Author: Whitney A. Miller (Twitter)
Publish Date: March 8, 2014
Genre: YA, Horror, Sci-Fi
The voice inside me is breaking free. I can't stop it. Some call VisionCrest the pinnacle of religious enlightenment. Others call it a powerful cult. For seventeen years, Harlow Wintergreen has called it her life.As the daughter of VisionCrest's patriarch, Harlow is expected to be perfect at all times. She must be considered a paragon of integrity by the other Ministry teens and a future leader in the eyes of the world.Despite the constant scrutiny Harlow is keeping a dark and dangerous secret, even from her best friend and the boy she loves. She hears a voice in her head that seems to have a mind of its own, plaguing her with violent and bloody visions. It commands her to kill. And the urge to obey is getting harder and harder to control....
Horror is the type of genre that readers often either love, or they hate. There tends to be little to no middle ground on the matter, which can be frustrating for both readers and writers of the genre, if I'm correct. Yet, when an author embraces the genre and all its complexities with an open heart and an open mind, there is a strong possibility that the novel can transcend those stereotypes and give us something more than we might have anticipated. The Violet Hour by Whitney Miller presents this case in a nutshell. With a story that's vivid in its darkness, we're welcomed into a world that's deceiving, sinister and nearly impossible to escape.
I have to admit that with little to no hype surrounding The Violet Hour at all, I was wary when I started this novel. Though the premise is entirely my cup of tea, with horror, we always run the risk of reading a novel that becomes a bit trite and cliche. I was, however, extremely pleased with the setup that Ms. Miller offered her readers. With themes and settings within a cult, we're automatically whisked into a world that's darker and more mysterious than our own. The mysteries, however, stem from the delusions created by the cult mentality which, in all their darkness, are rich and fascinating, even as we're certain of their darkness and hidden agendas.
The Violet Hour gives us a taste of many things without inundating us with just one. Instead of bottle-necking itself into the horror genre alone, we're given a mix of elements including science-fiction and light teen romance that add a depth to an already multifaceted story. Harlow was an intriguing character to follow. On the surface, she seemed a bit schizophrenic, plagued by bloody visions that nobody else could hear or see. The fact that these voices and visions are driving her to kill, too, make her a character that is both easy to love and terrifying to love. On the one hand, we pity her situation. On the other hand, however, we fear the moment her psyche folds under the pressure of holding up her public persona at all times.
The novel starts out slower than I might have hoped, as Ms. Miller offers us a full setup, which I'll admit I was thankful for in the end. However, rather than interspersing the details throughout the meat of the novel, we're given a full account and backstory that makes the beginning of the novel a bit of a slower pace. However, once The Violet Hour gets going, we're whisked into a world that's as haunting as it is tangible. The book doesn't shy away from violence and other horror elements. It embraces them and allows the blood to spill over onto the pages, terrifying and real. It's the type of book that you can't put down - both for fear of not knowing what's going to happen next...and knowing what might.
Overall, I was quite surprised by both the originality and complexity of The Violet Hour. The novel isn't without flaws, but it's entertaining in the most gruesome and powerful way, as well. Written with a great, fresh prose, it's a book that will grow on fans of the genre and, likely, beyond. I give it a 4 out of 5, and I highly recommend it to fans of YA, especially those who enjoy horror, science-fiction and cult stories.
I received this book free of charge from the author/publisher in exchange for an honest review. This, in no way, affected my opinion or review of this book.
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