Velveteen's opening scenes were brillant - frustrated over Bonesaw's nonchalance over being haunted, Velvet can't help but flash back to when she was being held captive. While flooding his kitchen, her worst fears are realized when she sees that he has brought home another victim, and has them tied up in his shed. But before she can reek further havoc on Bonesaw, she rushes back to Purgatory before her absence is noted as hauntings are forbidden - something about their "bad energy" causing trouble in Purgatory. It's not until about halfway through Velveteen that we get to see Bonesaw again, so to say my disappointment was great is an understatement.
I could have forgiven Velveteen's misleading blurb if I had enjoyed the direction the plot took - that of a revolution happening in Purgatory, where unhappy souls called Departurists sought to flee Purgatory permanently Unfortunately, I found Marks left too many holes in the world-building. How long has Velvet been in purgatory? Why is she given so many responsibilities at such a young age? How can someone so young hold the Purgatory record for souls collected - 57 - when Purgatory has been around for thousands of years? Why does it seem like hers is the only Salvage team in all the Latin Quarter? How many districts comprise Purgatory? What was the point of Salon? When people are hurt in Purgatory, causing their memories to leak out, why does no one seem to experience any signs of memory loss? Why do Shadowquakes show up so quickly, if it's tied to malicious intent? Shouldn't their be a gradual buildup of shadows invading Purgatory? I was always on the edge of being sucked into Velveteen's story, before being shuttled back into reality when I stumbled upon another hole.
Marks also had the strangest tendency to include a "you understand" at the end of certain passages.
"She gave him a reassuring smile and patted him on the shoulder...or right about where his shoulder would have been had he not been see-through, you understand."
It was such a jarring experience, as it took away from Velvet's first person narrative, and replaced it with a big brother-like feeling. It was almost like someone else was reading Velvet's story and inserting their thoughts every so often. I didn't understand its point, and after the first half of Velveteen it was noticeably absent, like Marks realized it shouldn't have been included to begin with.
One thing I did really enjoy though, was Velvet. She was confident and self-assured, sarcastic and bad-ass. She was mean to people, in order to keep them at a distance, but she opened up to those she really cared about. She had an amazing ability to set aside her emotions in order to get the job done, except when it came to Nick. Which made for some pretty funny moments.
"His cocky smile, the way he deflected stuff with humor, everything about him was wrong for her. If anything, he'd have to settle for her eyes wandering over his body. And that face and those eyes. And the way he was tracing the indents between his stomach muscles."
"His smile was unforgettable and unfortunate. It was the kind of smile that made knees shake, wicked and divine. Velvet clutched the railing and waited for the weird feeling shuddering through her to abate."
Unfortunately the other characters weren't nearly as memorable. Nick was constantly described in terms of his physical attributes, other than being young twins with old souls, I couldn't tell you anything about Luisa and Logan, and I had forgotten about Kipper until he made a brief reappearance at the end. Even Bonesaw was lacklustre, as his presence was minimal and unthreatening.
The romance, though passionate and heated in the face of being forbidden, was nothing more than insta-love, the plot had sections that dragged on so that I had to force myself to keep reading, and the twists with the Departurists were predictable. So even though Velveteen had a very promising blurb, it did not live up to most of my expectations.