May 17, 2012

Review: Desires of the Dead

By: Rachel Hawkins
Published: February 2011 by HarperTeen
Format: Hardback, 355 pages
First Reviewed: April 2011
Buy: Barnes & Noble//Books-A-Million//Amazon//Book Depository
Add it on Goodreads

The missing dead call to Violet. They want to be found.

Violet can sense the echoes of those who've been murdered—and the matching imprint that clings to their killers. Only those closest to her know what she is capable of, but when she discovers the body of a young boy she also draws the attention of the FBI, threatening her entire way of life.
As Violet works to keep her morbid ability a secret, she unwittingly becomes the object of a dangerous obsession. Normally she'd turn to her best friend, Jay, except now that they are officially a couple, the rules of their relationship seem to have changed. And with Jay spending more and more time with his new friend Mike, Violet is left with too much time on her hands as she wonders where things went wrong. But when she fills the void by digging into Mike's tragic family history, she stumbles upon a dark truth that could put everyone in danger.

Rating: 2.5/5

It's almost been exactly a year since I finished the first book, so I was a little rusty going into this. But it was easy to remember what happened in the original and who these characters were. And also what I had disliked about that book. Turns out the same things I disliked about the other book I also disliked in this one.

I love the concept. Really, really love the concept. It's intriguing to me, and I think those elements of the story (when Violet uses her gift) are the best. While I also think the plot is good, I just don't think it was "mystery/thriller" enough. It was predictable for me. I knew exactly who the mystery person was before we even got into the "mystery person sections," and I also connected all the dots very early on, so the mystery aspect just became uninteresting for me.

What else bothered me with the plot was that there seemed to be added pointless scenes here and there, and it was clear that Derting (whether by choice or because HarperCollins wanted her to) added more of the romance than was needed. It felt overdone and took away from the story. I didn't care at all about their little teenage romance tiffs. Get over it and get on with the mystery.

As for the characters, I think Violet's a decent lead, but she annoyed me quite a bit in this. She was very ignorant and naive when it came to situations where you'd expect her to be the strongest. And just when I thought she was going to become a non-stereotypical teen, she did, falling into the "I have to have sex now" thing. Good lord, that was ridiculous and a pointless scene. Anyway, when it came to Jay and the other minor characters, I really didn't feel much from them. Jay was way too "perfect," I was going to go crazy if Derting described Chelsea's personality one more time (we get how she is, okay?!), and the only truly interesting characters were two of the newly added ones. I expected more development with the characters from a sequel.

And let me tell you about what drove me nuts with the writing. You knew it was coming. Derting apparently didn't learn from The Body Finder that excessive ellipses, italics, and adverbs are unnecessary and don't do anything but drive a reader crazy...with ridiculously added...pauses, emphasis, and description...everywhere...that Seriously, though, the ellipses were insane. Drop 95% of them, will ya, Derting? Thanks. And the italics and adverbs, too. You're writing is strong enough without them.

Anyway, that stuff aside, I think Derting has great prose, but she drove me nuts when she constantly repeated herself with things like a character's personality trait or Violet's gifts. We get that she has that gift, okay? We get it! Drop it and move on with the story.

It seems like I had more negative things to say about this than positive, however, I did like this book. It was a solid read, that I almost read in one setting. I was never bored, and if Derting would have upped it just a bit on the mystery (making sure we didn't know who was doing it so early on), then it would have been really strong. And also if she would have ditched that two-page chapter when she randomly switched POV's to Jay. It served no purpose. Okay, okay, criticism aside, the elements are intriguing, the characters are decent (and even good in some places), and besides my nitpicks, the writing is good.

No comments:

Post a Comment