Monday, October 15, 2012

Velveteen by Daniel Marks

Velveteen by Daniel Marks
Release Date – October 9, 2012
Publisher Website –  Delacorte Books for Young Readers
Publisher Social Media -  Twitter
Pages - 464 pages
My Rating- 3/5
**obtained from publisher for an honest review**

Here is the Goodreads synopsis
Velveteen Monroe is dead. At 16, she was kidnapped and murdered by a madman named Bonesaw. But that’s not the problem. 
The problem is she landed in purgatory. And while it’s not a fiery inferno, it’s certainly no heaven. It’s gray, ashen, and crumbling more and more by the day, and everyone has a job to do. Which doesn’t leave Velveteen much time to do anything about what’s really on her mind. 
Velveteen aches to deliver the bloody punishment her killer 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 cracks the foundations of purgatory and jeopardizes 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.
I am sure I am not the first reviewer, nor will I be the last to say that the synopsis is misleading. A story of a serial killer’s murder victim getting revenge while stuck in purgatory sounded amazing. The plot has more to do with the delicate balance in purgatory and what would happen if that balance is broken. A focus on the turmoil that can be caused and the destruction resulting from vengeful spirits.

The novel started out captivating. Velveteen’s frustration at not unsettling Bonesaw with her haunting efforts and her almost manic need to save future victims were palpable. I was fully invested in Velveteen’s mission to save the girl, enact vengeance, and would have loved to focus on that. Perhaps it just wasn’t the plot for me, because I would have gladly had the story be about Velveteen trying to out smart Bonesaw with a countdown on his next victim.

The setting of this novel is quite vivid. The ashen landscape filled with drab grey coloring is all too easy to picture. The world of purgatory is one of the novel’s stronger points. The ideal that purgatory is built, cared for and not just a resting place on the journey to crossing over was intriguing.

Velveteen is pretty much your typical teenager. She’s moody, stubborn and snarky. She leads her team with confidence so that they do what they need to. I didn’t overly connect with her, but did enjoy her at some points in the story.

The introduction of Nick, the gorgeous and off limits new member of her team, sent her character into a more romance focused mindset. I wouldn’t call this insta-love, but it was most definitely insta-lust which felt normal for teenagers.  As a teen you often feel so deeply and quickly.

Logan, adorable in his Grover costume, and his twin sister Luisa pack a surprising amount of skill for children their age. I enjoyed them, but found myself curious as to why children so young would be responsible for protecting purgatory. It felt off, and as a result I had a harder time getting into the story.

The descriptions of Bonesaw and his depravity (particularly against Velveteen) were shudder inducing. The entire Bonesaw storyline was dark, as it should be. I have somewhat of a morbid interest in what makes someone do they things they do, and I feel Marks captured the normalcy these killers tend to display on the outside.

For all of the dark and disturbing that happens in the story, it has a surprising amount of humour weaved in. Darkly humorous is the perfect way to describe this story. Daniel Marks has a macabre sense of homour that comes thorough effortlessly.

The unresolved storylines left at the end of the novel certainly set up a sequel, however, I felt a few of them should have been handled as part of this novel. A particular storyline involving the main “plot twist” is left completely unexplained with our heroine musing that she’ll “ask about it later”. There are some other things discussed in the novel that never weave into the main plotline fully that are introduced early on.

Dark, creepy and, at times, darkly comedic Velveteen offers something different for those wanting it. I, unfortunately, wanted a little more, and felt some of the plot should have been expanded on more.


  1. I am not a fan of writer's piling up conflicts to be resolved in the next book, that usually ends up chaotic.

  2. It seems like every reader has been slightly disappointed or mislead because of Velveteen's synopsis. So I'm definitely glad that I've done my research and will know better what to expect if I do pick this up.

    Sorry you didn't like it as much, though, Kathy!


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