On the whole, I thoroughly enjoyed this book, though I did have a few beefs. First, the fact that it's in third person. It's just a preference of mine to read first person POV, because third leaves me feeling disconnected from the main characters - like you never truly get inside their heads. But again, that's a matter of preference.
Second, maybe it's because I'm in the critique stages of my own WiP, but I found myself terribly distracted by the number of passive verbs used in this novel. Each time I came across a sentence like "Violet was turning...", I found myself mentally crossing it out and replacing it with past tense. Revision-induced neurosis, I suppose.
Third, and I'm sure this one is purely idiosyncratic, but having seen Willie Wonka and the Chocolate Factory more times than I can count, the main character's name kept making me think of the line, "Violet, you're turning violet, Violet!" I know, now I'm just nit-picking.
Nit-picky details aside, the story pulled me right in. Here's the synopsis:
Violet Ambrose is grappling with two major issues: Jay Heaton and her morbid secret ability. While the sixteen-year-old is confused by her new feelings for her best friend since childhood, she is more disturbed by her "power" to sense dead bodies—or at least those that have been murdered. Since she was a little girl, she has felt the echoes that the dead leave behind in the world... and the imprints that attach to their killers.
Violet has never considered her strange talent to be a gift; it mostly just led her to find the dead birds her cat had tired of playing with. But now that a serial killer has begun terrorizing her small town, and the echoes of the local girls he's claimed haunt her daily, she realizes she might be the only person who can stop him.
Despite his fierce protectiveness over her, Jay reluctantly agrees to help Violet on her quest to find the murderer—and Violet is unnerved to find herself hoping that Jay's intentions are much more than friendly. But even as she's falling intensely in love, Violet is getting closer and closer to discovering a killer... and becoming his prey herself.
Moreso than the murder mystery, my favorite part of the story was Violet and Jay's budding romance. Which leads me to another small complaint - there is absolutely no description of Jay's physical traits. No mention of hair color, eye color, etc. We know he's good-looking because girls fall all over themselves when he's around, but is he Alex Pettyfer good-looking, or Rick Malambri good-looking? Couldn't tell you. Even with Violet, for the longest time we only know that she has dark, curly hair.
I suppose the physical descriptions aren't really important, though. There's a ton of heat between these two, and that's really all you need to know. When they finally acknowledge that something more lingering beneath the surface of their friendship, I almost cheered. It's sweet and romantic and realistic. And their second kiss practically sets the pages on fire. You go, Kimberly Derting!
The mystery portion of the story is neither predictable nor inventive. It IS suspenseful, but if the story had been solely about Violet and Jay falling in love, I wouldn't have missed the rest, since I'm a such romance junkie. The scene where they face down the killer is totally riveting though- especially when Violet senses a brand new echo and you're thinking, Oh my God, if that echo belongs to who I think it belongs to I am so going to die...
At least, that's what I was thinking. Between the tension and the butterflies, I put this one down feeling satisfied, and I'm looking forward to reading the sequel, Desires of the Dead. Though quite honestly, I hope there's equal time dedicated to the desires of Jay and Violet, too!