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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
Fourteen-year-old Zaria Tourmaline is a fairy who lives in the magical land of Feyland and has to figure out how to handle the exceptional powers she has been given through her violet wings--and the associated problems. I love this strong female character who shows such bravery and such loyalty to her friends. I also love the imaginary world Hanley has created. Each chapter starts out with an entry by Orville Gold, genie historian of Feyland, who describes details of the worlds unseen by humans on Earth, and the fascinating "rules" of these worlds. Especially interesting is the concept of each fairy and genie being born with a certain level of magic, measured in "radia." When the fairies and genies are older and find out how much radia they have, they must balance their desire to use magic with the reality of how much radia they have been allotted for life. Understandably, this knowledge has a huge impact on their lives. This book is definitely going to be on my gift list for young teenage girls!
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon September 21, 2009
Zaria Tourmaline is not a typical teen. For one thing she's an orphan whose parents and brother disappeared years ago. She lives with - of all people - her cranky teacher, Beryl Danburite. And she's not exactly human. She is a lavender fairy with violet wings. On her 14th birthday, along with receiving the customary watch and wand, Zaria discovers that she possesses enormous magical powers. This shocking revelation immediately turns her world upside down. Her world is Tirfeyne, which is not typical either. Tirfeyne is located in Feyland, another dimension where fairies, genies, gnomes, leprechauns, trolls, and quite possibly a few trogs live.

Zaria is not content to learn about her new abilities from her mentor, Lily Morganite whom she despises. She studies her mother's spellbook which provides her with a comforting connection to her long lost family and an overwhelming desire to find out what happened to them. She and her friends sneak through an unauthorized portal to visit Earth where they experiment with casting spells on unsuspecting humans and wind up in more trouble than they could have ever imagined.

But fairies are charged with using their magic to do good in the world. Amid all the turmoil and mischief that surrounds her - not to mention the part she plays in it - Zaria unravels a mystery that involves her missing family. When everything seems lost, it is up to Zaria to make something good come from all of it.

"Violet Wings" is part fantasy, part mystery, part coming of age. All together Hanley takes readers on a fascinating journey into another realm with enough friends, family, scoundrels, rascals, plus those pesky rules and laws to stay engrossed without being overwhelmed. Genie historian Orville Gold's narratives at the beginning of each chapter dispense Feyland fun facts and even some clues for the careful reader. Zaria and her friends are enchanting creatures who are just beginning to understand their own powers. Feyland is a mystical world that readers will long to return to again and again.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon August 25, 2009
The youngest among her class of fairies and genies, Zaria can't wait to turn twelve. That's when she can finally exit Galena, the sheltered region in Feyland for children. It also marks the time when she will receive her crystal watch and wand, a sign that she's ready to become a full-fledged member of Feyland. Sneaking off with a friend to the human world leaves Zaria Earth-struck--and jeopardizes her eligibility for her watch and wand when she is sighted by humans. But that rule infringement quickly fades to the background in the midst of new events such as the discovery of the extent of Zaria's power and her guardian's cryptic warnings about Zaria's new mentor for magic. There's so much more at risk than just one fairy's exposure to humans. Zaria's life has been in turmoil since recent events have dredged up questions about the disappearance of her family three years prior, and with each new sinister disaster than occurs, it becomes apparent that something evil and corrupt is at work in Feyland--and Zaria may be the only one who knows how to stop it.

Violet Wings is a sweet and thoroughly enchanting fairy tale for younger readers. Hanley weaves magic and mysticism so well into life in Feyland that it feels quite real to the reader. Though I generally take a while to get used to the lingo in every fantasy story I read, the new wording used in this novel was surprisingly easy to accustom to. It greatly helped that every chapter opened with a brief segment on Feyland's history or its inhabitants' customs, and that these lessons were appropriately interspaced within Zaria's own adventures. Hanley has created a very likable fairy preteen in Zaria; she's spunky, modest, and has a good heart. She's also very believable within her circumstances, although I can't say the same for any of the other characters. The plot started out a little slow but quickly sped up into an exciting and magical ride. Overall, I feel Hanley was extremely successful in creating a fun, cute, and innocent tale about magic and fairies that is appropriate for the middle grade audience but will still be enjoyed by older readers.

Violet Wings is sure to be enjoyed by fans of Wings by Aprilynne Pike, The Faerie Path by Frewin Jones, and The Otherworldies by Jennifer Anne Kogler. I seriously hope this novel will have a sequel because I can't wait to see what adventures Zaria embarks on next.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on December 21, 2009
I enjoyed this world of fairies and their world of Tirfeyne. It's a fast read and very simply written. The ending definitely leaves room for a sequel. Overall, I enjoyed it, but it was a bit simplistic for my taste and there are many similarities between Harry Potter and this novel. I really wanted more details on the main character Zaria and her world...maybe we'll get that in a subsequent novel. So I recommend it for a quick, light read, but it wasn't exceptional.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
I've been reading a lot of good fairy stuff lately and add Violet Wings to my list of Feyland treats. It's an endearing tale with lots of magical creatures, lovable characters and enchanting lands. Hanley puts in some fresh takes on fairy lore, such as fairies are the female of the species and have wings, while genies are the males and have magic feet, but both can fly. It's a delightfully woven tale.

Zaria has been an orphan since her parents and brother went missing three years ago, presumably killed by humans. Fairies and humans used to live harmoniously but as technology advanced and humans became more scientific than imaginative, they became dangerous to fairies.

Consequently, for many years now, fairies and genies have been forbidden from letting humans see them and travel between the two worlds is restricted. For a look at Earth and humans, fairies can go to a viewing station and look through magical scopes.

Zaria has been well taken care of since her family's disappearance but by a somewhat detached guardian and therefore, she's been rather lonely. When she comes of age and finally gets her magic wand, excitement ensues. She gets herself in trouble and puts herself and others in danger.

Each fairy has specific gifts and their magic is measured in radia, a precious commodity in Feyland. There are many classes of fey which pertain to their gifts and power. The level of magic is inborn and since magic levels have been decreasing for years, those with high levels are treated with more respect. Zaria turns out to be extremely powerful but, along with her best friend, Leona, a fiesty, hot-tempered cutie, must understand how and when to use the power for good.

There is fairy court intrigue, sinister plots. But as she pushes the envelope of irresponsible behavior Zaria uncovers evidence of nefarious deeds by those in the high court. Could all of this be connected to her long lost family? And she needs to find out why high level individuals seem to have it out for her.

Zaria is spunky, fun and clever, as well as being a loyal and loving friend. She's adorable! Leona gets herself in several tough spots but both girl's are innately good and trying to mature and learn from their mistakes.

The fairy world is complicated so Hanley uses a clever device to help the reader understand the complexities. At the beginning of each chapter, there is an excerpt from a Feyland history book. It provides interesting details of the fairy world that not only explains a multitude of fairy stuff but hints at what's to come in the next chapter. I thought it was very clever and appreciated the insights.

The ending is satisfying with a few bittersweet overtones, but also leaves enough unanswered questions to have me ready for a sequel.

Violet Wings is geared toward younger teens and an extremely enjoyable read. A fun adventure with just a hint of romance, it focuses more on Zaria figuring out the puzzle of what intriguing plots are simmering under the Feyland surface. It's a treat!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on January 26, 2010
Victoria Hanley has done very well in the past in terms of creating believable characters and settings as well as plots that captivate, and she does not disappoint this time around. Violet Wings is a lovely book that captures a young girl in the throes of discovering that the adults and authority figures upon whom she has relied and trusted all her life are not only fallible but corruptible. The skill of her writing is evident as Zaria comes by this knowledge in an organic fashion--bit by bit instead of all at once. The reader, too, comes by the knowledge of how faerie and genie magic works in small doses. Hanley does a nice job of using encyclopedic entries at the front of each chapter to side-step clunky exposition and add the flavor of actual textbook learning for the magical students in the story. She also does a nice job balancing the wrap-up of the short story arc for this book against leaving lots of room for answers to develop in further books to address the questions of the longer story arc. I can't WAIT to read the next book in this series! I hope she writes fast. :)
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on January 2, 2010
Review by an 8-year old: Violet Wings has a wonderful main character, Zaria Tourmaline, and a special take on fairies. Zaria is in a class of 50, and her classmates had to wait for her to turn fourteen to get their crystal watches. Crystal watches tell how much radia you have for doing spells and what level of magic you can perform. Radia are used up when you do magic and can never be replenished. When her friend Leona flicks open her crystal watch, she finds out that she is a rare and powerful "half Violet," level 200 fairy. Later back in the classroom, Leona announces that Zaria hasn't opened her watch. She goes to her guardian, Miss Danburite, and opens the watch. She doesn't believe what she sees. Zaria is full Violet, level 100, with more radia than any fairy in Tirfayne. Soon Zaria is in a lot of trouble. With a dangerous mentor, and missing family to find, this is a good adventure story for advanced readers. I hope she will write a sequel.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Squee! Violet Wings was just the perfect book for me. I would describe it as being a cross between Faery Rebels by R.J. Anderson and Harry Potter by J.K. Rowling. With so many fairy books out there already, It is pretty difficult to write a book that strands out among the others. I truly feel that Victoria Hanley accomplished this with Violet Wings.

The pace was so quick and suspenseful that I literally could not put Violet Wings down. I was up until 1:30 in the morning when I finally realize I had to put it down and go to bed for the night. The next day at work I could not wait to get home to finish it. The story grabbed me and wouldn't let go until the very end.

The world of the fairies is hardly perfect. All fairies are female and all genies are male and there is a cast system of sorts that divides all of them based on their level of magical ability. These imperfections served not only to build suspense, but also to make the world of fairies more believable. This is also where I saw the most resemblance between Faery Rebels and Violet Wings. I loved Faery Rebels, so this is a the highest compliment coming from me.

The character in Violet Wings were well written and easily relatable. I adored Zaria, and I was routing for her and her friends throughout the novel. Zaria is the type of character that reminds me of someone in a Harry Potter book, with the unconventional way that Zaria uses her magic, I could just picture her fighting Voldemort with Harry.

In Violet Wings, Zaria has her own villains to fight including an evil power hungry fairy who wants to control Zaria's magical powers. The ending is obviously set up for sequel, so do not expect to have all of your questions answered at the end. I for one cannot wait for the next book. Until then, run out to your nearest bookstore and pick up a copy of Violet Wings.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Recently one of my friends sent me 6 books to read. After reading a couple reviews about Violet Wings I didn’t have very high expectations for this book and saved it for last. I thought about sending it back unread. Perhaps my low expectations helped because I was pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed this book. I really truly enjoyed reading this book!

Violet Wings has a lot of chapters – 61 chapters in a 361 page book. Each chapter starts with an entry about fairy lore by Orville Gold, genie historian of Feyland. I loved these little entries because they gave so much detail about Victoria Hanley’s fairies which are quite different from the fairies in many other books of this genre.

The main character in the book, Zaria Tourmaline, is only 12 but seemed much more mature to me. I kept picturing her as a 17 year old fairy not a 12 year old. A very original addition to the fantasy genre. This is obviously the first book in a series because we didn’t have all the answers by the end. I will read the sequel when it is released.

Content: This book is clean, no objectionable content. Appropriate for ages 10+.

Rating: 4 Stars. I will be reading another of Victoria Hanley’s book because this one was so enjoyable.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on November 17, 2009
When I first read the write up for Violet Wings by Victoria Hanley I thought that the character of Zaria sounded like a lot of fun. In some ways she brought to mind images of Anne Shirley and so I was excited to meet her. Zaria isn't like the other fairies in her class she is an orphan and she is always getting into mischief. Granted she has a lot of help in the form of her friend Leona. Things begin to change though when at 12 Zaria not only becomes one of the most powerful fairies that Feyland has ever seen but she also becomes infatuated with Earth - a world which is forbidden to fairies as their magic is growing weak.

Of all the characters in this story I liked Zaria the best. She is the only one who seemed like a real person. Leona was annoying and I was irritated when ever she appeared on the pages. She is very youthful and brash and I couldn't wait for her to exit. The adult fairies tended to come across as flat and stiff and the bad guy of the story was a bit of a yawn. There seemed to be something missing in the motivation of why this character was doing what they did. There was also a lot of set up to a grander plot that will carry over to other books and that setup tends to take away from the story being told. Another distraction where the quotes before each chapter. Some were short and were informative while others seemed to be longer than the chapter itself. I normally love quotes so was disappointed in these and would have skipped them if it wasn't for the fact that they were the only way to gain background info on the world of Feyland. Violet Wings was a quick read and did hold my interest even if it didn't completely suck me in. It did make me interested though to see what might happen next and so I look forward to the next book in the series to see where all the build up of the first book leads.
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