The Delphi Room is unlike any book I’ve ever read. I think it’s one of those books that you’ll either really like or really hate depending on if you enjoy the writing style. Luckily, I was in the mood for this type of book and the writing style captivated me from the beginning. Then again, how can it not when the first line of the novel is: “My mother was on her way over the day I hung myself”
Velvet is one of the most wonderfully flawed characters I’ve ever read about. And she makes no apologies for it. She is haunted by the Shadowman, a deliciously creepy specter that hangs around and makes her do terrible things. Like hang herself. After she commits suicide, she suddenly finds herself in her childhood bedroom, with one dress and no way to get out. Believing that it is hell, she spills her inner thoughts to her neighbour Brinkley, who is in the room next to her. Brinkley and Velvet see scenes from each other’s tragic pasts in their ‘hell mirrors’.
There was something so beautiful about their relationship and the parallels between their lives. I don’t really know how to describe how I felt as I read, but it was a mixture of discomfort and interest. Their lives have not been easy or pretty. But there is still something about reading about the drama of people’s lives when it is dealt in such a way that interests me to no end. However, the themes this novel deals with made me a little bit uncomfortable at the same time. No child should ever have to experience what Velvet or Brinkley experienced, and perhaps that is why we get glimpses into their lives as adults. If any one of us heard Velvet’s or Brinkley’s story, we would automatically label them insane. Stalked by a Shadowman? Deeply in love with a 1920s actress who appears to you and urges you to do terrible things? Psych ward.
The ending killed me. If you’re looking for a happily ever after, where both Velvet and Brinkley get out of hell and meet one another in real life, look elsewhere. The ending was completely ambiguous. It reminds me of the ending of Inception, where the top just keeps spinning, so you don’t know if it’s real life or not. Total mind fuck. So you’re left to wonder if Velvet and Brinkley made it out of hell/wherever they are. And you have no idea whether or not they’ve conquered their demons, or if Brinkley is even real (though his story did seem pretty real). It was beautiful and unique (I’ve gotten over my disappointment quickly).
I’d recommend this book to anyone who is looking for something different and unique. 5 stars.