Book Review: Violet Grenade by Victoria Scott

by - 4:25:00 PM

Title: Violet Grenade
Author: Victoria Scott
Pages: 300
Genre: YA Contemporary
Release Date: 16 May 2017

From Goodreads: "DOMINO: A girl with blue hair and a demon in her mind. 

CAIN: A stone giant on the brink of exploding.

MADAM KARINA: A woman who demands obedience.

WILSON: The one who will destroy them all.

When Madam Karina discovers Domino in an alleyway, she offers her a position inside her home for entertainers in secluded West Texas. Left with few alternatives and an agenda of her own, Domino accepts. It isn’t long before she is fighting her way up the ranks to gain the madam’s approval. But after suffering weeks of bullying and unearthing the madam’s secrets, Domino decides to leave. It’ll be harder than she thinks, though, because the madam doesn’t like to lose inventory. But then, Madam Karina doesn’t know about the person living inside Domino’s mind. Madam Karina doesn’t know about Wilson."

Thank you to Entangled Teen and Victoria Scott for providing me with a copy of this book in exchange for review! All opinions are my own.

I remember reading the synopsis for this book months ago and being instantly drawn to it. When the cover was released, I knew I had to read this book. Violet Grenade is a slow burning and deliciously dark read that sneaks up on you and takes you by complete and utter surprise.

Plot:
Domino lives in an abandoned house with her friend Dizzy. In order to escape her past, she covers up with wigs and makeup, trying to hide the real person underneath. When Dizzy is caught by the police, Domino tries to come up with bail money to get him out of jail, but finds that the price is higher than she thought. That's when Madam Karina steps in and changes Domino's life, sweeping her away to Texas and to Madam Karina's Home for Burgeoning Entertainers. Now Domino has the chance to earn the bail money and save herself and Dizzy from living on the streets. But nothing is what it seems, and the girls at Madam Karina's don't take kindly to newcomers. After weeks of bullying and discovering secret after secret, Domino decides it's time to leave. It's harder than she thinks, however, because Madam Karina doesn't like losing her inventory. But Madam Karina doesn't know Domino's deepest secret. She doesn't know about Wilson.

This book was an absolute thrill ride from start to finish. I had no idea what I was getting myself into, but I loved every second of it. Domino was such a fascinating character to follow and the more I read about her and the more I learned about her past, the more intrigued I was, and the more I loved Domino. Violet Grenade was unlike anything I've ever read before. It was dark and twisted, so much more than I could have imagined. There were parts of the story where I found myself wide-eyed and furiously turning the pages for more because I just couldn't get enough of the story that was unfolding. There were so many twists and turns that just warped the plot into something that I didn't expect, but it was so incredibly beautiful at the same time. I never found myself bored or like things were moving too slow or too fast at any point while reading. Everything, from beginning to end, flowed so smoothly and read like a dream.

Violet Grenade begins at the bottom of a ski lift, with you standing there buzzing from excitement but still fairly calm, nervous about what you'll find at the top of the hill...and the bottom. While you read about Domino making her way to Texas and working with Madam Karina, finding out secrets and getting bullied along the way, you're climbing the hill at a moderate pace, still building anticipation for what lies ahead. You would think that reaching the top of the snowy hill is the finale, the end, the big reveal and the closing of the story. No, friends, the top of this hill is where it all begins to unravel, the rising action if you will. Where you realize just what Domino is, what she's experienced, what she's done. As you take a breath and push yourself over that edge, finally gliding towards the bottom, that's where it all explodes. You're going down the mountain, faster and faster, feeling out of control but not wanting to stop because you feel the wind blowing through your hair and like you're really, truly alive for the first time. This is where things begin to spiral into the craziest final 10% of a book you'll ever read. It's destructive and insane but still mesmerizing all at once and you can't look away from it until it's over. The bottom of the hill has been reached, the book is over, and you're left breathless. That is what it's like to read this book.

Characters:
Domino was absolutely fascinating to read about. She was so complex but at the same time, so easy to follow. I really enjoyed how the author approached explaining Domnio's past to the reader. You don't get it all dumped on you all at once. Instead, it's given in small flashbacks and comments that she makes throughout the book, slowly building up to the truth. Domino is strong, fierce, protective, destructive, and beautiful all at the same time. She's the kind of character that you didn't know you wanted to read about until you're reading about her. She's damaged, but never lets that hold her back from what she wants. I was so blown away by how different Domino was from any other YA character I've read about recently and I could read about her over and over again. Domino is a character that you can relate to, but also fear, and I've never loved feeling so confused like that about a character before.

Wilson. Wilson. Wilson. I can't say much, but I will say he's fantastic. That's all you really need to know about him.

Cain was a great character for Domino to interact with. He's almost like the male equivalent of her, so the dynamic between the two is so much fun to follow. They both have their demons that they're trying to run from, and they're both so strong in their own way. I like to think that the two of them going out in public would be rather difficult, as Cain would likely have to spend a large majority of his time holding Domino back after she tries to fight someone for one reason or another. They just have such good chemistry and I liked that she had someone to go to or talk to when things got to be too much for her.

The rest of the characters, such as Madam Karina and the girls, were all so well written. I loved the unsettling vibe that Madam Karina gave off every time she was on the page. You could really tell that there was more to her and to the house than she would admit and I enjoyed slowly finding that out as I read through the book. The girls, while absolutely mean and vicious, were also very unique and I could definitely tell a difference between them. Every character, even the ones that were more side characters, were given their own voices and identities, making them easily distinguishable from all of the others. The cast of characters was large, but you really find yourself focusing on Domino as you read. With such a fiery personality, it's hard not to!

Writing:
Explosive. Vicious. Wicked. Victoria Scott has a way of manipulating words and weaving them into something you want to get lost in, no matter how dark it may be. This is the first book I've ever read by this author but I am sold for any future books she writes. It was so easy to dive into Domino's world and I found myself caring for this girl almost immediately because of how well she was written. This is a contemporary book but I honestly felt like it read like a fantasy because of how ethereal the writing was. I've never encountered a contemporary book like this before but it was one that I could read multiple times and get something new out of it with every read. It reads like a calm stream that eventually runs into a violently flowing river that ends in a waterfall that is definitely taller than you thought it was. Every word was beautifully written and it made the reading experience so much more magical than I ever thought reading a contemporary book could be. Victoria Scott's writing is an absolute treat and I am so excited to read everything she puts out in the future!

Violet Grenade is one of those books that you hear everyone talking about and feel like you should probably pick up "just to see what the hype is all about." But when you finally read it, you understand why everyone talks about it. It's dark, gritty, twisty, and unlike any book you will ever read, no matter what genre it is.


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