Kiss Kill Vanish
by Jessica Martinez
Publisher - Katherine Tegen Books
Release Date - October 7th 2014
Buy - Amazon | Book Depository
Valentina Cruz no longer exists.
One moment, she was wrapped in Emilio’s arms, melting into his kiss. The next, she was witnessing the unthinkable: a murder in cold blood, ordered by her father and carried out by her boyfriend. When Emilio pulled the trigger, Valentina disappeared. She made a split-second decision to shed her identity and flee her life of privilege, leaving the glittering parties and sultry nightlife of Miami far behind.
She doesn’t know how to explain to herself what she saw. All she knows now is that nothing she believed about her family, her heart, or Emilio’s love, was real.
She can change her name and deny her past, but Valentina can’t run from the truth. The lines between right and wrong, and trust and betrayal, will be blurred beyond recognition as she untangles the deceptions of the two men she once loved and races to find her own truth.
Whilst this novel had great potential, with a refreshing plotline, of mystery, love and action, it unfortunately lacked in the follow through of all those elements that myself, Tanja & Glass, and Rashika found when we group read it and discussed it through. Our rating however, decreased the more we delved into the story and depth of the characters.
At first the plotline was fairly simple, a young girl by the age of 17 (which we found out later in the novel, I'll discuss in detail later.) was a witness to shooting by none other than her boyfriend, Emilio by the hands of her father as well. So she ran, sold her belongings in order to survive in the last place she thought that they could find her... Montreal. However, her lack of ambition and energy really pulled the novel down the further we got into the novel.
Rather than doing a full-length review, we decided to discuss the book using these questions as part of reviews.
How did you feel about Valentina as a character?
Valentina is probably the most annoying, irritating and a false character that I have ever had to read. At first she seemed like this genuine poor little girl who has been through a very traumatic experience. But to be honest she is brought up in a very rich and well known neighbourhood. She isn't called Valintina Cruz for a any reason, she's daddy's little girl until she witnesses who her family really are and what they really do. These words; 'Poor Little Girl' were used constantly through our discussion of the book and essentially that is what she is.
What I never got was her attachment to this Medallion that her so called 'love of her life' taught her. She took it from Emilio when she left so she could play till her fingers burned and still be reminded of the love and beauty they once shared. But the fact remains that this event always went back to her, she had a tenancy to really over-exaggerate and whine about things which made me dislike her character even more. Valentina never really changed or progressed throughout the novel, I felt that her character was condensed of multiple personalities mixed together, there was no real sense of who she was as a person.
Was the plot well developed and believable?
At first, the plot line started out with real potential, a girl ran way from a witnessing a horrific event, now living to survive. The beginning first saw the beauty in the landscape and in Martinez's writing as well. How Valentina wanted to see the beauty in everything after the ugly she had to endure. But then it slowly declined, again it was all driven by Valentina's problems when at times I wish there was more to it. I would have loved to know more about Lucien, the artist, or Marcel, his brother but also a somewhat romantic inclination towards Valentina.
What it lacked was balance, there needed to be the thrill, the chase, Valentina's past and then love. There was too much, as if Martinez wanted to cram everything in. The ending itself ended rather swiftly, wrapped in a tight little bow not enough room for anything else.
Would I call it romance? Possibly. Would I say it my sort of romance, where it embeds itself neatly into context and leave you smiling to yourself, or in awe for the romantic gestures. No. For me it was 'meh' It sort of matched Valentina as a character, annoying. It lacked the spark or energy to thrive through the novel. What I felt was that there was a hint of insta-love throughout not just with Emilio but with Marcel as well.
Although, Emilio, her first romance seemed beautiful round the edges when we look back, however, he seemed to me like a jerk if I'm honest. When you reach a certain point in the novel, (which I can't reveal without spoiling it) you can understand him a little. But for me its a little too late by then. Now Marcel, he was unexpected, and a misguided love interest, he, in comparison to Valentina certainly had some redeeming qualities.
Describe Emilio in one word
To sum up...
Check out Rashika's review here and Tanja & Glass's review, here.
Rating - 2.5 (was originally 3 before discussing in depth)