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

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Title:Beautiful Dead (Book 1 Jonas)
Author:Maguire, Eden
Publisher:Sourcebooks Teen Fire

Something strange is happening in Ellerton High. Phoenix is the fourth teenager to die within a year. His street fight stabbing follows the deaths of Jonas, Summer and Arizona in equally strange and sudden circumstances.
Rumours of ghosts and strange happenings rip through the small community as it comes to terms with shock and loss. Darina,Phoenix’s grief-stricken girlfriend, is on the verge. She can’t escape her intense heartache, or the impossible apparitions of those that are meant to be dead. And all the while the sound of beating wings echo inside her head! And then one day Phoenix appears to Darina.
Ecstatic to be reunited, he tells her about the Beautiful Dead. Souls in limbo, they have been chosen to return to the world to set right a wrong linked to their deaths and bring about justice. Beautiful, superhuman and powerful, they are marked by a ‘death mark’ – a small tattoo of angel’s wings. Phoenix tells her that the sound of invisible wings beating are the millions of souls in limbo, desperate to return to earth.Darina’s mission is clear: she must help Jonas, Summer, Arizona, and impossibly, her beloved Phoenix, right the wrong linked to their deaths to set them free from limbo so that they can finally rest in peace. Will love conquer death? And if it does, can Darina set it free?

Beautiful Dead has every element that I dislike seeing in a paranormal work. The book is about zombies but maybe I am missing the point. It seems like a lot of authors are taking from supernatural elements and renaming them into something they are not.

The teens die in a mysterious way and are reanimated by an overlord who gives them a year to the date of their death to solve the mystery of their murder. To me this feels more like necromancy especially with the supernatural elements that the author gives the said zombies. Time travel and magic over time. Each teen has a ‘death mark’ that is tattooed onto the spot of skin where they are killed.

I think I would have liked the book more if the author had left out the word zombie and had only called the characters the “Beautiful Dead”. I was not able to connect with the characters in any way and some of the character names seemed to pull me out of the story a bit. Such as having a boy named Phoenix and a girl named Arizona, I could only think of Phoenix, Arizona while I was reading.

Darina who is the main character you follow through the world is still alive. She helps the Beautiful Dead to find out from the living information that may be used to solve their murder before they pass on for good. I felt she was a very bad example for teens. She only cared for the boy who died, even more than caring for herself. I also disliked that yet again in a young adult novel the parents are lame, and hard, and on the point of being abusive. Not every kid has crap parents.

In the end I do not think I will be reading book two. I struggled over this review trying to find some silver lining to share with you but I am unable to do so. I suggest from the same publisher reading either Dreaming Anastasia by Joy Preble or Bran Hambric by Kaleb Nation. Both of these works are good examples of what Source is trying to convey with their Teen imprint.

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8 Responses so far

  1. Gravatar

    I’ve seen this book all over the place the last couple of weeks, and the reviews have been very mixed. I’ve seen only a couple who really loved it, a bunch who couldn’t stand it, some who didn’t finish it, and not much in the middle.

    That really bugs me that the dead kids are called zombies, when they’re clearly not really zombies. Zombies are night-walking, brain-eating, flesh-rotting beings. They are not able to interact in any meaningful way with the living.

    I think I’ll give this one a pass. The whole non-zombies-zombies would get on my nerves too much.

  2. Gravatar

    I think this is my main problem too. It seems zombies want to be romanticized now and I don’t feel they can evolve the same way the vampire did in general.

  3. Gravatar

    This whole concept of “zombie romance” really wigs me.

    Then again, most of these “zombies” are just various degrees of reanimated dead of which you can have so many types and so many names…

    For me, the term “zombie romance” calls to mind “s/he only loves me for my brains” not… reanimated dead who still have a consciousness beyond overriding hunger for flesh.

  4. Gravatar

    The plot sounds like an amalgamation of a dozen different anime shows. Not very original.

  5. Gravatar

    I agree with you on the zombie thing. I feel a lot of authors are using the word zombie for their characters, but they are not actually zombies.

    I was suppose to receive this book from Teen Fire. I won it in a contest, but I guess it got lost in the mail. Maybe I will pick it up to read later. Thanks for the review.

    Oh, and here is an award for you over at my blog:

  6. Gravatar

    I liked this book for just the reason you disliked it. Well at least one of the reasons anyway. I’m not a fan of the literal interpretation of zombies so this departure made use of that element much more pleasurable for me. Now, I haven’t read as much paranormal literature as you likely have so I may not be able to see the weaknesses but I thought it was a good first step into that sub-genre.

    Was it perfect? Not by any stretch. There were story flaws and definitely some predictability. But all in all I like the concept of a girl still living helping those who have died find closure.

  7. Gravatar

    I actually really enjoyed this book; I can relate to some of the characters. The whole ‘zombie’ thing is just Eden’s personal oppioin, that’s all, she mixed it up a bit. I could read this book, again, and again. I can’t wait to read book two(:

  8. Gravatar

    it was a great book all together

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