Beautiful Dead: Jonas by Eden Maguire
Series: Beautiful Dead #1
Release Date: March 2010
Publisher: Sourcebooks, Inc.
Darina has just entered the world of the Beautiful Dead. A world that contains four of her classmates…her dead classmates, including her boyfriend Phoenix. This world is supposed to be secret from those of the living, but Darina makes a deal in order to be the exception. She must help solve the mysteries that surround each of her classmates’ deaths.
Jonas was the first to die and the first to need her help. Darina must discover the real reason that Jonas crashed his motorcycle, causing his death and crippling his girlfriend. He was an experienced and cautious rider, could Jonas have really been driving too fast and risking himself and his love? Or was there something more that happened on that tragic day? And more importantly, will Darina be able to discover the truth and finally allow Jonas to pass on in peace?
The Short of It: This is one of those liked, but didn’t love. And honestly, it’s really hard for me to say why. There was a lot of potential, but it kind of fell short. I felt like the world could have been fleshed out a bit more, but it was still a decent read overall.
Plot: I will warn you, that you are instantly thrown into the plot. There is no introduction, no hello this is where you are…you’re just there. I know many have not liked this, but I didn’t mind it too much. Although, I was a little confused as first and had to go back and reread a few pages to understand what was going on. And I really do wish things had been fleshed out a bit more, but I’m hoping the future books will help with that issue. Other than that, I thought the plot was an original concept; I would have never thought of making zombies beautiful, intelligent, and almost like they had been before they died. The mystery behind the deaths is interesting, although, Jonas’ death was a little predictable. Then again, I’m not sure it was supposed to be hard to guess as Darina was calling it long before the end of the book. This book is truly just one slice of the pie and am I interested to see where Maguire plans to take it.
Characters: I’m sort of indifferent when it comes to the characters. I didn’t feel like I got to know them well enough to care what did or did not happen to them, especially Jonas. I mean, I didn’t want him to disappear without having his mystery solved, but I also wouldn’t have cried any tears if he had. And he seemed like a nice, loving boy, but I never felt like I knew him. To me, he was some casual person I knew in passing and nothing more, which made me a little sad since it was his book.
Honestly, I think the book focused a little too much on Darina and Phoenix – like it was really more their book and Jonas was just in the background. Still, I’m not sure I really know them. Darina is close, but I’m still not sure what really makes her tick. I want to know if there is a reason, beyond Phoenix, that she’s willing to help them out. I just wanted more about her and her life in general. Right now, she feels more like someone who is just there to fill a role – not a true character, but I have hope that that will change as the books progress.
Romance: This one is really hard to talk about. After all, by the time we meet Phoenix he’s already dead. It is obvious that they care a great deal about each other, but their time together is very limited. What we learn about their relationship is mainly through Darina’s reflections on the past, which I’m not sure if it can be taken as accurate or a girl in love shading the truth. Although, you can tell that Phoenix is protective of her and wants her to be happy. I only worried that in his new zombie-state the emotions he sends are not real. There have been several hints at that, but it’s impossible to say for sure.
Before I move on I do want to mention Jonas and Zoey’s relationship. What tiny bit we saw of it was truly sweet, but tragic. He truly did love her, even if she did doubt it a little after the accident. Although, I think deep down she knew he did. It was a relationship that seemed to be blooming and was kind of sad that it ended before it really began. I am glad that she was able to find closure though.
Writing: I didn’t think the writing was bad. Some of the descriptions and dialogue felt silted, but nothing that made me shout and scream in frustration. I know I had a couple of eh moments, but nothing that had me ranting.
Librarian-Mode: This is a hard one for me. It’s unlike any zombie book I’ve ever read, so I’m not sure the normal zombie-lovers would like it. There’s no gore or brain eating here. I don’t really think this book can sit neatly in a niche, but I would try recommending it to other paranormal lovers.
You can see other reviews by tour participants at the Teen Fire Ning