A review/critique of J.F. Penn‘s supernatural thriller: Desecration
I must say, I am a little disappointed that the cover was changed. The old cover (lower right) was artistic and awesome, so much so that I wish I had a print version of it. I feel the brightness and colour contrasts made it stand out from other thriller covers. This one (left) looks similar to many other books, and I usually dislike faces on covers–I build up an image in my mind of the characters, and an image feels intrusive (I picture Jamie a little older and less perfect-looking). However, I do like the colours and the images of the statue and graveyard, and the cover certainly does give potential readers a good idea of what’s inside.
Thriller is not a genre I normally read in (although I do sometimes read psycholigical thrillers), but the subject-matter: grave robbing, dissecting bodies, and body modification are things I find enthralling, and I do like horror as long as it’s not too gory. I have seen reviews of this book state that it was too gruesome, but I was okay with it…highly disturbing, yes, but I like that in a book. This novel did not disappoint–those topics were well-expolored, gripping, and kept me turning the pages.
The book is fast-paced and there truly is never a dull moment. I very much enjoyed the relationship between Jamie and her daughter, and I found certain scenes very moving and emotional (big lump in throat). I felt Blake, the psychometrist, was a well-developed character and his backstory was captivating. Jamie, too, is fairly well-developed, but I would have enjoyed more backstory with her, too. (Perhaps there is more in the next two books?) I also would have enjoyed the backstory to be delivered as flashbacks, as this is a great way to change “telling” into “showing”, and brings even more life into the backstory.
I have a rather annoying knack for predicting what’s going to happen next in books, as well as working out secrets the author does not want the reader to uncover until later on. However, I was not able to do that with this book; there were many surprises and twists that I never saw coming.
There were a few points when I felt like Joanna was holding back, censoring herself. The scene at the Tortue Garden…the imagery was amazing, and I found O riveting and wished there had been even more about her, but I felt the prose was a little stiff and hesitant.
I was also a little thrown by one of the interactions between Jamie and Blake, where Jamie’s response to Blake was quite volatile and seemed to come out of nowhere. I felt like more background was needed to understand her anger towards him.
What I loved, however, is that the two of them did not hop into bed together. Many authors do this to spice things up, but I much prefer sexual tension to be built up to breaking point in books. Delayed gratification is far more spicy! (Say what you want about Twilight, this is certainly one thing Stephenie Meyer knows how to do.) There are still at least 2 more novels in the series, so I’m eager to see how the relationship between Jamie and Blake develops.
The next book in the series, Delerium, explores the history of madness. As well as suffering from mental health issues myself, I’ve also studied pyschology at university and I find madness and the mind fascinating, and am very excited to read the next book in the series, which looks even more compelling.