Saturday, May 09, 2009

Review: Beautiful Dead: Book 1 - Jonas by Eden Maguire (YA)

Eden Maguire is a British author who spends part of the year living in the US. This book, which is for young adults, appears to be her first. The second book in the series is due out in October and the third and fourth (and final I assume) will be out in 2010.

Beautiful Dead: Book 1 - Jonas by Eden Maguire (YA) (April 2009, Hodder Children's Books, ISBN: 0340988614)

I spotted this title in Books Time magazine which is supplied to libraries with their delivery of books and I was fortunate to snap up the first (and only so far) copy in the Birmingham Library system. I have since been recommending it to colleagues and a short waiting list has begun.

The main character is Darina, a sixteen/seventeen year old whose boyfriend Phoenix has recently died from a knife wound in a fight. Phoenix is the fourth of Darina's peers to die in the last year, the other three being: Jonas in a motorcycling accident, Arizona by drowning and Summer by gun-shot wound. All apparently accidents.

Darina is heartbroken and finds herself drawn to the same spot a few miles from home, where the unbelievable happens - she sees Phoenix and the others, apparently alive and well. Is she delusional or are they real?

I don't want to give too much away so I'll just say that Darina is about to get some relief, at least temporarily, from her grief and she will be investigating the deaths of her classmates.

Beautiful Dead 1 does take a while to get going but once I got about a third of the way in I was dipping into it at every opportunity. It has a mystery angle - why did Jonas crash? and a romance between a couple who, in theory at least, do not have a future together - there's more than a similarity to the relationship between Bella (human) and Edward (vampire) in Twilight. It's quite a serious book which shows how grief affects people and what it can drive them to do. I'm very interested in seeing where Eden Maguire takes this series and especially what she decides to do in the final book.

The official Beautiful Dead website is here (nb. it gives more of the plot away than I do).

(Cross-posted to Teenage Fiction for All Ages.)


CaitlinS said...

I did read it every day but when I was finished I couldn't work out why. It was dull, went into too much detail and was basically twilight whihc is actually horrendous. I'm a bit disturbed by the sexualisation of zombies... while it was written well the actualy material was just boring and sucked. It's a shame I'm sure she's going to be a good author.

Anonymous said...

I think these books are one of the most magical and 'universe changinging' books i have ever read in my life so far. I literally could not put them down i think they are so good. They have fab plots with lots of exciting and romantic moments...

millie said...

the books are awesome!! im haff way through the 1st book and i have already fell in love with thim hehehe :D the romantic parts are my fav. KEEP ON WRITING!!!!!

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