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A Violet Fire by Kelsey Quick

Publisher/date: Independent December 9, 2019

Genre: YA fantasy

Series: Vampires of Avignon

“I want to be summoned. I want to be wanted.”

What if vampires are really as bad as they say?

Most writers go the opposite way, “the scary vamps can kill you but here are some nice ones.” This is not that book.

Vampires have eaten humans almost to extinction. Humans are now mostly raised in group homes to keep them happy and healthy and docile. Only the very rich can afford real blood, most vamps must settle for synthetic.

Wavorly is one of the few humans left who was caught and not bred. Her entire family was murdered in front of her and she was “saved” by Zein and put into a cush prison where she is raised to be a blood slave. But unlike her cohorts, she has tasted freedom and cannot go back.

Let’s start with the protagonist. If Wavorly weren’t selfish and petty, she would feel sorry for the other girls instead of being angry with them. She should be trying to help Anaya (her enemy) instead of hating her. She should want to help the others. She doesn’t.

Now. I’ve got a real problem with Zein and Wavorly. It’s the exact cycle of an abusive relationship. He abuses her, isolates her so that her only human contact is him, forcing her to desire his company even in abuse, and then he apologizes and puts space between them to make her want to be with him. “It upsets me at times because it isn’t what I am accustomed to...,” he clarifies. “I am unused to being regarded in such a way from anyone, let alone a human.” (This is his apology after one of many instances of abuse.) I was disgusted and frustrated by their relationship, and it gave me flashbacks to everything I hated about Tamlin and Feyre in ACOTAR.

I remember reading A Court of Thorns and Roses and hating Tamlin, hating Feyre for being so weak, and hating the book because of that. Though I didn’t put it down. I was glad I didn’t, because then Rhysand showed up and it all made sense. Feyre was still weaker than I wished her to be, but I’m pinning my hopes on Nesta in the next book. I digress, but the feeling is the same here. I HATE Zein. But I feel like the writer wants me to feel for him, to forgive him. Wavorly is whiny and selfish, and while she is not weak in the beginning, she lets a man make her so, and it’s honestly disgusting to me. The pattern of abuse and manipulation makes me hope for a slow and painful death for Zein, but for his sake, not hers. I hope Wavorly grows a backbone and maybe some empathy in the next book.

3 stars. I want there to be a reckoning for Zein, and I’m willing to continue reading the series to get it.

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