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Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Book Review: Violet Wings by Victoria Hanley

About the Book -

Orphaned fairy Zaria Tourmaline suffers from having a mind of her own. Although she tries to be a good fairy, her quest to find out what really killed her parents leads her to break the laws of Feyland again and again, putting herself and her friends into the path of perils she didn’t even know existed.


Ever since the invention of guns, fairies, leprechauns and genies have been forbidden from allowing themselves to be seen by humans, a race considered to be extremely dangerous. In fact, after going missing for some time, authorities declare Zaria Tourmaline's own fairy parents to have been captured and killed by humans. Over the next three years, the newly orphaned Zaria ends up living a detached, lonely life with a distant guardian. When she receives her fairy wand, Zaria almost immediately starts getting into trouble with the authorities and endangering her friends in the process. But is she just being picked on by fairies jealous of her abilities, or are there more sinister forces at work? What really happened to her parents and why are powerful fairies trying to take away her magical powers?

Victoria Hanley wove a clever narrative in Violet Wings that expertly drew me in from the start. This novel is aimed at a younger teen audience but that didn’t hinder me from eagerly gobbling up the story in a short time period. In the alluring world of Tirfeyne, fairies have inborn, nonrenewable magic reserves which are measured in units of “radia”. Everyone is assigned a wand for performing magic and a watch for measuring radia. There are levels and classes among the fey. Those with those most magic are markedly more powerful and respected than those with less. I was pleasantly pleased by this unique, fresh take on fairy mythology as well as the fun, fast pacing of Violet Wings.

Each chapter of Violet Wings is prefaced by an excerpt from a book written by Orville Gold, the genie historian of Feyland. These segments were not only illuminating in understanding the complex dynamics of Zaria’s world, but they also upped the suspense of the novel by hinting at what was to come next. The names of the characters, such as Meteor, Banburus Lazuli and Wolframite, to name a few, were gratifying and added to the enchanting climate of the story as well. I also appreciated the descriptions of the fairies and their different colorings. Zaria, for instance, had the unusual trait of being a one-shade fairy, meaning her eyes, skin and even hair all had a violet sheen to them, something which was unusual for her kind.

Zaria was a spunky, cute and loveable fairy and I couldn't help but root for her. Her best friend Leona added a lot of zing to the novel with her fiery temper, especially with the havoc she caused around Sam and Jason on earth. But what I really appreciated was how Hanley chose to focus less on the possible romantic aspects of the plot and onto more pressing issues – such as what really happened to Zaria’s family and the real reason as to why forces were aligning against her. These were more important and puzzling matters.

To sum up, Violet Wings inflamed my curiousity and I found myself anxiously flipping through the pages in the hopes of unlocking its secrets! I'm eagerly awaiting the second installment and can't wait to find out where Zaria's story will take us next!

Hardcover: 368 Pages
Reading level: Young Adult
Publisher: EgmontUSA (August 25, 2009)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1606840118
ISBN-13: 978-1606840115
Buy at: Amazon, Borders, Barnes & Noble, Books-a-Million, etc.
Visit Victoria Hanley's Official Website & Blog

Read the Prologue HERE.

Victoria Hanley combines both the practical with the fey herself - while working for IBM many years ago, she developed a fantasy world and published a three-book trilogy set there. She continues to combine the mundane and the mysterious, and is as happy drawing up astrological charts as she is working on a computer. Her first fantasy series, a high fantasy series that began with The Seer and the Sword, and was followed by The Healer's Keep and Light of the Oracle, began to establish her as someone to watch in the fantasy world. You can visit her online at http://www.victoriahanley.com/


Cecelia said...

I want to pick up this book just based on the cover - it's beautiful! Thanks for sharing your review!

Kate said...

This sounds like an excellent read. I also love the cover.

Tina said...

Such a beautiful review!! I can't wait to read the book after hearing such glowing, and intriguing descriptions about the book and the author!