Review: Life Eternal

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.

Review: Life EternalLife Eternal by Yvonne Woon
Series: Dead Beautiful #2
Published by Disney Hyperion on January 24, 2012
Genres: Paranormal, Romance
Pages: 392
Format: eARC
Source: NetGalley

Renée Winters has changed. When she looks in the mirror, a beautiful girl with an older, sadder face stares back. Her condition has doctors mystified, but Renée can never reveal the truth: she died last May, and was brought back to life by the kiss of her Undead soul mate, Dante Berlin. Now, her separation from Dante becomes almost unbearable. His second life is close to an end, and each passing day means one less that she will spend with the boy who shares her soul. Just when Renée has almost given up hope, she learns of the Nine Sisters-brilliant scholars who, according to legend, found a way to cheat death. She can't shake the feeling that they are somehow connected to her dreams, strange visions that hint at a discovery so powerful, and so dangerous, that some will stop at nothing to protect it. Renée thought she knew the truth about life and death. But there is a secret woven through history that holds the only hope for Dante and Renée. Unless they find answers soon, their time together is doomed to be cut short.

Renée Winters survived her year at Gottfried Academy, but she’s quite different ever since she gave her soul to Dante and he gave it back. She doesn’t seem to feel as much anymore now that she’s apart from him over the summer and she’s having these incredibly intense dreams that may or may not be visions of the future. Because of the tragic events of the previous year, Gottfried Academy will now be the boarding school home only for the undead, so Renée is off to Lycée St. Clément in Canada, notorious and desperate to figure out how to be with Dante.

I definitely feel much the same about Life Eternal as I did Dead Beautiful. It’s fun and quick to read, but also kind of ridiculous and melodramatic. However, overall, I think I did like this one a bit better.

First off, Renée is still weird. She just never reacts to things the way a normal person would. Maybe she’s just not normal, but pretty much every time I read about how she responded to something, I’m like what the heck! For example, in the first chapter, you learn that her grandfather has been reading all her mail. And that she’s okay with that, because she knows she can’t stop him. If it were me, I would have the fight every time, because tampering with the mail’s not cool, or I would come up with some other way to get my mail so it didn’t have to go through psychogramps. Then again maybe the real reason she’s okay with it is because she snoops through his stuff too.

One of the strangest things about this book is the fact that as much as Gottfried Academy controlled the students’ every move Lycée St. Clément doesn’t seem to care at all. Renée runs all around Montreal searching for Dante and never gets in trouble for just disappearing from campus. More than once, she falls asleep somewhere that’s not her room and comes back in the morning…and no one notices. Partly because apparently at this super sweet boarding school everyone gets their own room, with bathrooms shared by only two people. At Gottfried, there was a communal bathroom in the girls’ building and one in the boys’. Weird!

What I liked most about this book was that the disgusting soul mate thing was significantly reduced. It becomes apparent that even though she thought they were perfect for one another, because they share the same soul and everything, that it’s possible she doesn’t know him as well as she thought. There’s an acknowledgment here that this is a high school relationship and that they really have not spent enough time together or talked about their pasts enough to have a healthy, trusting relationship.

Add to this a new possible love interest in Noah, a Monitor boy, and you’ve got the makings for Renée needing to reevaluate her life choices. I also love the questions raised in this love triangle. Should love be easy? Renée doesn’t think so at first, but comes to question whether the difficulty of maintaining a relationship is a sign of its worth. I love that Woon brought this up, because with so many of the YA romances, especially in the paranormal genre, teens could get the idea that true love is beset by many difficulties, and that if it’s too easy it can’t be real.

The dramatic ending left a little bit to be desired, although it definitely achieved the dramatic. It just seems like people were not as prepared as they should have been, resulting in some unnecessary and awful things happening.

Anyway, despite the many things I could rant about in this series, it is really fun to read, and I know I’ll be excited when book three comes out. I just can’t help it. Recommended to people who like the Cassandra Clare books; I always have a similar response to those.

One response to “Review: Life Eternal”

  1. Nori says:

    You definitely liked both books more than I thought you would. Yay!

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