Book Review: Deja Who by MaryJanice Davidson

Reviewed by Ami

28186287Title: Deja Who
Author: MaryJanice Davidson
Series: Insighter #1
Heroine/Hero: Lea Nazir/Archer Drake
Genre: MF Urban Fantasy
Length: 304 Pages
Publisher: Berkley/NAL
Release Date: September 6, 2016
Available at:  Amazon and Barnes & Noble
Add it to your shelf: Goodreads

Blurb:  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.


Review: 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”.

Overall Impression: It was okay

*I received a copy of this book from the publisher in return for a fair and honest review.*

Categories: 2.5 Star Ratings, Ami's Reviews, Book Review, M/F, Published in 2016 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Post navigation

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: