by Daniel Marks
Published October 9th 2012
by Delacorte Books for Young Readers
I really wanted to like this book. It had all of the elements that I am drawn to - it's dark, it takes place in the afterlife, there's murder and haunting involved etc. However, the inconsistencies within the story itself quickly disabused me of the notion that I was going to love Velveteen.
Velveteen begins with Velvet, the main character, entering the home of the serial killer who brutally mutilated and murdered her. She is determined to haunt him in order to save any others from becoming his victim, even though it is against the rules of the purgatory in which she now resides.
Upon her return to Purgatory, a shadow quake rocks Purgatory's foundation and tendrils of shadow creep out to ensnare any soul it can grab and force them to envision their worst fears, traumatizing the trapped soul. Velvet and her group of salvagers must return to reality and find the dark magic that is causing the shadow quake.
So there are two very different things going on at the beginning of Velveteen, both scenarios drew me into the story initially. However, it quickly became apparent that there were some glaring inconsistencies. For example, while this is clearly a young adult book, I would think that the subject matter of serial murder and mutilation resulting in death would be better suited for older young adult readers, but then some of the silly and childish things that occur and the loose way the story is written in places almost feels like a middle grade book. But then, even this isn’t consistent. The writing style is quite odd, it almost felt like 2 different people were writing this the way the styles changed. The story certainly did not flow at an even pace and it took me a long time to finish as I kept setting the book down in frustration.
I also had a problem with the fact that Velveteen did not go in the direction promised by both the synopsis and the beginning sequence of this book. I was sorely disappointed to find that this story is less about her haunting of a serial killer and more about some disgruntled inhabitants of Purgatory called the Departurists and their wish to break free and wreak havoc. Now, I know sometimes a book goes in a different direction than it first promises, and very often that can work. Unfortunately for Velveteen, the direction the story takes with the Departurists leads only to a dead end. It doesn't go anywhere remotely interesting and there is no explanation or resolution that makes any kind of sense. I was very disappointed with this book. I think even more so because I had been so looking forward to it. I'm rating this 2 stars instead of 1 simply because I really did enjoy the beginning.
Rating 2 of 4