Friday, April 13, 2012

Dead Rules by Randy Russell

Title: Dead Rules
Author: Randy Russell
Release Date:

When high school junior Jana Webster dies suddenly, she finds herself in Dead School, where she faces choices that will determine when she, a Riser, will move on, but she strives to become a Slider instead, for the chance to be with the love of her life--even if it means killing him.

Love wasn't all red paper valentines and candy hearts. Sometimes love was despair. and sometimes love was wrong. Jana loved Michael enough to kill him for it. Jana loved Michael to death.


Dead Rules has sort of a psychological thriller vibe to it. Yeah, not my usual daily read but not any less entertaining.
When the book first started, I was confused. I didn't realize that Jana was in the Dead School, I honestly didn't think that she would be the one to die either. Sometimes I don't read the back off a book because I want to be surprised when something happens. For this books, though, i did read the back and what I discovered was just a cryptic little paragraph thing. "Love wasn't all red paper valentines and candy hearts. Sometimes love was despair. and sometimes love was wrong. Jana loved Michael enough to kill him for it. Jana loved Michael to death." I thought Jana going to go psychotic and murder her boyfriend. Turns out that I was wrong.
Anyway, throughout the book the author introduces a bunch or characters from the Dead School and with each new character, a story of their death follows. in a way all the deaths seem sort of Final Destination with the spontaneous way they happen. One minuet you're riding a motorcycle, the next, half your face is smeared across fifty feet of asphalt... What really sucks for the people of the dead school is that however they look like when they die is how they look for the rest of their afterlife.
Well...onto slightly less morbid topics...
Jana is the main character of the book. Her death the product of a practical joke gone awry, but that's all the detail that I'll give you about her death. (You guys can find out more if you read it and if you have read it, then you know what I'm talking about.) To me, Jana seems slightly disturbed, mentally speaking. Something about her seems off when the author focuses around her thoughts. She has this insane idea that because she died, her boyfriend can't live on with out her. The very thought has her convinced that she has to kill him so they can live together at the dead school. Yeah...insane with a capitol "i".
Mars isn't your typical bad boy... at least not totally. Most of the students at the dead school see him as incorrigible and all around bad news because he is a Slider. Sliders are people who died while doing something bad and they are closer to earth then the Risers (people who died that aren't Grays, Virgins, or Sliders). Anyway, what some of the other students don't see is that he is more than just another rule-breaking Slider, but I'll let you see what I'm talking about by reading the book... overall, Mars is smart and determined. He has a habit of thinking about others since his death and that had really changed him and made him drawn him and Jana sort of closer... no matter how in denial she can be.
Avra is the kind of person that is 100% by the book. She's very disapproving of the Sliders and Jana's association with them throughout the book. She can sometimes get annoying with her "Better-not" attitude and way of trying to tell Jana what to do but she's just trying to look out for others.
Wyatt is Mars's best friend in his afterlife and it's easy to see why. With only half a face and a bad limp, he can still be funny and occasionally upbeat despite his grotesque looks.
The last character i'll talk about is....wait for it....Michael. He's still alive, don't worry. Anyway, I'm not going to go into a lot of detail because of later events. Michael seemed like a good boyfriend, from Jana's memories. Loving, loyal and all that good stuff. They seemed perfect together and they were widely known around there school and town as Webster and Haynes. It makes Jana's death all the more tragic.
As much as I liked the book, the Dead School didn't make a lot of sense. I mean, I get that it was is was designed to make dead kids to feel "normal" but where do all the dead people go who are to old for the high school scene. Not all of them can be teachers...right?
Moving on from that short rant. The ending for this book was as good as an ending can get. It ended in a way that gives the reader a sense of closure without there needing to be a sequel. But, that doesn't mean a sequel wouldn't be welcome. There's a lot of things that would be great to expand on (Mars and Jana in particular).
Well, on that note, I'll end this review by saying this book deserves the rating of B- because despite the few things I may not have liked about it, there were a lot of good things, too. The whole story was like mystery mixed with a psychological thriller mixed with a horror. Recommended for anyone who thought this book was interesting either because of my review or the synopsis, anyone who likes a good ghost story/ romance and/or someone who, like me, is/was looking for something different to read.

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