Review: If I Should Die by Amy Plum

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Rating: 4 stars
Pub Date: May 7, 2013
Publisher: HarperTeen
Genre: Young adult paranormal romance (sub genre: zombies)
Format/Source: ARC, obtained at TLA
Status: Book 3 of the Revenants trilogy (aka The End)

I will not lose another person I love. I will not let history repeat itself.

Vincent waited lifetimes to find me, but in an instant our future together was shattered. He was betrayed by someone we both called a friend, and I lost him. Now our enemy is determined to rule over France’s immortals, and willing to wage a war to get what they want.

It shouldn’t be possible, none of it should be, but this is my reality. I know Vincent is somewhere out there, I know he’s not completely gone, and I will do anything to save him.

After what we’ve already fought to achieve, a life without Vincent is unimaginable. He once swore to avoid dying—to go against his nature and forsake sacrificing himself for others—so that we could be together. How can I not risk everything to bring my love back to me?

First, let me state that I was given an advanced copy of If I Should Die by the publisher at TLA last week, and in exchange, I'm reviewing it.

Second, if you have not already, get your butt over to Epic Reads ASAP. Why? Well, duh, they posted the first 84 pages, of course! And yeah, there's some squishy-feeling-inducing-squee-worthy moments in that excerpt. Come back when you're finished and have sufficiently cooled down. I'll wait.


Welcome back! Now, since this is the final book in the Revenants trilogy, and I'm going to mention moments from the first two books and the shorts, I'm just going to stick the whole thing under the cut so as to not spoil moments for anyone who has been living under a rock and hasn't read any of the books yet. IISD spoilers will be at a minimum.

If I Should Die picks up right where Until I Die left off in all its heart-wrenching glory with everyone trying to figure out what to do with Vincent gone. On the one hand, I really liked that Vincent's physical and occasional spiritual absence forced Kate to woman up and do a lot of things on her own. I do like that Amy wrote Kate with some major ladyballs. I mean, the girl just doesn't quit. She refuses to accept anything less than all effort expended and every option explored. Plus, she's super smart but humble enough to ask for help. All excellent traits for any heroine to have and Kate's got 'em in spades. On the other hand, the romantic (or maybe just smut-lover) in me seriously missed Vincent's physical presence because dang. He is just too perfect, and I really missed all the making out.

...Or DID I? You all know to what I'm referring because you just read it. All I have to say is poor Jules. I kinda think shame on Vincent and Kate for asking that of Jules. Regardless of awareness of his feelings, there are just things that you should never ask your best friend and I'm pretty sure possessing his body so you can comfort your girlfriend is at the top of that list. I do have a couple of complaints for IISD and one of them is that Vincent, who kind of DIED at the end of Until I Die is so much more present than Jules. Team Vincent vs Team Jules aside, Jules is an awesome character, and I really wish Amy had used him a bit more. I have never really considered the series to be much of a love triangle (simply because I don't think Kate ever sees Jules as a viable romantic option and as the series is set from Kate's pov, it's hard for me as a reader to take a different view from her first-person narration) so I think Jules should have stuck around IISD more. I feel pretty unresolved where Jules is concerned, but I hold out hope that maybe one day Amy will go back to the revenants and give us more Jules. *crosses fingers*

One of the best things about the entire series is the incredible supporting cast. Kate's family is AWESOME. I get really tired of the ya trope where familes are clueless at best and horrific and evil at the worst. Mamie and Papy are so caring and so interested in their granddaughters' lives in addition to having their own. I love how concerned they are about the whole "my granddaughter is dating a zombie" thing. Papy has a lovely quote on page 71 stating, "I know that Vincent and his kind are here to help humanity. That he's one of the good guys. If it weren't for the fact that being close to him and his kindred put you in danger, I would count it an honor to be associated with them. But your safety means the world to me, and that changes everything in my mind." HALLELUJAH! Finally, a parental character in ya with some common sense! Or at least the strength of character to insist that their child be honest and forthcoming with information. Georgia is likewise a wonderful character. I know its hard for her because Kate does receive more attention than she does at times, but Georgia, rather than pitching a fit, tries to support her sister to the best that she can. She sees the events of Die for Me as her fault and attempts redemption. Plus, her small arc with Arthur had me in stitches.

As for the revenants, they're all great. Vincent and Jules are perfection incarnate, of course. Ambrose is the funny muscle, which is a character I always adore. Jean-Baptiste, Gaspard, Charlotte, Arthur, Genevieve, even Jeanne (not a revenant, but she belongs) all have their individual niche to fill and they do it so wonderfully and completely. They are a created family, a found family, and yet, I don't feel that they are too tied up in that family persona. They all remain intrinsically individual without losing any identity to the group like I feel Charles did.

Now, just like with UID, IISD is a bit of a mystery, but if you really pay attention, you should be able to figure out some of the puzzle pieces before Kate does. The clues are all there. Both Bram and Jeanne have a real, tangible purpose to the story instead of being background characters and both lead to the solution of the puzzle.

The end of the book is a bit chaotic, but that's to be expected with any sort of epic good vs evil battle for the planet, particularly when narrated in first person. I recommend having tissues at the ready because Amy does not wrap things up prettily with a bow by glossing over casualties of war. It's bloody, it's messy, it's real. My heart completely broke several times, but I was so okay with it because I thought the conclusion displays so much conscious effort to be realistic. Other than less Jules than I would like, my only other complaint is that one arc DOES wrap up prettily with a bow (or at least swak...), which seemed a bit too convenient, but I don't think many will mind.

The way the story concludes makes me think that although Kate's story may be over, I can really see other revenant stories taking shape from the ashes of IISD, no matter if they tell about the other French revenants or some of the other international bardia that appear along the way. I can only hope that it happenes. If Amy chooses to write any other stories set in the world, I know I'll definitely read them and like it!

P.S. I would just like it said that I asked Amy if I could have Jules. She told me yes. Let that be the end of any sort of where-is-Jules-now-and-what-is-he-up-to debate. The answer is that he's in Texas and he's busy. With me. ;)

Recommended for: Romantics, fans of kickass heroines
Not recommended for: Anyone tired of the paranormal romance genre

Book Links:

About the author:
Amy Plum is the author of the DIE FOR ME series, a YA trilogy set in Paris. The first and second book, DIE FOR ME and UNTIL I DIE are international bestsellers, and have been translated into eight different languages. The third book, IF I SHOULD DIE will be released in May 2013.

Amy grew up in Birmingham, Alabama before venturing further afield to Chicago, Paris, London and New York. An art historian by training, she can be found on most days either daydreaming or writing (or both) in a Parisian café.
Author Links:

I have in my possession several signed IISD bookmarks. Sorry I don't have any copies of the book, but Amy's signature on her limited-edition bookmarks is good too. :) Open internationally.
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  1. gerorgia ... is a funny character .. i like her .. is unique
    thanks for the giveaway
    almendra in the rafflecopter

    1. I think Georgia is great too! Thanks for entering!

  2. Looking forward to jumping into the series to learn about the characters. Haven't met them yet, so I can't pick a favourite! (:

  3. This comment has been removed by the author.

  4. This giveaway is next on my TBR :)