A Violet Fire by Kelsey Quick

by - August 12, 2019

I received a free e-copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. As it is an indie, the author has full control over the work. She's stated that she will take ARC feedback into consideration.

A Violet Fire by Kelsey Quick (To be released on 9 Dec 2019)
In the Vampire Stratocracy of Cain, human blood is scarce. For centuries, councils have sought to assuage the blood shortage by enslaving and breeding humans, turning them into profitable supply units for the rich and the abled. 
Today, eighteen-year-old Wavorly Sterling is officially a supply unit, bound to serve her blood willingly to her master for the rest of her life. One of only few humans that was not bred in Cain, Wavorly knows freedom better than anyone, and she is determined to escape the clutches of her oppressors, even if by the hands of death. 
But surprises lay beyond every certainty, and within every doubt. Where Wavorly's hatred for both vampires and her enslavement once flowed free as blood, it merely trickles as she grows to admire her reserved, yet receptive master and savior, Anton Zein. 
Although warmed by comforts never felt before, danger still lurks in the castle, and a prophecy calls from beyond the walls of a lavender gate—concealing the horrific secrets lodged between handsome smirks and cinereous eyes. It will take everything within Wavorly to face her fears and her doubts; to harness the truth of her past despite what that means for her future. The only question is, will she? 
Set in a richly detailed world of fantasy, A Violet Fire is a gripping journey filled with passion, betrayal, lies, and the encouragement we all need to take a stand for our freedom—no matter the cost.

As this is an ARC, I'm dividing my review into two parts. Skip to "Enemies to Lovers Deliciousness" if you just want the usual format. The general review may contain spoilers, while the quick categories do not.

General review

I requested this ARC because the premise intrigued me. I never got tired of the vampire trend and the synopsis promised a hate-to-love romance. That's all you need to get my attention, really. Plus, it was compared to The Cruel Prince so I was doubly encouraged.

(Confession: I didn't finish reading TCP. But that's for another time. I understand perfectly why A Violet Fire was comped to it)

Let me say though that the prose is beautiful and the concept is promising. The author just stumbled with the execution. There are some scenes that captivated me entirely... while others left me skipping forward. I'd rate this 3.5/5 stars for that inconsistency. I have so many mixed feelings.


I LOVED the worldbuilding. It's very original, and the author even included the universe's history and politics at play. Plus, you know that the novel only takes place in a small part of the world--and that's why Wavorly is itching to escape to a better, freer country. I'm very interested in learning more about the places outside Cain.

I also want to reiterate that the prose is beautiful. The author offers lavish descriptions of places, clothing, and characters. I could imagine it all perfectly in my head. At one point, I just kept reading on because of her prose.


Wavorly and Zein's romance hooked me in because I am a sucker for the hate-to-love trope. Wavorly is the only human who hasn't been brainwashed to worship Zein, so he's fascinated by her. (Also, she's the last human with red hair and green eyes, so she's "genetically important") Even if she pisses him off, and she does that a lot, he admits it's refreshing. Nobody else dares to argue with him, so his immortal life is really boring.

Meanwhile, Zein is very hot and cold. His attempts to punish Wavorly are just for show, really, and he never means to hurt her seriously (no matter how many evil threats he makes). He makes sure she's comfortable, cares for her, and respects her boundaries. He even guarantees her and her friends' safety (albeit on his own terms). So Zein learns to be more compassionate towards her.

Honestly, I was clutching my e-reader to my face whenever they shared a scene. I was so into their dark, flirty, half-hate-half-love banter. And when he bites her... oof.

BUT Wavorly's opinion of Zein is inconsistent. Once they get to know each other more, she hates him one moment, and then loves him the next, and then remembers that she hates him... I understand what the author was doing; Waverly is conflicted since she's hated vampires all her life. But sometimes it just gave me whiplash. I wish we were more gently eased into her romantic struggles.


The worldbuilding is fascinating and complex, I give it that! But I think there was too much info-dumping in this novel. I prefer discovering the world through its plot rather than having it directly explained by the characters. The constant exposition was present throughout the novel... it was happening even near the end. I know it's done for our benefit, but I think constant info-dumping just makes the world feel cold and impersonal.

And yet, when there wasn't an info-dump, when there were hints of a plot twist... it felt predictable. I think it's because the author revealed the details at awkward times. Rather than seeming organic (if they were mentioned from the start), they seemed too much like conspicuous plot devices. Yes, she suddenly starts getting flashbacks about her dead best friend. The moment she name-dropped him, I knew he was alive and coming for her.


A Violet Fire starts off really great. We're thrown into the action with some minor backstory, Wavorly is really driving her own destiny, and it's easy to root for her. Even after she and her friends are transferred to Zein's castle, there's enough drama to keep you reading. There's her relationship with Zein, her blooming friendships (and enemy-ships) with the other girls, and the mystery of that ~violet room which honestly, I did not care for. I'm sorry. It was mysterious, yes, but I didn't know why we should care for it other than oh it's only visible to Wavorly and it reveals her past and there's a secret prophecy...

I think the novel waffles a bit at this midpoint. Once Wavorly reluctantly falls for Zein (and after he threatens the safety of her friends) she has no more reason to escape. She goes from an active protagonist to a very passive one, only reacting to the events and characters around her. Like, I get that she had no choice, but this lack of drive (aside from wanting to examine the violet room which, like I said, I didn't care for) made the novel seem so slow. I think I devoured close to a hundred pages in one day, and then after that, it became an effort to read too many pages at once.

Near the end, there's a Chosen One plot twist that I didn't personally enjoy (though that's only because I am personally not into the Chosen One trope). It made a lot of sense, and it put everything in the story into perspective... but I was disappointed. I expected A Violet Fire to be much more unique (considering its worldbuilding). The fact that the Chosen One trope was only revealed at the last... 80% or so of the novel is also the issue, I think. Maybe it's my fault; I was expecting this novel to subvert all the usual vampire fantasy tropes. But it didn't.

BONUS: Other Reviewers' Issues

I've read other reviews and I noticed that other readers think Wavorly slut shames the other female characters. I disagree. It might seem like it because she's disgusted by their hero worship of the vampires, but Wavorly understands that they were brainwashed into it. It isn't their fault. And the things that are their fault (like attacking her out of jealousy) warrants anger, I think. More than anything, Wavorly was angry that the other girls were praising vampires. It had nothing to do with them being men they were attracted to. It's the object of attraction that she hates, not the attraction itself. Remember when her best friend Savvy revealed she was in love with Gemini? Wavorly was supportive because she knew it would make her friend happy.

Wavorly is the only person who doesn't hero worship her captors. I understand why she's so upset and disgusted.

Enemies to Lovers Deliciousness

Quick categories

Steamy hatefuck scale: 4/5

  • The steamy hatefuck is good. God, Wavorly hates Zein with such a burning passion. When Zein gets pissed off, he gets really aggressive. She's still supposed to feed him her blood, so there's a lot of tension when he gets angry enough to bite :) 
Secret softness scale: 4/5

  • Zein really does care for her, even if he's an evil vampire warlord. He gives her special treatment, always makes sure she's okay after a feeding, and saves her time and time again. Wavorly softens up to him once she realizes he's kinder than she thought.

Go female friendships! scale: 5/5
  • I actually really enjoyed Wavorly's friendship with Savvy. That girl is precious, and it's sweet how Wavorly sacrifices a lot just to save her best friend. Even if they fight, they don't stay enemies for long. And even if they're jealous of each other at times, it doesn't break their friendship, and they always make-up.
TL;DR I have mixed feelings about this novel. If you're a fan of vampire romances and traditional fantasy tropes, then I recommend it. But if you're looking for something new and subversive, then maybe skip it.

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