Author: Yvonne Woon
Release Date: September 21, 2010
Page Count: 455
Chapter Count: 20
Named Chapters: Yes
Renee Winters was a typical, sunny California girl until the day she discovered her parents in the redwood forest, dead in what appeared to be a bizarre double murder. Now her grandfather has sent her to Gottfried Academy, an old-fashioned, elite boarding school in rural Maine.
Soon, Renee uncovers the school's dark secret: students have died in the exact same way as her parents, but none of the teachers will talk about it.
Most perplexing of all is the behavior of an elusive, devastatingly beautiful boy named Dante Berlin. He never speaks to anyone besides Renee, and seems by turns fascinated and unsettled by her. When they are together, Renee feels more alive than she ever has before.
Even as she falls in love, Renee realizes that being with Dante is dangerous. Possibly deadly. A future without him seems unthinkable. But is true love worth dying for?
This book was completely different then what I was originally expecting. Ms. Woon has managed to weave a tale that I did not see coming. It had me guessing for a good part of the book, wondering what the heck was going on with everything and how everything fit in together. However, after some things were finally explained, it was extremely easy after that to put everything together and there really wasn't much of a 'surprise ending' left for me. The things that should of been shockers... just weren't any more. After finding out what Dante was, it was WAY to easy to figure out what it was that connected him and Renee together.
The character development was really good. You can tell that there was a good amount of time spent on trying to figure out, 'who' these people were, and 'what' their story was. As well as how they all fit into one another's lives. I enjoyed that. The relationships were genuine. The characters that were nice you liked and the characters that weren't necessarily the nicest you didn't like. So while there was good character development it did feel sort of cut and dry (sort of black and white). You liked them or you didn't. No real in betweens.
The story was refreshing, however. It was new and unique and it was a completely different take on some things. Things that I would have never really even thought of before. There were two things, though, that I could not get over (no matter how much I enjoyed the book).
Those two things being: the LONG chapters and the ending.
It may just be me, but I like shorter chapters. It makes the story pace better for me. I would rather have a lot of (short, simple and sweet) then little of (headache inducing) chapters. There were only 20 chapters in a 450+ book. These chapters gave me headaches and really put me off. It made me read the story a lot slower then I would have, if the chapters would have been a little shorter.
And the ending of the book. It just... well to put it simply - sucked. It was bland, it was blah... it didn't leaving me wanting to rush out to the book store when 'Life Eternal' (the 2nd book in the series) comes out in February and snatch it up for myself. It was a sucky ending to a rather pretty interesting story. It made the overall rating of the book lower.
So overall, I do recommend this book, because of the new twist to YA fantasy that Ms. Woon has weaved, but beware the long chapters and rather uninspiring ending.