Posted in Reviews

DNF Review: Acts of Violet by Margarita Montimore

Acts of Violet by Margarita Montimore
DNF @ 65%

Recommended: not really, but maybe for you
For folks who love a story that suits audiobook format really well, for folks who love investigative reporting, for folks who enjoy lots of short-form formats mixed together (this is an easy book to read in small chunks because of the natural breaks)


Nearly a decade ago, iconic magician Violet Volk performed her greatest trick yet: vanishing mid-act. Though she hasn’t been seen since, her hold on the public imagination is stronger than ever. While Violet sought out the spotlight, her sister Sasha always had to be the responsible one, taking over their mother’s hair salon and building a quiet life for her beloved daughter, Quinn. But Sasha can never seem to escape her sister’s orbit or her memories of their unresolved, tumultuous relationship. Then there’s Cameron Frank, tapped to host a podcast devoted to all things Violet, who is determined to finally get his big break–even if he promised to land an exclusive interview with Sasha, the one person who definitely doesn’t want to talk to him.

As the ten-year anniversary approaches, the podcast picks up steam, and Cameron’s pursuit of Sasha becomes increasingly intrusive. He isn’t the only one wondering what secrets she might be keeping: Quinn, loyal to the aunt she always idolized, is doing her own investigating. Meanwhile, Sasha begins to experience an unsettling series of sleepwalking episodes and coincidences, which all seem to lead back to Violet. Pushed to her emotional limits, Sasha must finally confront the most painful truths about her sister, and herself, even at the risk of losing everything.


After not coming back to this for about a week, and forcing myself to pick it up for about 20% prior to that, I am finally calling it on this book for me.

I think this might be a better experience as an audiobook, particularly as I’ve read a few audiobook reviews that said the production value was great with unique narrators for characters and such. Considering about 30% of the writing is from a “podcast” style, this makes a lot of sense to me that it would be effective to be read aloud.

While I usually appreciate having multiple genres of text in a story, this one felt like a little too much to capture me. There was the podcast, letters, novel-style narration, news articles, emails, Instagram comments, and probably one or two other little one-off chapters that I’m forgetting. Overall, most of those felt not effective to me because they were used so frequently. Most of what I read seemed to be from the “podcast” format, though maybe that’s the sense I get because it tended to drag for me. Ultimately it felt like most of these formats ended up being in a tell-not-show style since they were largely just passing on rows of facts about situations. Regardless, it took me out of it and made me hesitant to go back each time I stopped reading.

I also got tired of switching between each format. Right as I was settling into a rhythm, it would change. When I was in the flow, I was into the story, but then I was jarred out of it and had to start from “meh” again. And at 65%, there wasn’t actually much story beyond a character study as far as I could tell. The main driving force for me was curiosity about the creative magical acts described, and whether or not Violet was performing true magic or just really fucking talented at faking it. But that alone wasn’t enough to keep me carrying on through this.

Maybe I’ll give it an audiobook try, or maybe I’ll just read some spoilers and see if the latter half of the book sounds like it’s worth the journey for me.

Things that were interesting:
– the creative examples of magic
– the Russian cultural tidbits we get, like the superstitions that carried over
– some of the side characters are truly delightful

Edit: I just read some spoiler reviews and I feel like I made the right call for me stopping this one and not trying to force my way through.


Reader, traveler, photographer, and always looking to learn!

One thought on “DNF Review: Acts of Violet by Margarita Montimore

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