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Wednesday, 10 March 2010

Review: Beautiful Dead - Book 1 - Jonas by Eden Maguire

Something strange is happening in 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. Rumours 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 echo inside her head...And then one day Phoenix appears to Darina. Ecstatic to be reunited, he tells her about the Beautiful Dead. Souls in limbo, they have been chosen to return to the world to set right a wrong linked to their deaths and bring about justice. Beautiful, superhuman and powerful, they are marked by a 'death mark' -- a small tattoo of angel's wings. Phoenix tells her that the sound of invisible wings beating are the millions of souls in limbo, desperate to return to earth. Darina's mission is clear: she must help Jonas, Summer, Arizona, and impossibly, her beloved Phoenix, right the wrong linked to their deaths to set them free from limbo so that they can finally rest in peace. Will love conquer death? And if it does, can Darina set it free?

This is a fantastic mix of genres, you can classify it as a supernatural murder mystery. Written in first person narrative from Darina's point of view. It has intrigue and tension from the 1st chapter. Darina is only allowed to keep seeing her dead boyfriend, Pheonix, if she helps solve the mystery surrounding the deaths of all 4 of the Ellerton High students, starting with Jonas who was the first to die.
The storyline really draws you in, lovely background details are given adding to the plot. An interesting and, in my opinion, far nicer interpretation of the zombie myth.
The idea that love transcends death is comforting. There is a lovely quote from Kim, Darina's Psychiatrist:
words don't cover grief we don't have the vocabulary to express it
There are sudden points of action throughout the book which can be quite surprising. The ending came as a surprise. I have always been very good at guessing the guilty person and had no problem guessing the correct person this time, but the consequences were the surprise. I have a feeling that the plot is building into a crescendo with the last book, Pheonix, having a major plot twist. My advice, keep reading the entire series, it is worth it.


  1. I have this book. I've had it for awhile. I bought a pack of books together and this was one of them. I wasn't in any rush to read it.. But this is the second good review of it I've seen of it recently. And it may have been pushed up the pile a little bit.

  2. Hi Clover,
    I really enjoyed the first 2 the other review is coming shortly. Let me know what you think when you read it :)


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