August 23, 2011

Haunting Violet: A Snapshot

I've decided to try a new format for some of my reviews. My "In A Nutshell" ones were getting out of hand, and were becoming so long that they should have been entitled "In a (Coco)nutshell". Since the original purpose of those was to allow myself to write some shorter reviews, I thought I'd try that again, with a different format. So, I'm starting "snapshot" reviews! These loosely use the metaphor of taking a photo, as you can see below.

While I'll be keeping the formats of my "In A Nutshell" and standard reviews, I'll likely be changing the names to fit with this photography theme. So adios to the no-longer-relevant "In A Nutshell" title!

Haunting Violet by Alyxandra Harvey

The subject: a girl grappling with newfound supernatural powers and hints of a murder.

The setting: 1872 England. The Gothic atmosphere is delicious, though it seems to rely somewhat on references to other novels and stereotypes of the period.

Shutter speed: Pretty slow, since many clues need to be gathered and there is some repetition, but the ghosts and romance do liven things up. And I was kept guessing the whole way through about the identity of the villain.

What's in the background? A mother-daughter relationship fraying at the seams. There's also a nice juxtaposition of the mother's role as a charlatan and her daughter's true gift of gabbing with the ghosts. 

Zoom in on: the Violet and Colin relationship! The brewing romance is sweet, but I could have done with a bit more of it, really...I must admit I kept flipping the pages hoping for a glimpse of Colin.

Anything out of focus? If you're going to refer to Jane Eyre in your Gothic novel, please do it accurately. The red room is not at Thornfield Hall — it's at Gateshead. Mr. Rochester is not generally considered handsome. And Jane never runs away from the church, either before or after hearing the news of his dead wife. She is at the inn when she finds out, actually. I have to wonder, has Alyxandra Harvey ever read any part of Jane Eyre?

And the ending fell flat for me. While for the most part I did enjoy how the paranormal element was incorporated into the climactic scene, I was disappointed by the actual "whodunit" reveal, which seemed cliche and anti-climactic, with an overly simple (and boring) explanation. I would have liked a scarier villain who wasn't overcome quite so easily, too.

Ready? Say... "Murder!"

Click! 3.5 shooting stars.


  1. Ooh, love this format for reviews!

    "Say... 'Murder'" totally made me laugh.

  2. I like the snapshot format! Haunting Violet definitely sounds interesting - especially the romance - thought it's a shame the end fell flat for you. hanks for the review!

  3. This. is. AWESOME! You're so creative, Danya! This hits all the important points beautifully.

  4. Interesting new format! I'm glad you'll be keeping your old formats as well, but I like this one too. But you totally spoiled Jane Eyre!!!! (Don't worry, I've been spoiled so many times for that book I barely even need to read it anymore).

  5. I think I enjoyed this book more than you did, but I like the "snapshot" style of reviewing! It's definitely creative!

    Stopped by from the Saturday Situation!

  6. I think I'll add this to my Goodreads. Sounds good! Thanks for the review!


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