Friday, 26 September 2014

Review: Until I Die by Amy Plum

Until I Die by Amy Plum book cover

Title: Until I Die
Author: Amy Plum
Series: Revenants, #2
Format: Paperback, owned
My rating: 4 / 5
Setting: Paris, France
Pages: 353

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My life had always been blissfully, wonderfully normal. But it only took one moment to change everything.

Kate has chosen to leave the comfort and safety of her human life in order to join Vincent in the dangerous supernatural world he inhabits. For his part, he has sworn to go against his very nature and resist the repeat deaths that are his fate as a revenant - even though it will bring him immeasurable suffering.

Desperate to help him, Kate's search for answers takes her from the glamourous streets of Paris to the city's squalid underbelly. But when she stumbles across a secret that could help to overthrow their enemies for ever, Kate unwittingly puts everyone she loves at risk. And puts herself in the midst of an ancient and deadly war, not as a bystander... but as a target.

-- As per synopsis on my paperback

My Thoughts

Before I began writing up this post, I went back and read my review for Die For Me that I posted back in May, and the vast majority of issues I had with that book have disappeared! Until I Die was so much better, and I’m so glad I can say I really enjoyed it! I feel I got to know the characters properly this time. I won’t mention anything specific that happens in the book, but I’m left thinking that the overall series plot didn’t progress too much until toward the end. From a character and world building perspective (-and mine!-) Until I Die was completely necessary but from a progressing the story line perspective, it could be said to suffer from middle book syndrome.

I came into this book quite neutral toward the characters. The only one I really liked was Jules, and the rest had a cardboard-like feel. For me, the character development that took place in Until I Die was extremely important. It helped me to connect with characters I previously didn’t feel anything for. Vincent grew on me over the course of the book, but for me, the star was Kate - I really liked her! Her parents passed away before the series began, and she has emerged from her disengagement and depression. She is dealing with everything as best she can, and it’s awesome to see her begin more lively and spunky in this book. She doesn’t really doubt herself as much anymore, and wants to find things out for herself. I loved the attitude she developed! She’s quite even-tempered until she’s pushed too far, and I thought this quote sums her up just how much she’s grown:

“You might be from a time when humans were looked down on by beings like yourself. A time when men were the only ones considered smart enough to educate” – I gestured toward the pile of books – “and girls like Violette had to have protectors. But this is the twenty-first century. And I’ve got this” – I pulled out the signum and held it up for him to see – “that says I’m kindred. And I’ve got this” – I pointed at my head – “that says I’m as smart as you. And I have this” – I held up my middle finger – “that says go to hell, you immortal bigot.”

I was so proud of Kate when she said this, and I though the character on the receiving end of this little outburst deserved it wholeheartedly! I never in a million years would have expected the girl in Die For Me to stand up for herself to such an extent.

Vincent and Kate’s relationship was a lot more believable in Until I Die. I felt that there was a genuine connection, and it was incredibly cute at times. I enjoyed seeing more of the revenants world, and I’m so happy that this book had a more French feel – even if it was a tad cliché. I do have a little gripe – as the book is set in France and all characters are either fluent in the language or native speakers, I don’t really see the need to drop French word here and there. I take for granted that the characters are actually speaking French to each other, and I’m just reading it in English. Is “bonjour” really necessary? Or “Non”? Hey, this is just a little gripe I have; it’s nothing I couldn’t over look and ignore if I had to.

Most of the action and story progression takes place in the last quarter of the book. I didn’t feel like I missed out on anything by having a slower beginning and middle. For me anyway, the character development was such a necessary step, I didn’t really notice that there wasn’t too much action taking place until everything began kicking off toward the end! The book does have a sort-of cliff-hanger ending. With what happened, I have very high hopes that next book will be even better!

I think levels of love for this book could depend entirely on how much you liked Die For Me. I was disconnected from the characters, and I didn’t buy into the world building or the revenants. Now, after reading Until I Die, I feel like I’ve begun a brand new series! I’m so glad I took a chance and bought this book before I read Die For Me. If I’m honest, as I didn’t necessarily love Die For Me, I probably wouldn’t have given Until I Die a chance if I hadn’t already bought it. I really enjoyed this book, and as you can guess, I wasn’t really expecting to. Kate’s character growth was so great to see – I just wish there was a little more Jules...

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