Release-Day Review: Déja Who by MaryJanice Davidson (Insighter #1)


Deja Who by MaryJanice Davidson // VBC ReviewDéjà Who (Insighter #1)
MaryJanice Davidson
Published: Sept. 6, 2016 (Berkley)
Purchase: Book Depository or Amazon
Review source: copy provided by publisher in exchange for an honest review

Reviewed by: Amy

Rating (out of 5): 4.5 stars

The theory goes: Everyone has a past life. Taking it a step further, there are people, Insighters, who are born with the ability to see people’s past lives. Leah Nazir is one of the best Insighters in the business. She helps people whose past lives may be giving them problems in their present life. Just because Leah is an Insighter doesn’t mean she’s problem free. In fact, Leah’s been waiting most of this life to be murdered, as she’s been murdered in various lives of her past.

That is, until Archer Drake enters the picture. He’s a PI who has been hired by Leah’s mother to keep an eye on her. What piques Leah’s interest right away about the sweet, silly, keeps-a-running-tally-of-all-the-jobs-he’s-had PI is the fact that Leah can’t “see” him. Life-blind is what the Insighters term it. People who are unable to see their own past lives. But those who are opposed to the Insighters’ reign of knowledge believe there may be people who are tabula rasa: clean slate. Archer throws Leah’s beliefs into a tailspin, and not just because she’s instantly attracted to him either. Now Leah’s questioning her resolve to just sit around waiting to be murdered again. But does she, or can she, change the cycle?

MaryJanice Davidson does a great job kind of reviving the reincarnation trope. I absolutely love the idea of people’s past lives and the way it’s presented here Is. So. Interesting. What we see in Déjà Who is the idea that people cannot get away from their pasts. That who they were will continue to directly affect who they are and who they will be. We see through Leah’s various clients that this statement rings pretty true. But then Leah is thrown for a curveball when she meets Archer and very subtly we begin to see a different side to things as Leah comes around too. It’s very cleverly done.

The sardonic, jaded, kooky humor was spot on for me. I laughed out loud at quite a few placed while reading, but I would understand how some people might be put off by Leah’s chilly exterior. I felt like this was a book where you needed to get and stay in the flow of the story to really appreciate the whip smart dialogue going on.

I didn’t really even mind the insta-love between Leah and Archer. For me, the idea of them not being drawn to each other right away would have been completely out of context for the overall tone of the book.

I generally loved everything about this book. But as I’m sitting and writing out this review, I start to think back on some plot holes/inconsistencies. This happens mainly with Leah’s past lives. When we actually learn about some of Leah’s past lives, all of those lives don’t actually meet that fate (to give credit some do), but I feel like if your heroine has a fear of death because she’s been going through it for centuries, then we should get more examples than what we’re given within the story.

Regardless of some of the inconsistencies, this was a very interesting, engaging read. The balance between history and ruminations on nature vs. nurture (or past lives vs. present) kept me hooked. The fact that it was downright hilarious in parts helps a lot too, and I cannot wait to see where Leah finds herself after events that take place in Deja Who.

Sexual content: sex

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