Beautiful Dead: Jonas by Eden Maguire

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Beautiful Dead: Jonas by Eden Maguire

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Category: Teens
Rating: 3.5/5
Reviewer: Harriet Reed
Reviewed by Harriet Reed
Summary: A gripping if unsatisfying novel about a girl and her encounter with the Beautiful Dead- a group of ghostly students who all experienced unresolved deaths.
Buy? No Borrow? Yes
Pages: 288 Date: April 2009
Publisher: Hodder Children's Books
ISBN: 978-0340988619

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The Beautiful Dead is essentially about redemption and grief, and the love that exists even when people are gone. Darina, the main character in the book, experiences all of these after three of her classmates die under strange circumstances - and things worsen when the next victim is her boyfriend, Phoenix.

Struggling to grieve when her home life is difficult and her best friend Logan is overbearing is hard enough, but when she starts to see Phoenix everywhere Darina starts to think she is mad.

By accident she happens upon an old house and barn, and meets all four supposedly-dead students and their leader, Hunter. They are the Beautiful Dead - souls that cannot leave the present until the mystery surrounding their deaths are solved. As a bargain with the fearsome Hunter, Darina agrees to be their link with the normal world in an attempt to solve Jonas' death before his time runs out, but only in return for being allowed to spend time with Phoenix.

What follows is a gripping mystery entwined with their doomed relationship. Though it takes a while to gain pace, the quest to find the real reason for Jonas' death is engrossing, as Darina gets more and more sucked into the perils of a double life. As a character she was a strong heroine, stubborn and brave, though I didn't feel enough of an emotional connection with her to care enough about her relationship with Phoenix.

As the book begins after his death, you don't get any time to establish any familiarity with him, and this makes their reunion not the sweepingly romantic scene it should have been.

I felt there should have been more twists and turns in the plot, as whilst reading the book I started to speculate surprise outcomes only to be disappointed to find out it was the obvious conclusion that the author had chosen. Though the final climax was exciting and suitably dramatic, the epilogue afterwards was just too predictable and unsatisfying, obviously leaving off for the next books in the series. For someone who may only want to read this as a standalone book, it's very frustrating.

However, I very much enjoyed the concept of The Beautiful Dead, especially the added detail of the wing tattoos each has to represent their death (Phoenix has one on his back, where his knife wound was). The idea of purgatory being a ticking clock where you have to solve any issues on Earth before leaving was very interesting, and each character has a potentially fascinating story to follow in the next books.

I felt the concept, and the possible character development is what made the book enjoyable to me. Though the plot was perhaps too simple and Darina's character a little too distant, the books have the potential to turn into a thrilling and must-read series.

I'd like to thank the publishers for sending a copy to The Bookbag.

If this book appeals then we think that you might enjoy Warriors of Ethandun by N M Browne.

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Buy Beautiful Dead: Jonas by Eden Maguire at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Beautiful Dead: Jonas by Eden Maguire at


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