{ARC} Book Review: Dead Beautiful by Yvonne Woon

December 20, 2013 Review 0 ★★★★

I received this book for free from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

{ARC} Book Review: Dead Beautiful by Yvonne WoonDead Beautiful by Yvonne Woon
Series: Dead Beautiful #1
Published by Disney-Hyperion on 2010 September 21
Genres: Paranormal
Pages: 464
Format: E-book {ARC}
Source: Netgalley
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four-stars

On the morning of her sixteenth birthday, Renée Winters was still an ordinary girl. She spent her summers at the beach, had the perfect best friend, and had just started dating the cutest guy at school. No one she'd ever known had died. But all that changes when she finds her parents dead in the Redwood Forest, in what appears to be a strange double murder.

After the funeral Renée’s wealthy grandfather sends her to Gottfried Academy, a remote and mysterious boarding school in Maine, where she finds herself studying subjects like Philosophy, Latin, and the “Crude Sciences.”

It’s there that she meets Dante Berlin, a handsome and elusive boy to whom she feels inexplicably drawn. As they grow closer, unexplainable things begin to happen, but Renée can’t stop herself from falling in love. It’s only when she discovers a dark tragedy in Gottfried’s past that she begins to wonder if the Academy is everything it seems.

Little does she know, Dante is the one hiding a dangerous secret, one that has him fearing for her life.

Dead Beautiful is both a compelling romance and thought-provoking read, bringing shocking new meaning to life, death, love, and the nature of the soul.

Okay, you may want to scoff at me if I tell you that I only picked up Dead Beautiful from NG because it was free and I’ve seen it on almost every bloggers’ STS posts. Hahahaha.  And I don’t even know what it’s all about since the synopsis is really vague.  So you can say that I went into it blindly and without any expectations.  And after reading it, I have to CONGRATULATE myself big time because I’ve just read my first zombie book. Bwahahahaha.

So what can I say about my experience with Dead Beautiful? Well, I can’t deny that it was really slow. Half of the book was dedicated to a giving us an elaborate walkthrough of Renee’s life before going to Maine and after she got enrolled in Gottfried Academy. And there’s also a very detailed narration of her day to day life as a new student of the school. However, I was surprised that the story managed to engage me until the end.  I love Renee’s voice. I love how she told the whole story that never for once I lost my patience reading Dead Beautiful. I even found myself enjoying attending their strange lessons.

Aside from Renee, the other characters are also adorable and they managed to absorb my attention all throughout the story. The only thing that infuriated me was that Renee sometimes loses herself when she’s obsessing over Dante.  But still, she’s generally a likable person most of the time.

I must tell you though that the greatest asset of Dead Beautiful was its plot. As I’ve mentioned, I never had an idea that it’s a zombie book and I only got an inkling after reading 60-75% of story.  The mystery was gradually revealed building tension as the story advanced. And when everything has unfolded, I was creeped out and at the same time, sad… sad for Renee and Dante. L The romance was also nicely crafted and never became overbearing. But I have a suspicion that it’s going to be the major plot driver for books 2 and 3.

Though the mysterious events mostly occurred in Gottfried Academy, I think it’s the perfect setting for the story to unfold. It’s just like Harry Potter where the most exciting things happen inside the school.

Though I enjoyed Dead Beautiful a lot, I have two regrets about it. One is that, it doesn’t have a lot of gore. Hahaha. I mean, it’s a zombie book, right?  Things should be extremely bloody and gross.  And second, there aren’t a lot of action scenes to make me pant.  Am I right to assume that zombie books should have a lot of adrenaline pumping scenes?

Overall, despite my unfulfilled assumptions for Dead Beautiful, it was undeniably an engaging read. It was creepy, mysterious and heartbreaking. As my first zombie book,  Dead Beautiful manage to deliver and made me decide to start picking up a lot of zombie stories in the near future. And it’s one series I would certainly follow until the last instalment. I hope books 2 and 3 will be able to maintain the goodness of Dead Beautiful or exceed expectations.

What about you?  What was your first zombie read?

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