By Daniel Marks
Available now from Delacorte (Random House)
Velveteen (usually called Velvet) did not die easily. She was tortured to death by a serial killer she calls Bonesaw. And, well, it's left her a little cranky. Her job in the afterlife is to retrieve lost souls and help prevent the destabilization of the City of the Dead. But she can't help breaking the number one rule: no haunting. Because she can help his future victims . . . and help Bonesaw to his own grave.
I'll point out the same thing almost every other reviewer has pointed out: VELVETEEN is much more about the City of the Dead and the potential revolution brewing than it is about Bonesaw. I, for one, was relieved. The few details Daniel Marks gave about Bonesaw have stayed with me and I'm perfectly happy not knowing more. Plus, the city was really interesting. Marks worldbuilding is very well done. He sets up a bunch of questions to be answered in the sequel, but still delivers a complete story in VELVETEEN.
While I may have some issues with the blurb, the title is perfect. VELVETEEN really is Velvet's show. She is not nice. She's angry, defensive, and has a biting wit. (Understandable.) At the same time, she's very responsible and a decent leader. She's motivated to do well at her job and she takes care of her crew. She's capable of caring for people, but she doesn't let anyone in easy. Her coworkers are her new family. But she does pretty well by them, even if she's still pretty mean.
I liked Velvet's relationship with Nick, the new guy. They're instantly attracted, but not instantly in love. The relationship is further complicated when Velvet becomes Nick's boss, making him firmly off limits. And as responsible as Velvet is, she does have trouble with the rules.
VELVETEEN is a morbidly entertaining read with a fabulous protagonist. I'm certainly going to read the sequel, because I love Velvet in all her prickly, flawed glory. I'm quite fond of the bureaucratic afterlife as well and I'm interested to see the consequences of the events of VELVETEEN on the current system in the sequel.