BOOK REVIEW: Deja Who, by MaryJanice Davidson
There’s something about Deja Who that I could easily connect to watching a four-car pile-up; you know you should stop watching (or in this case reading) but you just can’t turn away.
Now I’m going to preface this review with a disclaimer: I used to love MaryJanice Davidson. In the beginning, I loved Betsy and, despite what some reviewers say about Fred being a carbon copy of Betsy, I loved Fred. All that bitchy commentary really made me laugh. It missed the mark in Deja Who and I wanted to DNF it by around page 60. I resisted because I’ve already DNF’d three books this week. At 4 AM this morning, I wished I’d DNF’d.
Deja Who takes place in a world where most of the population remembers their past lives and rely on Insighters to help them explain their current actions – actions which are usually written off because they were a sociopath for five lives so why bother changing now?
Leah is an Insighter and she hates her job; she’s just waiting for her murderer to show up and fulfil his end of their endless cycle. But he’s late and Leah is getting restless. Her abusive mother (who has been equally as abusive and unbearable in every life) is so desperate to revive her failed screen career that she hires an amateur PI to watch Leah, finding the one anomaly in this life which could break the cycle.
Deja Who was jumbled and confused, rifled with inconsequential distractions from the actual plotline. I don’t care if her client was a serial killer or a judge in a past life, get on with the story!
It was filled to the brim with a messy, disorganised narrative that did not help the reader gather any sort of connection to the protagonists. The sequence of events jumped back and forth between chapters and perspectives – a muddled distracting non-linear storytelling style which did not work for this book.
MaryJanice’s style of writing has always read similar to Deja Who, her characters have always been witty and bitchy, and her descriptors and their inner monologue have always made for hilarious reading. This time around it was just annoying.
The characters felt very two dimensional, specifically Leah and Archer. The pair of them might have well have been the same person because their dialogue and internal monologue sounded EXACTLY the same. The number of times I had to reread a batch of dialogue to figure out who exactly was speaking which line was frightening!
Another of my major issues with this book was the constant exposition which only served to waste words and slow the action right down as soon as the writing started to “show” rather than “tell.” There was far too much time spent with characters digesting and discussing events and motivators, leaving the readers with nothing to imagine or figure out for themselves.
I was also unimpressed with the constant hinting at Archer’s past to drag out an additional book. It was annoying and completely unnecessary and only served to detract from the plotline: Leah figuring out how to break the cycle.
Let me be perfectly honest, I loved the concept of this book. It was shiny and new and I was excited about a new MaryJanice Davidson series. I also follow the author on Facebook and enjoy her daily insights into her life, which are hilarious.
Unfortunately, the execution has let me down and I won’t be picking up the next book. I am also beginning to wonder if maybe I have simply outgrown MaryJanice’s writing style. To figure that out, I’ll have to pick up another of her books but I’m not willing to do that at this moment.
Deja Who, by MaryJanice Davidson
SERIES: Insighters #1
GENRE: Paranormal Romance/Urban Fantasy
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