Dead Perfect-Amanda Ashley

In Book Reviews, romance novels on August 13, 2010 at 12:28 am

Another Dying Girl And The Vampire Who Loves Her Story

Dead Perfect is the story of Shannah Davis, a young woman who is a virgin and dying, and Ronan, a vampire.  She stalks him for months trying to work up the courage to approach him because she is convinced he is a vampire and can save her life by making her immortal. When she does finally go to his home to find out if what she dreams of is true, she finds that the vampire won’t admit he’s a vampire and won’t help her.  However, she falls down the stairs as she’s leaving his door, and he takes her in to help her.  He becomes enchanted by her and begins to do the only thing vampires aren’t supposed to do:  fall in love with a human.

Ronan is a romance novelist who has written under various female names for decades.  This is a bit tongue-in-cheek for a romance story, but it seems less that when the reader looks at the back of the book where the usual picture of the author is.  There is no picture of Ms. Ashley, nor is there one online, even on her (?) myspace.  Could it be that Dead Perfect is a tiny window into the life of a male romance writer using the pseudonym Amanda Ashley?  I don’t know, but I suspected the characterization of Ronan was too cute by half even before I did a little searching online.  Ronan is an alright romantic hero.  He’s not great, but he’s alright. He meets all the basic qualifications: he’s good looking, charming, protective, takes care of business, and loves the heroine.   But his occupation just seems too contrived.

Shannah is the typical sick-girl-who-falls-for-a-vampire-heroine, except for her being a virgin.  Ashley seems to want to hit all the romantic formula buttons with this character.  A virgin?  It’s the 21st century.  This isn’t even realistic since she’s a young woman who has lived on her own for a number of years.

The bigger issue is the sick girl thing. It’s become quite the rage for this type of character to be involved with vampires in romance novels.  Perhaps it’s because vampires can give them what other men can’t: a cure for their illness (almost always terminal) and a life afterward.  Whatever the reason for the popularity of this story device, it gets old after the fourth or fifth time it shows up in romance novels. And the heroine’s behavior never rings true.  Whether she is having sex like a porn star, verbally sparring with the hero, or storming away after a fight with him, the sick girl always seems to be entirely too active for a sickly creature.  Shannah does get stronger because of her drinking Ronan’s blood (unbeknownst to her), but the sick girl theme still seems hackneyed.

The dialogue in this story is cringeworthy, but not in the same way that J.R. Ward’s Brothers’ words are difficult to read because no man speaks that way.  No, the dialogue that Ashley puts into her characters’ mouths is just stilted.  Nothing they say seems to flow quite right.  This could be from the overuse of exclamation points, especially in Ronan’s parts.  He seems a bit too excitable in his speech for a vampire, who are generally pretty cool customers.

The biggest issue the book has is that it goes a full 300+ pages before the two main characters have sex.  Ok, so the book isn’t supposed to be erotica, but over 300 pages? And then they only have sex once they get married, which involves the planning for the wedding, the days up to the wedding….ugh! The sex is lackluster, at best, also. The reader waits all that time to see them finally get together and gets this:  “She lifted her hips to receive him, moaned with pleasure as his body became a part of hers. They moved together, slowly at first, and then with greater intensity as the passion between them grew stronger, deeper.” And there’s some mention of the sex being just as her mother had promised.

Dead Perfect isn’t a very good romance novel.  Ronan is ok as a hero, but he needs more romance and sexiness around him.  The sick girl thing is done, and the dialogue isn’t believable.  What could save it is some great sex, but even that doesn’t happen.


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