to cheat death. She can't shake the feeling that they are somehow connected to her dreams, strange visions that hint at a discovery so powerful, and so dangerous, that some will stop at nothing to protect it.
Renee thought she knew the truth about life and death. But there is a secret woven through history that holds the only hope for Dante and Renee. Unless they find answers soon, their time together is doomed to be cut short.
-- As seen on Goodreads
I can’t believe the transformation! I read Dead Beautiful recently, and I was on the fence on whether I want to continue the series. I really liked the idea behind the undead, and this is what eventually swayed me to give book two a chance. I haven’t come across anything similar to it before and it really appealed to me. The big problem was half of the book reminded me of a certain saga beginning with “T”. I’m so glad to say Life Eternal was so much better than Dead Beautiful! It broke away from the familiar and the author completely ran with her own ideas and built on the unique things she created in the first book.
Renee is back at her grandfather’s house in Massachusetts for the summer break. After the events that happened at the end of Dead Beautiful, she is different. Her senses are dull; she has little appetite and is sleeping like the dead. (*grins* sorry, had to do that) Renee has to transfer to a new academy in Montreal – St. Clément – after her grandfather is brought back to take over as headmaster at Gottfried Academy, and it is to only accept Undead students.
The story has continued on in Life Eternal, introducing new concepts and challenges to the overall story. I loved the introduction of the nine sisters and how that theme was slowly incorporated. We gain a lot of additional information, and the story focuses more on Renee and establishing her as a character, with Dante taking a slightly lesser role. We are introduced to new characters as well, and it allows us to see a different side to Renee. I really connected with her, and I could understand her viewpoints and why she chose the things she did.
Renee completely came into her own. She is in love with Dante which is never in doubt, but she is objective. She doesn’t automatically believe everything she learns; she questions things and uses her own judgement and beliefs as a baseline. It’s awesome to see this in a YA novel, or heck, in any novel! It came completely out of the blue as I wasn’t expecting her to have grown so much since Dead Beautiful.
I loved the ending! I doubted everything and questioned everybody, and I really liked the way things wrapped up. There is a cliff-hanger, but I didn’t find it terribly bad – as I said in another review, I think I’m becoming numb to them as they happen so often now!
Second books in trilogies are often associated with “middle-book-syndrome” and used as a bridge between the beginning and the end. Life Eternal doesn’t suffer, and I think it blew Dead Beautiful away, it’s so much better. I highly recommend giving this series a chance, and I wouldn’t have been able to do that after just reading the first book. I was so surprised to see a change, I loved it.