Release date: October 9, 2012
Publisher: Delacorte Press
Source: the publisher
You can read the Goodreads summary here.
I can't think of the last time I wanted to read a book so bad and I'm very thankful an advanced copy of Velveteen showed up on doorstep. I was attracted right away to the description - Velvet, a teenage girl who has been brutally murdered by a serial killer she calls Bonesaw, lives in Purgatory now. Purgatory is a dusty, falling down kind of place where everyone has a job assigned to them. But Velvet feels her job gets in the way of what she really wants to do - go after Bonesaw and get revenge.
My initial thought before reading Velveteen was that it was going to be about Velvet getting her revenge against her killer. I expected a lot of the novel to be spent focusing on that, but ultimately I was wrong. While it was initially a little disappointing that Velvet wasn't going to spend all that much time with Bonesaw (she only ventures over there a few times in the novel) Daniel Marks totally made up for it in other ways.
First, the world building. As humans, we naturally spend time thinking about the afterlife. Is there one and what's it like? I'm sure we all have visions of how wonderful Heaven is (my version includes endless shelves of new books ripe for the reading and a never ending supply of mashed potatoes) and how horrible Hell would be (a definite lack of books and mashed potatoes.) But what is purgatory? It's a little more difficult to imagine that one. Maybe it's just plain white space? Maybe you get a simply furnished dorm-room while it's decided what will happen to you next? Maybe the mashed potatoes are made from flakes?
Daniel Marks answers all these questions in Velveteen, as he builds purgatory in a way I could have never imagined. It's made up entirely of items salvaged from the surface, buildings put together by the hands of its inhabitants, I couldn't help but picture a city of crooked buildings covered in ash, like something out of a Tim Burton movie. Marks does a fantastic job at setting scene after scene and I felt like I could easily picture the whole thing. I think this book would translate well onto the big screen.
Second, the romance. I can forgive Velvet for not attacking Bonesaw every day since she was a little busy with the new recruit to purgatory - Nick. It's obvious from the moment they meet that there's going to be something going on between the two of them. There's something attractive about Nick's carefree manner - he just died and went to this creepy place, but he's still chill and flirts with the best of them. I can see why Velvet would be attracted to him - but she's so stubborn! Velvet's personality might be off-putting if I were to meet her in real life, but as a character in this novel, I adored her. I love the way she was willing to break rules to do what she believed in.
And that brings us full circle to Bonesaw, her killer. I can't even begin to tell you how horrific the things are that he does. You're just going to have to read for yourself and be shocked. Read it, I say!
Four stars! While Daniel Marks manages to build an utterly fascinating world, the pace of the novel at points was a little slower than I would have liked. But ultimately Velveteen is an absolutely fantastic novel, perfect for this time of year. It's out October 9th and if you're looking for just one book, dark and deranged to read before Halloween, it's got to be this one. Velveteen was hauntingly gorgeous. I'm definitely on board to continue on with this series.