A mostly Young Adult book review blog run by a mother and daughter team.
Ever since reading the premise for Beautiful Decay by author Sylvia Lewis I was seriously dying to start reading. I admit that what really had me interested was that the main character has a touch that can rot things (which instantly had me thinking of Typhoid from the Elektra movie) and that there would probably be some romance tossed into the mix. The novel sounded like something I would definitely fall in love with and guess what? I did!
Beautiful Decay focuses on the life of main character Elizabeth “Ellie” Miller who, for as long as she can remember, has had a touch that can rot through anything. Ellie’s ability is transmit through her hands and so to protect the world (and people) around her from withering away to nothing almost instantly, Ellie wears a pair of gloves. Everybody around Ellie thinks that she is a freak and cruelly gave her the nickname “Typhoid Mary”. Everybody is afraid of Ellie, including her own mother. It’s not until she walks into class one day and everything changes: The new boy in school, Nate MacPherson, sits down next to her.
Nate reveals to Ellie that everything she has ever believed about her ability is wrong. He explains to her that her touch is not a curse but is really a gift and one that, if used properly, can change the lives of people for the better. However Nate also reveals to Ellie that he also isn’t what he seems: He is a necromancer, a person that can work with death. Ellie is a viviomancer, somebody that can work with life. Ellie learns that there is a whole community of necromancers and viviomancer but that to exploit their abilities is practically asking for a death sentence. It’s with Nate that Ellie learns the lengths that her abilities can go to and discovers just what the world she was meant to exist in is really about.
I really loved getting to be inside of Ellie’s head because her entire life is just plain traumatic. Everybody is afraid of her, her own mother is afraid of her and is in denial about Ellie’s situation—and Ellie’s self-esteem is practically non-existent. Everybody uses Ellie as a punching bag despite the fact that she could give them flesh eating diseases before they could even notice it ever happened. Everybody keeps her at a distance and I loved it when Nate’s character tried to fix that problem in Ellie’s life. Suddenly she isn’t so alone and Nate, awkward, cute and somewhat inappropriate, as he may be was definitely somebody that I’m glad Ellie fell in love with. The two of them are in the same boat, you know?
Beautiful Decay is unique. I haven’t read a novel like it before, I mean I’ve read novels about necromancers and all that jazz before but never has there been a novel like Beautiful Decay before. All I could think while reading the novel was how cool the necromancer and viviomancer powers were and how badly I wanted Ellie to learn to control her ability and get to touch another human being. The cool thing about Beautiful Decay would have to be the necromancers and their zombies. The zombies in this novel aren’t the type you’d see on/in The Walking Dead, they still have parts of their soul… until they get too hungry and want to do nothing but tear other people open. The one zombie that we get to meet in the novel was creepy and in the scenes where she is presented as a hungry beast had me hanging on the edge of my seat.
The descriptions used in the novel during the suspenseful scenes were great. I would constantly be biting my nails and worrying for Ellie or any characters involved in certain scenes. I’d always be worried for her and because everything was written so clearly I could easily imagine the way a character would look or the setting or how something scary would go to something terrifying. Honestly I adored the writing in Beautiful Decay and I hope that there is a sequel because the ending has left me just… dying for more (was that a pun? I think it was a pun).
I’d recommend Beautiful Decay to readers that are looking for a paranormal novel that they’ll fall in love with, readers that want a novel that will teach them about self-reliance and those of us who are just looking for an addicting read.