Monday, 6 December 2010
MG Monday: Review: Beautiful Dead: Phoenix by Eden Maguire
Series: Beautiful Dead
Author: Eden Maguire
Publisher: Hodder Children's Books
Publication Date: 7 Oct 2010
Synopsis: From Amazon
Darina is in denial. Even after all she’s been through, the Beautiful Dead can’t be real. They must be a figment of her grief-stricken imagination. But visions of Phoenix and Hunter prove otherwise and soon she’s drawn back to Foxton, to the barn, to Phoenix - where they have, what may just be, their final reunion.
It’s the moment they’ve been dreading - time to solve Phoenix’s mystery. Everything has been building to this but Darina knows that revealing the true circumstances of Phoenix’s death will lead to their final parting. With this impossible mixture of emotions, Darina begins to unscramble the facts, but she’s up against mounting obstacles: the distraction of Hunter’s personal mystery, Phoenix’s returning father, threats of gang violence and conspiracies to blur and block the truth.
With time pressure mounting and the risk of Phoenix being sent back into unending limbo, Darina puts herself in danger, and so the mystery of the Beautiful Dead builds into a heart-breaking climax ...
I have to say I dropped everything else to read this last installment of The Beautiful Dead. I started it with some trepidation knowing this would be the last time I would read about Hunter, Phoenix and Darina. The narrative was tension filled from the very beginning. I had to pace myself in order to fully appreciate the book and prolong having to part with Phoenix.
So much more of the back story to Darina and Phoenix is revealed in this book, giving resolution to an number of plot threads. Contrasting descriptions of events from various characters mixed in with conflicting personalities all add up to a melting pot through which Darina has to sift in order to gain the truth surrounding Phoenix's death. With only 10 days in which to settle the problem how is Darina going to cope? The narrative conveyed the feeling that time seems to speed up when you have a deadline unnervingly accurately.
It came as a surprise that Darina and Phoenix had only been in a relationship for just over 2 months before his death. Such a short time for such intense emotions. I started to wonder just how well they knew each other. Flashbacks of their relationship added insight and understanding to the plot.
The characterisations were expanded more than the previous books, really showing all sides of the main characters personalities. Darina showed amazing strength of character via which she was able to gain some more control over her life without Phoenix.
I completely adored how dysfunctional the Rohr's were; the introduction of Phoenix's father returning to the family after he had abandoned them really rounded that side of the plot off.
The sub-plot regarding Darina's connection to Hunter is also given a skillful culmination. I really liked how Hunter's personality and interactions softened with each book allowing him to also find peace after so many years in what can only be described as purgatory.
All of the suspicions held from the previous books all culminate to a satisfactory conclusion in this book. However, I have to say that I did guess the plot and could really see that this had to be the last book when Darina had to travel back to the scene of the death as she has in previous books. Nonetheless this knowledge did not stop me crying like a big baby when I finally finished reading it.
On the whole a great series suitable for the Middle Grade age range and perfect for a light, quick read.