Saturday, July 30, 2011

Review: Dead Rules by Randy Russell

Dead Rules by Randy Russell

Pages: 384
Publisher: HarperTeen
Published: June 21st, 2011
IBSN: 9780061986703

Jana Webster and Michael Haynes were in love. They were destined to be together forever.

But Jana's destiny was fatally flawed. And now she's in Dead School, where Mars Dreamcote lurks in the back of the classroom, with his beguiling blue eyes, mysterious smile, and irresistibly warm touch.

Michael and Jana were incomplete without each other. There was no room for Mars in Jana's life—or death—story. Jana was sure Michael would rush to her side soon.

But things aren't going according to Jana's plan. So Jana decides to do whatever it takes to make her dreams come true—no matter what rules she has to break.

One lifetime isn't enough for Webster and Haynes - the Romeo and Juliet of their time. So Jana Webster, after dying in a freak bowling accident, fully expects her boyfriend, Michael, to follow right after her. But he doesn't, so she figures that she'll have to play Romeo as well and enlists the help of Mars and Wyatt to help her go back and kill him.

Dead Rules was gruesome and hilarious, totally different to anything I've read before and a lot of fun to read.

Though at first I found some parts of the story ridiculous -- the portrayal of virgins after death, the outlandish ways some of Jana's new friends died -- I soon realised certain parts were designed to be outrageous and accepted these things as natural to the exaggerated tone.

I found myself really liking Jana even when I didn't expect to. She wasn't clingy to Michael in a girly, moony kind of way but because the drama queen in her wanted their love to be the kind of romance she sees in classic movies and plays. She was incredibly determined and theatrical, and these traits were apparent in her voice even through third-person.

I enjoyed the third-person narration -- this was the kind of story that definitely needed that style of narration to make perspective switches more smooth. The humor in Dead Rules came from the characters going about things so obviously in the wrong way, and the changes in perspective were necessary to show that.

The writing style was simple and engaging. It was well-paced, without dull moments. The tone was consistent in each characters perspective.

My only complaint would be that the ending felt like it was missing something. It did a fair job of tying up loose ends and still leaving something to the reader's imagination, but didn't address some pretty huge things that happened to the characters.

I give Dead Rules a 4 out of 5.