Saturday, 5 March 2011
Review: The Body Finder by Kimberly Derting
Released: November 11th, 2010
Grade rating: B/B+
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, 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 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, but now that a serial killer is terrorizing her small town Violet realizes she might be the only person who can stop him. Despite his fierce protectiveness over her, Jay reluctantly agrees to help Violet find the murderer – and Violet is unnerved by her hope that Jay's intentions are much more than friendly. But even as she's falling in love, Violet is getting closer to discovering a killer... and becoming his prey herself.
I've had a copy of The Body Finder since it was first published in the US, but for some reason I hadn't felt like reading it until now. I don't know if all the hype put me off or if I just wasn't in the right mood, but all that is now irrelevant as I've finally read it. Yay! And it's a pretty cool book, right? Unusual and very easy to get lost in, which I wasn't expecting. Derting's writing is so accessible, and I can honestly say not one single part dragged. It was smooth sailing from the get-go!
The whole concept of Violet seeing and hearing echoes is fascinating to me, as I've always had an interest in stuff like that. I haven't come across anything like it in YA fiction before, and that's always exciting. The sense of something new and unexplored kept me reading well past my bedtime, and I think most of that was down to Derting's talent to withhold information. Even after finishing the book I still have many unanswered questions, and I'd love to know more about the origin of Violet's strange gift. I'm hoping this might be addressed in future books in the series, though I'm not sure. Maybe her ability to sense echoes is an unexplained phenomena that just is. Hmm, I think I'll have to stop speculating and see what Desires of the Dead has in store for me.
Aside form the echoes and crime element, I also really liked the relationship between Violet and her best friend Jay. It's nice that she's known him forever, and is only now seeing him as more than a friend. I've read so many paranormal romances recently that I've become accustomed to a hot stranger walking in a room and MAGIC!, he's in love with the female lead. Reading a natural romantic progression was refreshing, and though Jay hasn't made my list of all-time favourite YA boys, I did like him. What can I say, he was just too authoritative for me. If I was Violet, I definitely wouldn't have put up with that, let me tell you.
I did have one niggle with The Body Finder, and it's that attempted sexual assault occurs, is acknowledged and then kind of brushed under the carpet after being referred to once. Now I'm not one to go on about this subject when discussions arise all over the place, but in this instance I have to mention it. I can't see what purpose the scene had in Violet's story, nor how it added to anything going on. Her friend tries to force himself on her, and nothing is done about it - that seemed a bit odd to me. *shrug*
I enjoyed The Body Finder much more than I thought I would, and I'm looking forward to reading the sequel. However, I am going to miss the chapters from the killer's POV as they were definitely my favourite parts of this one. They chilled me to the bone, and more than creeped me out. To think people like that are actually wandering around outside isn't a nice thought, but it's one that added to the tension and atmosphere of the book. Tense and unusual is how I'd describe this one which, in my eyes at least, is a very good thing!