Monday, March 29, 2010

Review - Violet Wings by Victoria Hanley (4/5 stars)

This is another young adult fairy book that I have had on my list to read for some time.  While I found the characters to be a bit weak, Hanley did a great job creating a complex fairy world that was believable and full of action.

Zaria was orphaned when her parents were lost on Earth.  Back on fairy she is finally being given her watch that will tell her what level of magic she can do.  When her magic levels astound, she is pulled into a plot that is destroying all of Fairy, little does she know how deeply it is entangled with her past.

There were a lot of things I liked about this novel.  Hanley begins each chapter with a quote from "Orville Gold, genie historian of Feyland".  These small sections do a great job of explaining the somewhat complicated magic system of radia and color levels that show how strong a fairy is.  They also do a good job in giving a history of races and how they interact.  Without these sections Zaria's world would be confusing.  They also foreshadow what the following chapter will be about.

The world that Hanley has created is more complex and more realized than most fairy worlds in young adult fairy themed literature books out there.  That gives this book major kudos in my mind.  Hanley also keeps the pace of the plot pretty fast and writes good action scenes.

Despite the well thought out magic system and fairy society, Feyland was a bit limited in scope.  Zaria's world seems contained to the major city that all fairy's live in; I kept thinking that there has to be more to it than that.   I also didn't really like any of the characters; so characterization is not the strongest point of this novel.  Zaria as a character is okay, but her relationships with all of her friends felt forced...there didn't seem any reason behind their loyalty to her or any past that would contribute to that loyalty.  Leona, the other main character in the book, was all over the place in personality.  Leona would come off as irresponsible, then thoughtful, then irresponsible again; she just didn't have very consistent characterization.

The ending is left somewhat open, so I assume there will be a sequel to this book.  I haven't heard anything about a sequel, but there is room for one.  In fact it was a bit odd that some specifics about the disappearance of Zaria's family are brought up, but never really dealt with

Overall I enjoyed the world but I didn't fall in love with any of the characters, and only found the writing style to be so-so.  I liked the story, but didn't love it.  Mostly it was the world that was created and the interaction with humans that intrigued me.   Will I read the next book in this series if there is one?  I am not sure.

This book goes towards the following reading challenges:
- The Young Adult Reading Challenge
- The 100+ Book Reading Challenge
- Support Your Local Library Reading Challenge
Violet Wings

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