Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire
Release date: March 1, 2010
Not alive. Not dead. Somewhere in between lie the Beautiful Dead.
Something strange is happening at 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. Rumors 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 echos inside her head...
And then one day Phoenix appears to Darina. He tells her that she must help Jonas-the first of the four to die-right the wrong linked to his death. Only with her help can Jonas finally rest in peace. Will love conquer death? And if it does, can Darina set it free?
Beautiful Dead was a lot different than I expected, I was pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed it. The beginning was a little slow, but I had a hard time putting the book down. Darina's unique and fun attitude kept the plot moving and there wasn't a slow moment. There were a variety of sub-plots and Maguire tackled the zombie idea with a new twist. The Beautiful Dead are actually a group of people, well zombies. But not just your average flesh eating zombies, the Beautiful Dead were almost normal looking with special powers. I was at the edge of my seat at quite a few scenes and I really liked the character and plot development. Beautiful Dead started off in what might seem like an awkward place but Maguire nailed it and created a haunting tale that many readers will enjoy. Phoenix was very sweet- I liked the romance in this book and Darina and Phoenix were perfect for each other. Their relationship was realistic and honest. Mystery, romance, and the undead were all tied together in this great debut.
At first, some people might be a little wary as the plot seems a little too unique, but the more you read, the more you get involved in the book. Darina is witty and in control, a refreshing character that added a lot to the novel. I liked the rest of the Beautiful Dead, even seemingly begrudging Hunter. Once you realized his reason for being angry at Darina, readers could feel for him. It was easy in Beautiful Dead to hate the bad characters and love the good ones. I also really liked the character names. They went from a range of unique to common. Phoenix, Arizona, and Darina to Matt, Logan, and Jordan.
In addition, I really like how Maguire is writing this series. The first book is about Jonas, the second Arizona, and so on- very awesome! And of course I really like the covers. They work perfectly with the book. I'm guessing that's Darina on the cover? It looks like I would picture her! Also, the font of the title is very cool!
In the end, Beautiful Dead was an original and well written novel, and I'm looking forward to reading the sequel, Beautiful Dead: Book Two- Arizona!
Overall: 4 out of 5 stars