Cover Image: Acts of Violet

Acts of Violet

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date:

Member Reviews

If you like magical realism, then you might love Acts of Violet. While this is not my personal favorite genre, the writing is good and the true crime podcast element makes the audiobook very enjoyable. 

Acts of Violet is about famous magician Violet Volk, who mysteriously disappeared 10 years ago during one of her shows. Her fandom is rabid with theories, much to the chagrin of her sister, Sasha. Sasha has never come to terms with her fraught relationship with her sister and the many questions she is left with in the wake of her disappearance. 

I like if you liked Gravity is the Thing by Jaclyn Moriarty, this book will be your jam.
Was this review helpful?
When I read the premise for Acts of Violet I was immediately drawn in! 

Nearly 10 years have passed since Violet Volk, world famous magician, disappeared during one of her acts. Social media has kept the search for her alive (she has a hashtag) and the rise in true crime podcasts only further fuels the interest in what happened to Violet Volk. As the anniversary of her disappearance approaches, it seems different this time. Maybe Violet really is still out there. 

Acts of Violet didn't immediately grab me, but once it did I finished the second half in two sittings. The different ways the story unfolds - Sasha's POV, the emails between different characters, the podcast transcripts - were original and kept the story moving at a nice pace. This was Violet's story, but most of it was told in the aftermath of her disappearance. We saw how her actions in life effected those closest to her and how they lived in her shadow even after her disappearance, but I wish we had been able to hear more from her. Violet remains almost as mysterious at the end of this book as at the beginning. 

I do feel like the story wrapped up nicely, but I had so many questions at the end. I will definitely be checking out more from this author in the future.

Thanks you so much to NetGalley & Flatiron Books for a review copy.
Was this review helpful?
I was so excited to read Acts of Violet and loved the premise of it - a famous magician that disappears in the middle of her act - and leaves everyone wondering if it was part of the show or if she met a nefarious end.

I will say that I LOVED the format of the book.  It included podcast episodes, newspaper/magazine articles, email threads, and more typical chapters from the main character's point of view.  It made the book very readable and hard to put down at times.

However, as I continued to read, I did find it to be going in circles a bit.  It always felt easy to read (in large part because of the format with the podcasts and emails interspersed throughout) - yet the story felt as if it were moving forward somewhat slowly.  And while it started out as an intriguing mystery of what happened to Violet Volk, it ended up being more about her sister Sasha and the effects that Violet's disappearance had on Sasha's life.  I was still okay with this, because I did appreciate Sasha's character and was fine with learning more about her.

At any rate, as the book progressed, we learned more about Violet bit by bit.  It seemed to be really building up to something, and even incorporated really strange things that were happening to Sasha.  There were definitely some eerie/creepy vibes and I could not wait to see where it would lead and what the explanation would be behind everything that was going on.

However, the ending was odd, abrupt, anticlimactic, and bizarre.  It was deeply unsatisfying and I was left feeling really disappointed.  I couldn't believe that ending was the entire explanation of the plot, and that it was supposed to answer everything the reader was questioning up to that point.  I felt like the explanation as to what happened to Violet was lame, and I still had so many questions about what was going on with Sasha, as well as all the little clues and happenings that went on throughout the book.  I don't really know how else to explain it other than the ending was terrible and ultimately made the rest of the book (which I had liked up until that point) a waste.

I read the print (ebook) version of this and have noticed that people are really commending the audio version (not so much the story, but the experience of listening to it on audio).  So if you are going to check this one out, you may want to go with the audio version instead.

Thank you to NetGalley and Flatiron Books for the e-arc of this book in exchange for my honest review.
Was this review helpful?
I was very excited to see that Margarita Montimore had a new book out as I loved Oona Out Of Order! I didn’t love this one as much, but I did like it! An interesting, magical (she’s a magician), and a mystery!  This was good.  I recommend.  

Thanks to #Netgalley for providing a free copy for an honest review.
Was this review helpful?
Firstly, I highly recommend this book in audiobook format. I went back and listened to the audiobook and it works the stories multimedia formatting so, so well.

I wasn't sure what to expect going into this book with topics of magic, missing persons, podcasts, etc - but it was mysterious, engaging, entertaining, and at some points I forgot I wasn't listening to a real podcast during the Strange Exit chapters.

There is some magical realism within the story which I wasn't sure I was supposed to take as actual magic or not. And I wish I had gotten slightly more out of the ending than all of the build up led to. The recurring motifs and sleepwalking escapades were interesting and felt like great foreshadowing but I kept expecting for something really big to actually happen.

Very entertaining and a fun read.
Was this review helpful?
Violet Volt has been missing for 10 years. Following her meteoric rise to stardom as a stage magician, one day, during a performance, she just…vanished. Since then, everyone has speculated about what could have happened to Violet, and with the 10th anniversary approaching, a new podcast has been stirring up more interest than usual. Violet’s sister, Sasha, has been doing her best to live her life as normally as possible, but with Violet back in the spotlight, Sasha must finally try to put the pieces together, and contend with the fractures that had long existed in her relationship with her sister.

I picked this up as an audiobook, and Y’ALL. This audiobook is the best produced audiobook I’ve heard since Daisy Jones & the Six. There’s a full cast, and the mixed-media format of the book (there are podcast episodes, articles, interviews, emails, and even therapy sessions) makes reading this on audio an incredibly immersive experience. 

Montimore is also the author of Oona Out of Order, and this book also lives in a genre-bending, speculative, metaphysics-minded place. I haven’t read Oona yet, but to give you an anchor:  this one requires a similar level of suspension-of-disbelief as One Last Stop, which I also loved.

Things I loved here: 
🃏 The mixed-media. This felt like a true crime podcast and it amped up the pacing
🪄 Positive depiction of therapy, even if this therapist wasn’t my all time favorite
🃏 Depiction of a publicly out bi/poly celebrity (though the way that the two identities intersected sometimes led to discussions that felt classically biphobic), as well as some other queer side character rep
🐇 Sasha 💕

Readers should go into this one expecting it to be primarily focused on the impact Violet’s disappearance has had on her family, especially Sasha. I think the true crime podcast vibes made me expect this to be a little bit more mystery than it landed, which made the ending feel a little lackluster to me, but I think a lot of it is because my expectations were skewed.

Thanks to Flatiron Books via Netgalley for an DRC to review.
Was this review helpful?
I tried reading the book and had a hard time with all the emails and transcripts. I listened to the audio book and it was fantastic. I loved all the different actors portraying the characters and their emails. The story is really good and I wanted to know more about Violet. The author does an excellent job leaving you with answers but even more questions.
Was this review helpful?
This book really intrigued me from the beginning. Violet missing magician who vanished 10 years ago during one of her tricks, and no one knows what happened to her, or if it was intentional, or if she may have been taken, or even if she may even still be alive or not.

The story is told through mixed media--a podcast series, emails, a few articles, past letters to Violet from her sister and her husband Gabriel,  and Violet's sister Sasha's perspective.  I liked the mixed media, I think it was done well and added to the mystery of the story.  We learn more about the eccentric, provocative magician through the different pieces of her life put together by the various glimpses into her past.  And with Sasha's POV, we learn what the effect of growing up with Violet and her disappearance had on her life.  

But here's where it falls short for me.  I was very excited to read this book as I really enjoyed the premise, but I found my interest started waning after about 50%.  I was intrigued to know Sasha and Violet's secrets at first, but the book was a bit slow-going and I found myself checking out at times. I was also underwhelmed and very unsatisfied with the ending, and felt it was extremely rushed.  I do think I'd like to try the audiobook version of this and that maybe I would've enjoyed that more, as I have read that it is fantastic and I think would work well with the mixed media.
Was this review helpful?
Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for this early read.

This is the new one from the author of Oona Out of Order.  There is no time travel in this one, but you do have to believe in magic. Violet Volk was a masterful magician and illusionist, shattering the glass ceiling of her profession and making herself a household name.  Her biggest trick by far was disappearing without a trace at the end of a show in her hometown.  Now the Violet faithful are gathering for their annual vigil on the tenth anniversary of her disappearance.   

Podcaster Cameron Frank approaches Violet’s sister Sasha, wanting her to participate in his project about Violet’s disappearance.  Sasha, who was estranged from her sister when she disappeared, has spent the last ten years trying to move on with her life, grieving her sister in private and in her own way.  The last thing she wants is to be on a podcast.  But now her daughter is about to graduate college and has questions about her aunt and she wants answers, not the whitewashed version Sasha has been telling her all these years. When Sasha starts sleepwalking and strange things keep happening, Sasha knows that it is time to face her sister’s life, disappearance, and legacy head on. 

I really liked this new one from Montimore.  It is told in multiple formats, with Sasha’s narrative interspersed with transcripts of the podcasts, emails, newspaper articles, and the like.  It was very readable, and I just loved the seeming contrast between the two sisters – bold, bash Violet and homebody Sasha – their differences drove them apart, but it may also be the way Sasha finds her way towards some healing and forgiveness.  If you like magic, if you like stories about sisters and family, if you liked her previous book, then try Acts of Violet.
Was this review helpful?
While I really LOVED Oona, I was less charmed by Acts of Violet. However, I still adored it. The audiobook was exceptionally stunning, as I loved the multimedia format. I do plan to buy this one for my shelves when it comes out in paperback (because it leaves more space for more books! Ha!).
Was this review helpful?
This was a great mystery told through podcasts, news articles, letters and memories. The main POV was Violet's sister, Sasha, and sibling and family relationships are explored. I really enjoyed this one! The audio was a full cast and made for an extremely entertaining experience.
Was this review helpful?
Everything about the synopsis of this book excited me. I adored Oona out of Order so I was so excited to read this! And oh my gosh was it phenomenal! The writing style was different but I like how it all added up.
Was this review helpful?
I absolutely loved Oona Out of Order, so when I saw that Margarita Montimore had a new book coming out, I was so excited to get my hands on it! Montimore has a fantastic way of creating a magical realism element to her stories that makes you believe in magic.

In Acts of Violet, we are brought into the story of a missing person, Violet Volk. Violet was a famous illusionist with a volatile life that was lived in the spotlight. When she announces one last show after a hiatus, people flock to see her show. When her final act approaches, things appear to have gone wrong and Violet vanishes…for real.

The story is not told through Violet’s perspective at all. This story is really how Violet affected those she lived and worked with. We have the perspectives of Sasha, Violet’s older sister, and Cameron, a podcaster investigating Violet’s disappearance for the upcoming 10-year anniversary.

This story had me pulled into different directions of feelings. I loved many aspects of it, but I felt frustrated with others.
💕 I really enjoyed the characters. They were created with details that truly gave them life, and I felt invested in them.
💕 There is such an air of mystery from start to finish, and I was here for it! I needed to know what happened to Violet!

🤷 The story felt unfinished. I got to the end and I felt left behind. I needed more answers, and I didn’t get them.
🤷 I kind of liked that this story was all about the impact that Violet’s actions have on others, but I would have loved at least one chapter from her perspective to help round-out the story.

So, overall, I thought this was a good story, and I enjoyed where it went. I just found myself needing more by the end. I would recommend this one for readers that enjoy magical realism, mysteries, and stories of family.
Was this review helpful?
Acts of Violet is the latest twisty mystery from the author of Oona Out of Order.

Violet Volk was a magician in the eighties. She was famous for her unfathomable stage illusions. In the nineties, she retired to write and hawk self-help books. Finally, in 2008, she returned to the stage for one last magic show in her hometown. During an illusion, she disappeared and never returned. It's ten years later and Violet is the subject of a new podcast. A podcast where the host, Cameron, has promised to interview Violet’s quiet sister, Sasha. Sasha has secrets of her own as well as knowing some of Violet’s, so she declines. Cameron is determined to solve Violet’s case one way or another. Sasha's college senior daughter, Quinn, is also investigating. Can Sasha afford the truth to come out?

I tore through this book! I couldn’t put in down even though I had other responsibilities. Make sure before beginning to read it, that you have several hours to devote to it. Beware that Acts of Violet goes down a science fiction/magical road at the end, which I didn’t quite buy. Still, overall, it is an amazingly unique mystery that would be perfect for fans of Stranger Things. 4 stars!

Thanks to Flatiron Books and NetGalley for a digital review copy of the book.
Was this review helpful?
This is a book that defies categorization and keeps you on your toes. 
My absolute favorite is the intermix of emails, podcast transcriptions, newspaper articles, and websites throughout the book narrative -- I am a sucker for epistolary books. I also love a plotline that focuses on women in the spotlight of fame - the consequences, the backlash, and the drama. Having the different layers of plotlines - and told in a non-chronological order just made all of these elements work even better.

I read this book so quickly and compulsively, but for me the ending made this book. During the middle parts I was compelled but not enjoying the book but by the time I turned the last page, I was content and happy with the whole book. I had so many different ideas on how this would end, but I was nowhere close, and so very happy about that. 

There were a few points that I thought felt flat (there are two plot points I thought would have a big reveal and instead just tapered down), but again the book as a whole is great. I almost think I would have enjoyed it more had I known how it ended when I started. 

I think this would be a great beach read or book club book where you can spend some time pulling at the story and turning it over. A good choice for those who like their fiction touched with a bit of sci-fi.
Was this review helpful?
I loved this book. The combination of family drama and mystery and magic was really unique, and I especially liked how the story included emails, podcast transcripts, letters, and news articles. I've seen reviews about the audiobook production being amazing, so I may have to check that out as well, just to experience the story a new way. 

The only thing I did not like was the ending (no spoilers, so I'm not even going to hint at what happens), but I'm not sure what possible explanation for Violet's disappearance could have been a satisfying ending, so I'm ignoring the ending and focusing instead on appreciating how much I loved the rest of the book. 

Highly recommend!
Was this review helpful?
Back in 2020, Margarita Montimore's twisted time travel novel, Oona Out of Order, made its way to my favorites list. So when I saw that she had a new one out this year, I was eager to check it out. Thankfully, Acts of Violet did not disappoint and it was a fascinating page-turner.

I love how the story felt like a puzzle that needed to be solved. The pieces were delivered in different ways and it was up to the reader to figure out what really happened. I loved the use of emails, articles, and podcast episodes to paint a picture. I also enjoyed getting to know Sasha and wanted to see what was really happening when she had her sleepwalking episodes. The signs she kept receiving were so fascinating too. I felt bad for her with being forced into the spotlight when she didn't want to be, and when it was clear that her relationship with Violet was tumultuous. However, I was hoping she'd be able to find Violet somehow. 

The characters were so quirky and interesting, and the dialogue felt genuine throughout. I was also able to easily visualize people and places the entire time.

The only thing that didn't work for me was the way some things were explained, like we're expected to understand how any of that even worked. I don't want to go into detail as to not spoil anything. You will need to have a suspension of disbelief to appreciate this novel for all it's worth, as there's a lot of elements that feel like fantasy to me. I was reminded of The Night Circus during some of the magic descriptions.

I love that Rocky Horror was referenced a couple of times and she even mentioned Magenta at one point. I played Magenta in front of the screen at a local theater when I was younger

Overall, a worthwhile and enjoyable read!

Movie casting suggestions:
Violet: Emma Stone
Sasha: Katherine Waterston
Quinn: Cazzie David
Gabriel: John Krasinski
Cameron: Lou Taylor Pucci
Antoinette: Carol Kane
Renatta: Taraji P. Henson
Ace: Stephen Root
Sally: Caitlin FitzGerald
Benjamin: Nicholas Gonzalez
Was this review helpful?
The author of "Oona Out of Order", Margarita Montimore, is back! Her new book is nothing short of magic. 

I was lucky enough to be gifted an advanced reader copy of Montimore's new novel "Acts of Violet" and I was very surprised how quickly I fell in love with this story.  

Composed of letters, podcast episodes and emails we get a story of the mystery that surrounds the magician, Violet Volk's, disappearance. Everyone seems to know about a little piece of Violet that consistently adds to the surprising mystery that no one can seem to crack but are the darkest secrets about the missing starlet hidden deep within her family? 

I loved this book! The fantasy was easy to consume. The story focused on a complicated relationship between sisters which instantly grasped my attention.  The nods to the pseudoscientific and mystical (what I like to call "woo-woo" things) beliefs including numerology and spirit animals intrigued me and wrapped me deeper into the mystery of Violet. 

It's a beautifully written fantastical story that makes you believe in the little moments in life that make you feel a sense of magic and a reminder that the ordinary can be just as extraordinary as the whimsical. 

What I Loved:
 All the "woo-woo!" Numerology, Spirit Animals, Dreams.
 The epistolary format.
Unreliable characters 
A unique enemy to love story
The LGBTQIA+ characters
 The ending twist

Thank you to Flatiron Books and Margarita Montimore for the gifted copy of "Acts of Violet." 

This is a great book for people who are looking to dive into the fantasy realm! Don't miss out on any of the magic and mystery of "Acts of Violet" by getting your copy tomorrow!
Was this review helpful?
Magic and feminism in a mystery book? Yes please.

Varushka Volkov - Violet Volk - spent her life constantly pushing boundaries. From an early age, she took an interest in magic, with mixed support from her family. Her uncle Slava initially encouraged her the most, using money from his gambling habit to buy her props and cards to improve her skills and tricks. Her parents had other hesitations and her sister Sasha "hated magic".  Violet's untimely "magical" disappearance led Sasha to live a life in limbo and even more resentment - was her sister dead, was she alive, and if so why did she do this to her? 

VV could never just live in the moment and let the world go by around her- she always had to BE a part of that moment. As her sister Sasha said, "she couldn't wait to get out of Willow Glen [their home town], and then she couldn't wait to get out of New York and go on tour, and then she couldn't wait to stop touring, and so on. Wherever she was, it was like she wanted to be somewhere else. And someone else. She decided early on she didn't want to be Varushka, so she became Violet." She was always looking to push that shock factor, to be center stage and in the limelight and wanted to be a name that people remembered. Would Violet Volk be more known than even Harry Houdini? Her sudden (but was it planned?) disappearance made sure her name lived on. 

Through the pages of this novel and the mind of sister Sasha, sound bytes from the Strange Exits podcast, old letters, other anecdotal stories like those told at the ten year VV vigil, we get glimpses of who Violet was. Violet, who donated to charities and secretly loved nature when she wasn't under the spotlight (literally or figuratively). Violet, whose new tricks baffled the magic community, some of which are still being questioned to this day. Violet, who suffered tragic losses in her family and life but still tried to shake it off. Violet, under media scrutiny from the shows and accidents (deaths) that happened with her Las Vegas residency. Violet, the mystical but adored aunt of Quinn, who barely even remembered the time her aunt nearly had her killed as part of a show. Violet, always pushing boundaries. Violet Volk, always wanting to be more than herself. 

By the end, we have a better picture of who Violet truly is, as well as the intricacies of her relationship with her family. But do we know what really happened to Violet? I guess you'll have to read or listen to find out. 

Note: I did listen to some of this on audiobook and read the rest. Either version would be great for digesting this splendid story.
Was this review helpful?
Who doesn’t love a little bit of magic?

This is the first book by Margarita Montimore that I’ve read, but I heard so many amazing things about Oona Out Of Order (which is still on my tbr) that I had to read this book.

This is the story of Violet Volk, female magician who disappears during one of her sets. It has an interesting take with points of view: incorporating a podcast newspaper articles, interactions between characters as well as emails and letters.

I really enjoyed the different media to read through as it felt like natural life these days; how you try to scour different sources to get all the information. This also managed to give you multiple perspectives to give a full picture of many events and storylines throughout the book.

Without giving away any spoilers: I found this to be a heartfelt story of finding one’s self and garnering relationships between family, but especially between siblings/sisters. It can be very difficult given the lifestyles of each of the characters and I found this to be an interesting take on celebrity. It asks that question of: is it worth it?

I enjoyed reading it, but think listening to the audiobook with cast might’ve given it even more dimension from me trying to create different tones and voices in my own mind. Either way, I enjoyed reading this story.

Many thanks to the author, Margarita Montimore, Flatiron Books and NetGalley for the arc of Acts of Violet!
Was this review helpful?