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.
So the summary on this one is slightly misleading, but that’s okay, because the book is so much cooler than the summary makes it out to be. Velvet is a teen who was murdered and stuck in Purgatory. She’s got a lot of anger, and she makes snap judgments of people and causes she knows nothing about, and she’s a slut-shamer in the beginning (really, WHO CARES if a girl will sleep with anyone? Is that YOUR business?). BUT she is also awesome and basically the epitome of an urban fantasy heroine. I love YA urban fantasy, especially when it is actually UF and not PNR. I read on GoodReads that some people found Velvet “too masculine,” but honestly, she reminded me of Kate Daniels, who kicks ass and takes names and doesn’t back down from a kill. I liked that Velvet wasn’t Bella Swan, that this book and its plot wasn’t just a foil for the romance. I also vehemently disagree that the book isn’t easy to get into at first. I knew before I was even a quarter of the way through that I would like it. I also don’t agree that the “horror” aspects (which I thought were pretty tame, especially if you like zombie movies)aren’t appropriate for YA. I am also confused by people who think the plot was confusing. It was very clear and interesting to me. Different strokes, etc.
Enough defensiveness. I loved Purgatory and was kind of dying for Velvet to join the rebels. We had to meander through Velvet and Nick’s love story for awhile though, which was actually quite nice and I found myself enjoying it (and wondering who the hell I turned into). I saw a lot of accusations of insta-love, and it was kinda true, but I also see these kids’ situations as different. They’re not normal. They’re not even alive. They’re not going to throw away any opportunities by marrying/having children while still young (which is why we downplay teenage relationships in the first place, right?). They’re dead. If they want to believe they’re in love after 36 hours, that’s okay with me. And maybe they are. (I told my boyfriend I loved him after, oh, a week? And it’s been four years, just saying…) Death changes people, remember? Just look at Velvet. From gothy classic movie nerd to hard-edged, slightly sadistic, slightly crazy girl. Besides, Nick seems a little more self-aware than other YA love interests. This is just YA urban fantasy at its height. I loved the setting so much, how important paper was, how origami was used as political propaganda. I liked watching Velvet’s evolution too, because she is oh, so stubborn.
Marks has a way of writing so that everything hits you like blunt force trauma–they way they describe “body thieving,” what it’s like when someone “dims,” how Bonesaw disfigures his victims. Sometimes the descriptions are gross, but they work in their context. I actually have no objections to Velvet’s voice in this one (as I have in the past with books about girls written by men), because I think Marks nails it, and also manages to make other voices sound different from Velvet’s and Nick’s. Gay people are not erased in Purgatory; Velvet’s friend Kipper is the kind of loud-mouthed gay guy that I know so many of, though I am kind of sad he’s only a tertiary character. So far, two-thirds of the books I’ve read this year have had gay characters, which makes me really happy.
It’s true that Bonesaw and Velvet’s revenge are not the main focus of this novel, though I’m sure they would be if Purgatory didn’t have terrorists and an impending revolution. Velvet is busy, but she still thinks about Bonesaw whenever she has a minute. He has a new girl in his shed, and Velvet wants justice more than ever. There’s just a lot going on. I’m sure she wishes she wasn’t a Salvage leader so she could focus on haunting, but there’s a war coming! Velvet’s temper could be tiring, but really, it serves its purpose, especially considering where she ended up and how she got there. Can you tell I feel some affection for Velvet? Maybe because I was a goth kid myself not that many years ago (luckily, I made it out alive *rimshot*).
The action in this one keeps going, and I was never once bored while reading. I really hope this one is a series or at least has a sequel, because there was so much left unsaid! Manny! Aloysius Clay! Miss Antonia! I really liked this one, and you will too, if you like urban fantasy with a hardass teenage girl leading the way. Check this one out; it came out in October, so it should be available at a store or library near you!