I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.Deja Who? by MaryJanice Davidson
Narrator: Nancy Wu
Series: Insighter #1
Published by Recorded Books on September 15, 2016
Genres: Urban Fantasy
Length: 8 hours 9 minutes
Narrator Rating: B
I was pretty excited about reading Deja Who? and I’m struggling to keep that excitement from impacting my overall impression of the story. I enjoyed the book, laughed a lot more than I expected, but was also a little disappointed.
Leah Nazir is an Insighter. Reincarnation is her business. But while her clients' pasts are a mess, Leah's is nothing short of tragedy. She's been murdered. A lot. If left to that bitch, destiny, it'll happen again. Leah wants to know who's been following her through time, and who's been stalking her in the present...
P.I. Archer Drake has been hired by Leah's mother to keep an eye on her. But the more time he spends watching, the more he finds himself infatuated. Before long, he even finds himself agreeing to help find the person who wants her dead. Over and over again.
Now going full-on "rewind," Leah hopes it can stave off the inevitable. After all, she's grown fond of this life - and even fonder of nerdy Archer. But changing her pattern means finding out who her killer is today. And as Leah fears, that could be anyone she has come to know and trust. Anyone.
- I loved the concept! There’s always been a part of me that liked the concept of reincarnation, so this world where people are aware of their past lives resonated with me. I like that there’s an end goal in mind – you want to reach rasa for tabula rasa, “blank slate” – and you achieve it by fixing past mistakes.
- The world – this goes hand in hand with the the concept, but deserves further notice. In this world where people recognize past lives, there are a group of people called Insighters. They have the ability to see people’s past lives, not just experience their own. As such, they are respected in both the medical and legal community – able to help people, much like therapists in our world; or alert law enforcement to bad apples (such as Jack the Ripper, reincarnated). Very cool element, I thought!
- I really enjoyed Leah Nazir, the heroine of Deja Who?. Because of her past lives, she’s become aloof and most would describe her as a cold-hearted bitch. And in a lot of ways, they’d be right. But she does have another side, which is unlocked by Archer Drake. He’s someone she sees a life-blind – they can’t see their past lives and neither can Insighters like Leah. For her this is refreshing. I enjoyed the impact he had on her, the way she would laugh more, smile, relax.
- Archer had that impact in general actually. I’ll have more on him in the What Could Have Worked Better section, but I did love the way he made me laugh! The quirkiness of their relationship was fun to read.
- The narration was, for the most part, really enjoyable too. Nancy Wu does a good job with showcasing the personalities of the different characters and I her pacing worked well with my 2x speed. My only complaint is Archer’s voice… and I can’t decide if that complaint is because of what I didn’t like about him or the cause of what I didn’t like about him. Overall, a B narrator for me. Once I’ve read more with this narrator I may feel differently; it might have been the character and not the narration.
What Could Have Worked Better
- While I liked the world, once I got it, I spent quite a bit of the book confused. Insighters, how past lives are revealed and understood, being “life-blind”… none of these elements are really explained. You just gradually figure them out.
- My confusion extended to Leah’s fear of being murdered. There’s a section where her past lives are explained and yeah… I did NOT get the explanation. I was so confused. It was explained in Leah and Archer’s quirky way and while that’s fun, it leaves room for confusion. I have to admit, I’m still not sure I understand how she knew she was supposed to be murdered and what happened to her in her past lives.
- Archer. *sigh* I loved him for his quirky humor. But he didn’t feel like he had ANY real substance to him besides that. I mean, yeah, he’s a good guy. But who is he really? He just felt a little blank. That may have a lot to do with his past lives – as we understand it throughout the book,”life-blind” – but for me, I need my characters to be complete. I don’t like a dependence on past lives to make a full person. Did the narration add to this? Maybe. Or maybe she was just doing a damn good job reading who he is. I’m not sure.
- I was not a fan of the way things played out with Leah’s mother. The relationship was needlessly full of animosity and stupidity, IMO. I mean, she calls her mother “It” for goodness sake! Her mom is not a great person, but I never felt that her behavior warranted the treatment she got from Leah. It definitely helped complete the bitch persona. If it weren’t for this element of it, Leah would have been a home run character for me.
- I know from reading Kimba’s review (the reason this book ended up on my TBR), that the print version has fairly extensive introductory notes from the author. The audio version does not have those and since Kimba found them interesting and recommended reading them, that was a disappointment for me.
I will plan on continuing with the series as there is lots of potential for where it could go and I do like the foundation and the quirkiness. Hopefully I will enjoy a second book more with the world being clearer from having read the first book. And I do enjoy a good laugh, which Deja Who? was full of!
Deja Who? Wasn't what Berls expected, but was good fun! #review #coyer Click To Tweet