Monday 9 July 2012

Until I Die

Until I Die Until I Die by Amy Plum (Atom/Little, Brown/Hachette)
PB RRP $17.99
ISBN 9781907411038
Reviewed by Hilary Smillie

Amy Plum has followed her stunning paranormal story, Die for Me (read review here) with a second book which deepens the Parisian romance between Kate Mercier and her revenant boyfriend, Vincent Delacroix and plunges further into the mystery surrounding his supernatural world. Once again the cover is beautifully crafted and mega-appealing.

Revenants have an irresistible urge to die after saving a human life, but Kate, with her misery over her parents' deaths the previous year still fresh, finds it appalling that Vincent has to repeatedly die, even though he will slowly resurrect by the third day. When Kate decides she would rather be alone than to be attached to someone who will die over and over again, Vincent makes a vow to her that he will do his utmost to resist the compulsion. This goes against every fibre of his "unbeing", the urge equating to a drug addiction.

Vincent spends time apart from Kate in search of a solution, but it is evident that whatever he is doing is knocking him about physically. His strength is waning, he has dark circles under his eyes and mysterious bruising. He won't reveal to Kate what is the cause behind it, so Kate decides she will do her own research and investigating to come up with a better, less gruelling answer.

Two new revenant characters, Arthur and Violette, aristocrats who died in their early teens around 1500 have prominent roles in the story. They have come from their medieval castle in the Loire Valley to help the leader of Paris' revenants, Jean-Baptiste, develop strategies against the numa, the enemies of revenants. Because of their huge experience over the centuries, and also Violette's expertise on revenant history, they are very highly regarded by the other revenants. However, Georgia, Kate's sister dislikes Violette intensely and Kate is wary of Arthur. One sister will be proved right. In the meantime, Violette befriends Kate and wins her confidence while Georgia is hoping Arthur will fall for her.

Although the story opens with Kate practising defence exercises in case of a numa attack which occurs soon after, the progress of the story is fairly pedestrian for a good third of the book, although there are lots of kisses and romantic moments between the two protagonists which no doubt will delight the target age group. 
Nevertheless, interest is definitely whetted by the many questions requiring answers and by Kate's personal quest unfolding. She is unaware of how dangerous her mission is, but it is soon clear she is antagonising the enemy. She has discovered someone who could help Vincent, and the numas are aware of it.

As Until I Die heads towards conclusion, the pace is dramatically increased and readers will not be able to turn the pages fast enough. Surprises are in store and the ending confronting. I think Amy Plum has more to tell us about the paranormals of Paris.

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