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Deja Who (MaryJanice Davidson)

Deja Who (An Insighter Novel) - MaryJanice Davidson
2.5 stars

MaryJanice Davidson is a new-to-me author. I know that she has released a long-running series, Undead, but this is my first experience with her writing. I wonder if this is a common writing style for her, which probably … because despite my liking the idea of urban fantasy with reincarnations, the execution – a.k.a the writing style – just doesn’t work for me.

In this world that Davidson creates, 70% of the population can remember some or all of their past lives. Then there are the Insighters, people who remember their past lives perfectly and can also see other people’s past selves. Leah is one of them and she works to ‘help’ her patients remember.

Like I said, I really LOVED the idea!! It was unique! However, as I continued reading, I found reading descriptions about past lives of Leah’s patients to be dragging and boring. Turned out I didn’t really care that they used to be rapists, or murderers, or killed, because it felt repetitive when they were either doing the same thing now, or denying who they were which made them end up as Leah’s patients in the first place.

Then there was the premise of Leah trying to find her killer in the present time – which to me, was never fully manifested because I got distracted by irrelevant chapters of characters in their past lives (Mary Jane Kelly, Isabella Mowbray, Louise Élisabeth de Croÿ) … Do I care? Uhm, no!

And don’t get me started with Archer Drake, the P.I. hired by Leah’s mother to keep an eye on her. I found him to be incompetent because he was distracted by his feelings for her (and her looks) even before he finished the job. How could I take him seriously when he commented about Leah’s boobs when she stabbed him? It wasn’t a funny line for me, at all.

But the biggest problem for me with this story was, like I said above, the writing style. There were a LOT of internal musings (with italics) in between descriptions … which I found to be distracting as hell. Examples…

Leah couldn’t help but be pleased that the only two people in her life she cared about
(you haven’t even known him a week! how is that ‘in your life’?)
seemed to be getting along. Sharing carrots, even. (Ugh.)

That was about all Archer had time for while Leah was backing him into the empty living room, snogging him
(mental note: stop watching so much BBC)
like she was—ha, ha!—gonna get murdered tomorrow. Or something. One of Elaine’s lines from Seinfeld
(God, is that why I’m crushing so hard on Leah? She reminds me of a dour Elaine? God, what if she dances as horribly as Elaine does, the whole ‘full body dry heave set to music’ thing? that would be so hot)
flashed through his brain: “We made out like our plane was going down!”

Maybe this was meant to be funny and quirky, like Leah calling her mother “It”. But I prefer a smooth, sharp, writing style rather than ‘funny’. It is difficult for me to make an emotional connection with these characters and care about them because reading in this way just paints the characters as silly. Like, I’m supposed to laugh because of its quirkiness but it never reached that point. I don’t know if it has something to do with a different humor culture considering that I’m not an American … but I definitely didn’t enjoy this at all.

I assume maybe Davidson fans will enjoy this. Or those who like a little strange way of storytelling in their books. I still appreciate the idea though. Maybe I’m just not the target market for this, so I will go on to say the magic words of “your mileage will vary”.

A Guest Review for The Blogger Girls

The ARC is provided by the publisher via Netgalley for an exchange of fair and honest review. No high rating is required for any ARC received.