Cover Image: Acts of Violet

Acts of Violet

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date:

Member Reviews

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?
I really enjoyed this title about the aftermath of the disappearance of a celebrity magician. The podcaster trying to find a story that will keep him employed, Sasha searching for her missing sister while trying to keep  a low profile and not get swept up in the drama around her fame and disappearance, her sweet and idealistic young daughter who thought the world of her missing aunt and is trying to figure out what to do with herself; all interesting and complex personalities. Not to mention all of the fun townspeople pouring out of the woodwork for the 10th anniversary of Violet's disappearance. A compelling read with a wonderful cast of characters.
Was this review helpful?
Margarita Montimore did NOT disappoint!! I really enjoyed reading Acts of Violet. It's a novel about a female magician who disappears, and we see her family ten years later. I loved the mixture of podcast episodes, news articles, traditional dialogue, and letters. This mix of writing kept my interest and wanting to figure out what happened! I was not expecting the ending, but I think it did a good job of wrapping up the book. It was a tense read, and gave great insight into how someone going missing affects so many others' lives. I also listened to the audiobook as I read along, which was the perfect way to read this book. The narrators were lively and kept things moving along. This would be a great book for fans of mystery and also family sagas.

I will share on Storygraph and my Instagram (@readingtomydogs)
Was this review helpful?
This book was finally something fresh and different!  

The story revolves around Sasha, whose sister Violet, the famous magician, disappeared almost 10 years ago right in the middle of her act.  Was it on purpose?  Did something happen to her?   

Since then, rumors have abounded concerning where Violet went.  Sasha is tired of hearing about her sister. When podcaster Cameron asks to interview her, what will Sasha do? Will she refuse, or will she agree to fill in the missing pieces that Violet's fans are yearning for?  Does Sasha even know the truth?  

I really enjoyed this book as there was a story within a story within a story.     And i was uber curious to know what really DID happen to Violet.  

Thank you to the author, the publisher and to #netgalley for the ARC which did not impact my review.
Was this review helpful?
There is no question that Margarita Montimore has fantastic ideas. OONA OUT OF ORDER was an ingenious take on time travel, so I was thrilled to dive into ACTS OF VIOLET. This twist? A magician goes missing! The mystery is certainly keeps the pages turning, but I am never quite enraptured with the concept of a novel based in podcast transcripts, emails, articles, and only a few first person narratives. It reminds me a lot of DAISY JONES, which I also wasn't a fan of. I would much prefer books like these about real people! 

After reviewing other's thoughts on Goodreads, it seems like perhaps audio is the way to go for this one! I can see how a full cast would really benefit when learning about the story of Violet Volk, one of the most famous female magicians who rose to fame in the 1990s and disappeared on stage in an "Illusionist" like manner 10 years before this book takes place. We learn about her through an investigative podcast, articles from journalists writing about her at the height of her fame, and the trauma Violet left behind through her sister and niece (which I found to be the most fascinating parts of the story). While I wasn't THRILLED with this book, I will certainly read whatever Montimore writes in the future.
Was this review helpful?
Thank you to Flatiron Books and NetGalley for this ARC in exchange for an honest review!

Acts of VIolet by Margarita Montimore is a stunning original contemporary fiction novel with a dash magic. The story revolves around Sasha, whose sister Violet, the famous magician, disappeared almost 10 years ago while performing. Since then, rumors have abounded concerning where Violet went. Did she run away? Is she dead? Sasha is tired of hearing about her sister. When podcaster Cameron asks to interview her, what will Sasha do? Will she refuse, or will she agree to fill in the missing pieces that Violet's fans are yearning for?

Here is a captivating excerpt from an opening chapter:

"Thursday night, two thousand people packed the Witkin Theater in Willow Glen to see legendary magician Violet Volk perform her first stage show in years, with some paying over a thousand dollars per seat from resellers. People came from around the world to see Volk’s act, expecting an extraordinary night. Little did they know, they’d be witnesses to the last confirmed sighting of this mercurial performer.
Violet Volk was one of the most popular stage magicians of the 1990s, her numerous tours and television appearances, along with a residency in Las Vegas, making her a household name. In the early 2000s, she reinvented herself as a self-help author and toured the world as a motivational speaker."

Overall, Acts of VIolet is a contemporary fiction novel that speaks to the downsides of fame and society's obsession with the morbid. One highlight of this book is its interesting premise. The idea of a missing woman and magician is captivating, and I wanted to keep reading to unravel the mystery of Violet's disappearance. If I had to complain about 1 thing, I would say that after finishing the book, I felt like I missed the point. The book was excellent in parts, but did it come together as a whole? If you're intrigued by the excerpt above, or if you're a fan of contemporary fiction, I highly recommend that you check out this book when it comes out in July!
Was this review helpful?
This audiobook was incredible. I am not normally an avid audiobook user but titles like this reel me in. The full cast of characters, and the pacing of this story made it impossible to stop listening. Montimore created complex characters that were so loveable,  flawed and relatable. A little bit Velvet Goldmine, a little bit of a master class in magic and magical thinking this book is going to be a perfect summer into early autumn read.  The book took me in places I had expected and hoped for, and then places I never could have seen coming. What a great listen this was I adore MM!
Was this review helpful?
Margarita's style has a delightful snappy style that had me hooked in from the beginning. The complicated relationships and narratives add an incredible layer of depth to the characters, and she blends a multitude of genres masterfully.
Was this review helpful?
I enjoyed Margarita Montimore’s previous book ‘Oona out of Order’ so I was looking forward to reading ‘Acts of Violet’.
I found it to be a quick, enjoyable read, a great summer book, perfect for the vacation read. The concept is an interesting one and it certainly kept me reading, I liked the details and the character descriptions along with a good dose of humor in places.
Acts of Violet was a satisfying read in that all of the ‘loose ends’ were tied up by the end.
We have ordered a copy for the library and I won’t hesitate to recommend it.
Was this review helpful?
Since I was also approved for the audiobook I ended up listening that way so my review will be posted through and about that but loved the book.
Was this review helpful?
I loved the podcast based concept of this one and it was an interesting premise with interesting characters but ultimately it got a bit disjointed to me over time and the ending felt underwhelming.
Was this review helpful?
Violet Volk was a famous magician who disappeared during her magic act never to be seen again.  There has been years of speculation and conspiracy theories about her disappearance over the years.  Now on the 10 year anniversary of her disappearance Strange Exits podcast episodes are about Violet and her disappearance.  Violet's sister Sasha is dealing with many emotions about her relationship with Violet.  I thoroughly enjoyed this novel by Margarita Montimore who previously authored Oona Out of Order. - another of my favorite novels.   .
Was this review helpful?
This is a tough one to review. I really enjoyed the majority of the book, but felt like Montimore didn't stick the landing for the ending.
Told in a combination of transcripts, letters, emails, and a first person narrative from Violet's sister, Sasha, I had fun diving into layer after layer of mysterious Violet. Like any person, she was more than one thing, even more so because of her public and private persona. The book is really about Sasha and her relationship to Violet, to her husband, to her daughter, and to herself and the narrative she's been sticking to for years. While my interest was primarily in Violet's magic, and learning whether or not there was anything genuinely otherworldly to it (many characters also wonder about this!) the story ended up being more about familial misunderstandings and finding happiness in the life you build for yourself outside of any judgement from others.
I think it's worth going into this book without too many spoilers, because the biggest appeal is letting the mystery unfold. But know that many questions will remain unanswered
Was this review helpful?
Acts of Violet is about Violet Volk who is a very famous magician that disappears when performing a magic stunt. She is never seen again. She leaves behind her sister who is trying to find our what happened to Violet 10 years later. This book has a very unique format where it is told from Sasha, Violet's sisters point of view but it also has emails from other characters and a podcast interview style perspective. I really enjoyed the story being told that way. I am very interested to hear how this story is told on audio. I think it would be amazing. Overall I enjoyed this book and the mystery surrounding Violet. 

Thank you to NetGalley and Flatiron Books for giving me an advanced reader copy.
Was this review helpful?
God this was FUN!!!

I co-read this alongside the audiobook, and both are phenomenal. The storytelling in this book is beyond top-notch. All characters are fully fleshed out human beings with realistic flaws, and, even with the magical realism elements of this story, realistic problems. I SO appreciate the fact that there was minimal relationship drama, and thank god, lack of communication wasn't one of the main vehicles driving the conflict in this book. Also, THANK YOU for the Asexual character representation, which was accurate and heartbreaking. I'm obsessed with this story. Obsessed.
Was this review helpful?
I LOVE THIS BOOK SO MUCH. I love how Montimore merges a podcast about the disappearance ten years before of a captivating female magician whose tricked defied explanation, and the POV of the sister of the magician. Violet Volk was unlike anyone else and became a self-help guru and a feminist icon. After a hiatus from performing, she had a one-night-only show at a theater in her hometown and disappeared during a trick, but failed to ever reappear. Is she alive, is she dead, was it her idea or someone else's? And what did it do to the people left behind? Volk's superfans call themselves the Wolf Pack and think Violet's sister Sasha is cold and unfeeling because she won't air her emotions and fears and grief publicly. But they don't understand her at all. And now people are trying to say Violet's back. Are they right? This is utterly captivating.
Was this review helpful?