Edition cover

  • ISBN10: 038574224X
  • ISBN13: 9780385742245
  • Hardcover
  • 464 pages
  • Delacorte Books for Young Readers

by Daniel Marks

Reviewed by Elizabeth

Rating: 4 out of 5

  • Posted 9 years ago
  • Viewed 884 times, 0 comments
  • Average user rating: (4/5)

A Purgatory you've never seen

Velveteen Monroe is dead. At sixteen, she was killed by a serial killer called Bonesaw after being kidnapped and tortured. Now, she resides in the City of the Dead, or as it's usually known, Purgatory. Something holds her back from moving on, so she becomes part of a squadron that saves captured souls used for magic that create devastating shadowquakes in the City of the Dead. They cause cracks throughout Purgatory. In her spare time, Velvet visits her killer and haunts him, destroying his stuff and freeing his other victims. Her ultimate wish is to kill him and make him pay for his disgusting crimes, but unsanctioned hauntings are against the rules and those caught are harshly punished. Aside from all of this, a faction of citizens that are calling for a Departure from the City of the Dead starting with burning effigies and quickly escalating. How they expect to accomplish this is unknown, but Velvet must stop them to save Purgatory.

Based on the description of the novel, I was expecting a book about a ghost girl getting revenge on a serial killer, which would be pretty cool. What I got with Velveteen was so much more. Daniel Marks' view of Purgatory is the most unique I've ever read. It's dull, dusty, and decaying, made up of a hodgepodge of different architectural movements. Everyone there has a job to do, whether it be fighting to free trapped souls like Velvet or something more mundane. They are productive and make a real life for themselves instead of marking time until they cross over. Even though no one really wants to be there, there is a nice sense of camaraderie between the residents. Every night, they gather for salon to perform and to share their stories with each other. Everyone is forced to be there and has something that they need to do or overcome in order to move on to the unknown. It is also interesting to see old souls in young bodies. Some people died young, but have been there for a very long time, making their level of maturity and mental age not equal to their appearance.

Velvet is a pretty cool character who is strong, no nonsense, and isn't afraid to take leadership.I like how intelligent and sensitive she is despite her hard, sarcastic outer shell. She feels an immediate attraction to Nick, but recognizes it as such and tries to push him away. I like a girl that can recognize the difference between attraction/lust and love. I also like a girl that stands up to her killer and tries to sabotage him at every turn. I do wish there was more about the serial killer because I find them morbidly fascinating. Nick is a far cry from the alpha male jerks that have become so prevalent in the genre. His vulnerability is the first thing we see because he has to come to terms with the fact the he was killed and is stuck in purgatory after he was trapped in a crystal ball. He keeps it together pretty well because he's strong and tempers his anxiety and fear with humor, but he still shows emotion and freaks out a little. This type of male love interest is so enjoyable because not all guys are borderline abusive and emotionless. Men have emotions even though society tends to mock those that don't act or think like a "manly" man should.

I love Velveteen. Although pretty long, I breezed through it in a couple days. I was totally sucked into this cool and twisted version of Purgatory. Each page that went by was more addictive than the last and I felt compelled to finish it as fast as possible. I enjoyed being confused for a couple of parts in the novel. Daniel Marks just throws the reader into the deep end of his world and doesn't spell everything out for them. I respect an author that trusts that I as a reader don't need every little thing fed to me. I am definitely reading the next book and anything else Daniel Marks writes.

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