I'm a goodreads refugee. I read horror, classics, literary, science fiction, YA, weird, regency romances, historical fiction, history, science, fantasy and random bits and pieces of every genre, it seems like. I don't do as much reading and reviewing as I used to, but I'm trying to get back into the swing of things.
Man, I was so excited for this book. Honestly. I was so excited to see it was on netgalley and I snapped it up immediately. I am so, so disappointed. Perhaps my excitement was the main mistake.I'll start with the positive because that's a bit easier. I liked the world building. It's not really hard when the idea of heaven/hell/purgatory is already in culture, but it was nice to have this interpretation of what purgatory would be like. The government/setup I have problems with, which I'll get into later, but the literal just aesthetic of the world is very neat. About the only character I actually liked was Fassbinder from the Paper Aviary. Not only is the Paper Aviary one of the nicer descriptions, Fassbinder was a wonderful character, even in the end. The only one I truly liked.
Now we move on to the parts I didn't like.
I don't like Velvet. She really seems like one of those people who desperately need a reality check and to be taken down a notch. She's overly selfish in addition to being bitchy and completely unlikable. She's pretty much not civil to anyone, but without the guilty/selfless charm that made me adore some "bitchy" female protagonists I've read. Judging by the fight in which she met Nick in the trailer of the fortune teller, she's not even that great of a fighter either! Her team did the vast majority of the work and she just stood there gloating like she was the badass of the world. At least she admits her team is awesome. She'd be better if she admitted she definitely wasn't the person to be on such a team, much less a leader. Which brings us to the actual setup/government of the world.
Why in the world would you allow CHILDREN and TEENAGERS to be responsible for purgatory's safety, much less a teenager like Velvet? From the impression the author gives off, Velvet hadn't been dead very long (maybe a couple of years? Long enough to know the ropes but not long enough to not be a teenager anymore.) So why would she be a leader of a team, much less on one? Not to mention apparently Velvet broke some sort of record for the most souls ever and is their current best Salvage team which is just sad.
Speaking of teenagers, oh my god the senseless teenage rivalries that exist in this novel are on a level completely ridiculous. Isadora and her crew have no qualities except any quality that would make them disgusting to Velvet. They're literally a stereotype of the rich preppy girl that nobody's ever actually met but everybody thinks of. The fact that the rivalry between them exists is just another tribute to Velvet's complete immaturity. Why in the world would either of them even bother? Their world is kind of falling apart all around them. They just have way, way more serious things to think about. Taking that whole pointless rivalry out of the novel would have done it some favors.
The plot is hardly there until the end. I mean there's brief bits of it throughout the novel but it doesn't have the cohesive quality that I look for. The "building up" is hardly there. Something relevant happens and then there's this very, very long section of stuff that's not important to the plot.The romance wasn't good either. It was like 2 days in and already Nick was like "omg I totally love you don't you love me?". Plus I don't dig Nick. Much like Velvet he doesn't really seem to have any redeeming qualities, but I suppose they deserve each other just for that reason. But half the fun of reading romance is being into the love interest, and I simply don't get it here, not even a glimmer of attraction. It got so bad I began to even doubt Velvet's taste in physical appearance, which seems to be the only thing she really likes in him anyway by the way.
The major issue of the novel in my opinion are the characters. The Collectors are your typical over-dressed prom queen stereotypes. Luisa is the cute little child with a sweet face who's actually quite morbid. Her twin, Logan, is also young and sweet hiding a dark inclination. Quentin is your typical thin, shy guy. I imagine he's probably a geek to match. The love interest is hot and totally into the main character but doesn't really have any other qualities other than being perfect and exactly what she needs! (plus the over-dressed prom queen leader totally digs him which irks the main character). Pretty much all the adults seem to be unlikable and stern. Despite all this though, I know the young adult community will totally fall head over heels in love with it. I give it kudos for trying to be different, but it definitely didn't work out for me. If the characters had been better, I think it would have turned out quite a bit different. Also, the writing itself isn't bad at all, on a sentence basis, not looking at the plot itself. The author has a nice writing style, easily readable. The author obviously has talent. I might pick up something he writes in the future, but I definitely won't pick up another book in this series.
copy provided by netgalley. thanks!