Review: Velveteen by Daniel Marks

8 September, 2012 Reviews 5 comments

I received this book for free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Review: Velveteen by Daniel MarksVelveteen by Daniel Marks
Series: Standalone
Published by Delacorte Books for Young Readers on October 9th 2012
Pages: 447
Genres: Horror, Mystery, Paranormal Fantasy, Young Adult
Format: eARC
Source: NetGalley
Amazon Good BooksBook Depository

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.

Perhaps Velveteen’s biggest draw is it’s dark, gothic atmosphere and creepy world-building.  Marks employs a great deal of imagination in the ashy, creepy world of Purgatory.

Velveteen herself was one of the bigger draws in the novel.  With enough attitude to sink a ship (probably the Olympia, ’cause let’s face it – the Titanic would be kind of a cheap shot) and a personality that fills up the novel, she adds charisma and character to a world that is often difficult to visualize due to its sheer volume of weirdness and eccentricity.

Unfortunately the other characters tend to get a shorter end of the stick.  There simply isn’t enough room for them in this novel to compete with the badassery that is Velveteen.  Thus anything that happens to them loses impact because it’s more of a diversionary side-show rather than the main story on offer.

But what Marks does well and does to great effect.  It’s like Neil Gaiman and Tim Burton had a love child and that love child wrote this novel.  And Look, I know I had this same theory about Kevin Herne when it came to Joss Whedon and Jim Butcher – but that doesn’t make it any less true.

What I would have liked to have seen was more clarity and a better descriptive process when it came to the actual world and people of Purgatory and how the ghosts functioned.  Sometimes it felt very vague and it was hard to grasp what Marks meant and the images that Marks was trying to portray.

Marks has also tried to add a romantic level to this story through the character of Nick.  There were some aspects of the relationship I liked because I felt like Velveteen’s mental well-being was often depicted through her interactions with him.  But as a character, he was strangely flat and mostly uninteresting.  So those who enjoy a fiery, passionate romantic side-tale, may find themselves a little disappointed.  And those looking for a adrenaline-filled, thrilling, intense revenge story may get caught up in the minutiae of  the story which focuses more on Velveteen’s personal demons than actually enacting her revenge of the serial killing psychopath who murdered her gruesomely.

Still, I thoroughly enjoyed this novel and can’t wait to read the next one.

Kat Kennedy

Kat Kennedy

Co-blogger at Cuddlebuggery
Kat Kennedy is a book reviewer and aspiring author in the Young Adult genre. She reviews critically but humorously and get super excited about great books. Find her on GoodReads.
Kat Kennedy

5 Responses to “Review: Velveteen by Daniel Marks”

  1. RadiantShadowss

    I’m reading this now. I have similar concerns about the world of Purgatory (how long has Velveteen been there? She seems so young to have so much responsibility!). And the fact that you foreshadowed a lack of revenge seeking on her killer makes me sad. I’m only about halfway through though, so I’m interested to see how she tackles those inner demons!

  2. cynicalsapphire

    Hmmm, I didn’t have those same issues with the world building or Nick. Ah well. Velveteen was definitely one of the most badass heroines of the year. 🙂

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