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.