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Review: Velveteen by Daniel Marks

Velveteen by Daniel Marks
Young Adult, Ghosts, Supernatural
Release Date: October 9th, 2012
Hardcover $17.99 (464 pages, DELACORTE)
Ebook $10.99

At sixteen, Velveteen Monroe was kidnapped and murdered by a madman named Bonesaw. But that's not the problem.
The problem is she landed in the City of the Dead. And while it's not a fiery inferno, it's certainly no heaven either. Grey, ashen and crumbling more and more by the day, and everyone has a job to do there. Which doesn't leave Velveteen much time to do anything about what’s really on her mind.
Velveteen aches to deliver the bloody punishment he deserves. And she's figured out just how to do it. She'll haunt him for the rest of his days.
It'll be brutal...and awesome.
But crossing the divide between the living and the dead has devastating consequences. Velveteen’s obsessive haunting could actually crack the foundation of her new world, not to mention jeopardize her very soul. A risk she’s willing to take—except fate has just given her reason to stick around: an unreasonably hot and completely off-limits coworker.
Velveteen can’t help herself when it comes to breaking rules . . . or getting revenge. And she just might be angry enough to take everyone down with her.

Author Site: Blog

A Twisted Genre-Breaker Lacking Substance to Justify Length (3 stars)

The City of the Dead, an ashen realm beyond death but neither heaven nor hell, is home to a motley assortment of tweens, teens, and adult outcasts. Velveteen Monroe found herself in purgatory after meeting a brutal end at the hands of a serial killer known as Bonesaw. Now it's her job to keep the order and balance of souls along with her team of misfits. Except Velvet has been slipping into the mortal world to wreak havoc on her killer, to rescue his latest victim.

When her team is sent out into the mortal world to bring lost souls to their rightful place, they discover a mass conspiracy that's threatening the fabric of the City. Saving a lost soul who becomes part of her team, a soul that Velvet is drawn to against her better judgement. VELVETEEN gives a somewhat dystopian look at the afterlife and dribbles a tidbit of romance on top.

It isn't often that I read a book I just really don't want to review because even though I didn't dislike it, I can't think of anything very favorable to point out. VELVETEEN is one of those genre-breaker type books that is both great and bad at the same time. The world is never fleshed out well enough to cover the mass of questions raised about it from page to page and while it's one readers will definitely get into it might not leave them satisfied. On the one hand it makes sense since Velvet herself doesn't know all the answers but it feels less like a lack of knowledge and more like Marks' world would fall apart if too many details conflicted each other.

Velvet and her crew are okay. It's hard to really care about their ultimate fates when there's no real knowing what happens to them if their spirit selves 'die'. The part of Velvet's story I was most excited about ended up not being the central story, so without spoiling anything... don't expect this to focus on her revenge against her killer. The romance was also pretty blah. Other than being dead teenagers there was nothing about Nick and Velvet that logically drew them to one another. It felt a little rescuer-worshippy on the part of Nick. In the end the story was unmemorable, the characters even less so. It read very much like someone asked 'what if...' and then spilled a bunch of answers which then spawned more 'and then what if...' answers barely strung together by a loose thread of 'because it's a YA novel'.

As a whole it wasn't a horrid book, just long, overly drawn-out, lacking in memorability, and ultimately not something I can think of whom to recommend it to. I think the target audience might find it a little bit like it talks down to them and adults will find it unrewarding for how long it is. Definitely don't read it expecting it to be about Velvet's revenge, that's a very minor plot point that will get resolved but you'll have to read all 400 plus pages to get there.

Other Reviews:
Experiment BL626 on Goodreads
Sony the Book Lover
Tom Ryan on Goodreads

Notes: ARC received via NetGalley.

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