Author: Eden Maguire
Paperback, 288 pages
Published: Sourcefire Books March 2010 (Orginally-April 2nd 2009 by Hodder Children's Books)
Series-Beautiful Dead #1 .
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?
I loved the spin on 'zombies' in this novel and how they can't move on into the afterlife until they find closure. All of the Beautiful Dead have weird circumstances surrounding their death, and Darina gets roped into helping the dead kids from her school move on.
While it is written that Darina and Phoenix had a tight relationship, I never really got a good feel of how they were before Phoenix died. The opening of the novel just kind of throws you in and sometimes it feels like your missing parts of the story. However, the mystery and the whole 'I gotta figure this out thing' kept me hooked. Book one focuses on Jonas, and I wanted to get to the bottom of Jonas's death just as much as Darina did.
Darina is very likable, but I felt her dialog, along with the secondary characters weren't quite up to todays teen standards. That was the only thing that held me back from totally loving this story, because the plot is quite good.
I did enjoy this one, though. I found myself invested into the story and just had to find out how it ended and what happened to Jonas. Looking forward to book two!