It’s a typical start. Young girl’s parents die mysteriously. Her estranged grandfather is now her guardian and puts her in a boarding school far from her friends. She, Renee Winters, makes a few friends but is mostly intrigued by a gorgeously beautiful male student, Dante Berlin, who ignores everyone but for some mysterious reason is attracted to her.
As the fall semester continues, the mysteries pile up with a death similar to her parents. A student is claimed to have transferred but she appears during a séance. With the aid of a lost manuscript by Descartes, Renee pieces the horrible truth together.
I found the primary characters clichéd with the lesser characters mere breaths of Woon’s pen. She did a lovely job of describing the settings though.
The dialog felt very Young Adult. Except for Dante. He came across as so much more mature…I think this is why he reminded me of Edward from the Twilight series by Stephenie Meyers. Renee was irritating with her constant whining on and on about herself. She leaps to conclusions…in less than a single bound, but then, I suppose that is what young girls do.
Further on, Woon is “intriguing” us (and attempting to create a mystery) with the “curse” afflicting the school…it’s the 20th century and “it’s the first unexplained tragedy since 1789”. Whoop-ti-do. How is this so very mysterious???
Okay, I’ve changed my mind. At first I was feeling very irritated with the book. With myself, for being so compulsive about finishing a book but, as I got toward the end, I became so riveted by the story. The last few pages in particular. I could not read fast enough. Although. I do have to wonder what was with the headmistress that she allowed one of the students for whom the school was formed to be in a position of power. Seems rather contradictory.
Woon did a marvelous job of leaving me hanging. Now, I have to wait until 2012 to find out what happens next!
The cover is odd. The setting appears to be the school grounds and I’m guessing the young girl is Renee but why she’s wearing a black tea gown with a cape is beyond me. It would have made more sense to put her in her school clothes.