Dead and Beyond by Jayde Scott
Release Date: February 22, 2012
Reading level: Young Adult
Everyone keeps a dark secret. That's what Amber Reed realizes when her boyfriend Aidan turns her into a vampire against her will. When something goes terribly wrong and her friend disappears, the clock is ticking, the walls are closing in on Amber, and the stakes are getting higher as she finds herself the pawn in an ancient war between three powerful races fighting for supremacy.
Amber is about to find out who Aidan really is...and the secret is nothing she ever imagined.
-- from Author
I wasn't sure if I was going to like this book when I first started reading. I'm not sure what I had expected & I think I may have mis-read the synopsis before I agreed to review it because it's a vampire story. I know. I don't do those. Ever. But once I got into the story, I found the writing & the characters to be very entertaining.
Amber, 18-year-old recently turned vampire & former housekeeper, is stuck in a large house in Scotland while her hunky 500-year-old vampire soulmate does his bounty hunting thing in other parts of the universe. She hasn't been particularly clued in to what vampires do or much of their history so she's a little out of her depth when she's alone. Enter the dangerous ex & the mysterious disappearance of a good friend, not to mention the strange, hardcore door to the basement guarding only a rusty pile of chains. Then there's the strange apparitions of blood, whispers, & a growing blood lust that shouldn't be possible for Amber. All of it makes for a pretty fast, fun read.
One of the things that always makes me wary of young human/old vampire pairings is the tendency for the author to forget the hundreds of years of experience & life that the vampire has had. They drag him down to the teenage level as far as maturity & intelligence goes. Or they don't make a good enough case for why someone who does possess a higher maturity level & intellect would be interested in a young human. Ms. Scott avoided this problem very nicely when she gave life to Amber Reed. Not only is the girl feisty, snarky, & alluring, she's also got an excellent head on her shoulders, great self-confidence, & the ability to relate to her centuries-old love on many different levels. She is believable in the role she plays & likeable at the same time.
I loved the mystery of this story. Not just in the plot but in the settings. We are treated to the beautiful & eery Scottish countryside as well as the dark & foreboding landscape of Hell. I was impressed with the fact that there was an abundance of ambience in the story which was presented in such a way as to not bog down the fast-paced story but somehow managed to just be there.
I wasn't fond of all of the reference to making out, sexual teasing, and the debate on whether or not to have sex. I felt that a lot of it was out of place within the context of the story & sort of left me with the feeling that this is not really positioned correctly in the YA genre. It's more of an urban fantasy with younger adult characters. There was also a bit of editing that needed to be tightened up (a few problems with grammar, punctuation, & spelling; and a few missing words).
That said however, Dead and Beyond is a very well-written book with relatable characters against a very moody, beautiful backdrop. I will probably, at some point, go back & read the first 3 books in this series to answer some of the questions I had.
About the Author:
Jayde Scott is a psychology graduate and writer most notable for creating the Ancient Legends series. She lives in London with her family and is a huge fan of baking chocolate cake and listening to indie music.
Find Jayde Elsewhere:
Jayde Scott Blog
Facebook | Twitter | YouTube
Purchase Dead & Beyond:
Amazon | Barnes & Nobel
Where are you from?
I’m British, but I’ve lived all over the world. So I consider myself a bit of a nomad. My home’s wherever my heart is.
Tell us your latest news?
I’m currently in the process of migrating and learning a new language, which is tough but also a very interesting experience.
When and why did you begin writing?
As soon as I could spell. I used to read a lot of romance novels (think Barbara Cartland and Sandra Brown) and rewrite the ending.
When did you first consider yourself a writer?
Because I used to spend most of my spare time writing, I’ve always considered myself a writer at heart. When I became published, I just changed my status from querying/unpublished to published.
What inspired you to write your first book?
It was a novel called The Queen of the Damned by Anne Rice. I loved that book so much, I couldn’t wait to start working on my own vampire novel. That one’s still gathering dust in some drawer.
Do you have a specific writing style?
Like most writers, I do. I prefer first person past tense and have a tendency toward description and sarcasm. My first draft tends to be rather verbose, but I have an editor who’s not afraid to cut.
Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
Ghosts exist and they’re not always good…or so I believe.
How much of the book is realistic?
The haunting poltergeist parts are based on research, so I’d say that’s pretty realistic.
Are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
My romantic chick-lit novel, The Divorce Club, is pretty much based on my own experiences with dating and cheating. But I tend to stay away from heavy topics in my paranormal romance series, Ancient Legends. So, Dead And Beyond is pretty much fantasy, but I wouldn’t mind meeting a handsome, blue-eyed vampire like Aidan though.
What books have most influenced your life most?
Definitely The Lord of the Rings trilogy. Tolkien has taught me so much about description and character development, he’s basically shaped my writing. Also Anne Rice. Without her inspiring books, it might have taken me a while to realize that writing about vampires, fallen angels and demons is what I want to do in life.
If you had to choose, which writer would you consider a mentor?
Tough one, but I’d have to go with Tolkien.
What book are you reading now?
I’m currently reading and editing my new scifi novel, which is the first book in a new series, which shall be out by September. Editing takes so much time that I don’t have the time or energy to read anything else.
What are your current projects?
The fifth book in the Ancient Legends series, Forever And Beyond, which follows Amber and introduces a few new paranormal elements and lots of dark magic and betrayal.
Do you see writing as a career?
Definitely. I see it as a job and try to treat it as such. However, most of the time it doesn’t really work because life and other commitments come in between.
Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?
I think it’s always been there. I loved books as a child, particularly their smell, and begged my mother to teach me to read before I started school. Whenever I loved a book, I would reread it countless times to remember the passages that fascinated me. And then I would try to write something similar.
Can you share a little of your current work with us?
My most recent book is Dead And Beyond, which is a paranormal romance slash mystery. Having just been turned by her vampire boyfriend, eighteen-year-old Amber Reed is bestowed with the ability to see ghosts. Between trying to figure out how to control her bloodlust and solving the mysterious disappearance of a friend, Amber realizes someone wants to step into her shoes so badly, they'll do anything to take her place.
When one secret after another pops up, the only person who believes her is her enemy, Devon. Amber can't figure out if he's here to help or save his own immortal race from losing the ancient war against the vampires. What she does know, however, is that she can't resist his good looks just as much as she can't help becoming someone else...
In a world of dark magic and ancient enemies, three powerful courts fight for supremacy, and Amber might just be the pawn in winning this war forever. But how's a girl to survive when everyone wants her dead?
Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?
Not editing while I write. It takes me forever to finish a chapter because I’m a compulsive perfectionist who keeps rewriting and tweaking until I feel everything’s the way I want it to be. I know you shouldn’t edit while you write but I just can’t help myself.
Who is your favorite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work?
I’d say Tolkien and his talent for world building and fantastic characters. He can fill page after page with the most beautiful description and prose.
What was the hardest part of writing your book?
Writing the last chapter. I always get emotional and have a hard time finishing the last chapter.
Did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it?
Don’t wait for inspiration to find you. Write even when you don’t feel like it.
Do you have any advice for other writers?
See above. Also, continue to work on improving your style and prose.
Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
Thank you so much for reading my books.
*Disclosure of Material Connection: I am a member of Reading Addiction Blog Tours and a copy of this book was provided to me by the author. Although payment may have been received by Reading Addiction Blog Tours, no payment was received by me in exchange for this review. There was no obligation to write a positive review. All opinions expressed are entirely my own and may not necessarily agree with those of the author, publisher, publicist, or readers of this review. This disclosure is in accordance with the Federal Trade Commision’s 16 CFR, Part 255, Guides Concerning Use of Endorcements and Testimonials in Advertising*