Review: Viola Doyle, or An Unconventional Gift by Amy Lynn Spitzley


Source: Curiosity Quills –  I received this book in exchange for an honest review. I received no compensation
Publisher: Curiosity Quills Press
Series: –
Edition: eBook, 152 Pages
Genre: Young Adult Fantasy
Purchase:AmazonBarnes & Noble / Book Depository*
*I receive a small monetary kickback from Amazon purchases
Rating: 3.5/5

Riding her bicycle at a speed no proper young woman would attempt, letting her hair fly free, conversing with statues of long-dead heroines—these are all par for the course for Viola Doyle, much to her mother’s chagrin.

Keeping her newfound magical pin safe from those who would use it to unsavory ends and dealing with a handsome young historian takes quite a bit more effort.

And then, of course, there is the dragon…

To save herself and those she loves, it is up to Viola to become her own heroine, or suffer a terrible fate..

I’ve been on a bit of a dragon kick since I saw the second Hobbit film in theaters and it’s been a full time job trying to find books with dragons in them. I’ve always enjoyed dragons, but I’m now borderline obsessed. So when given the chance to review Viola Doyle, I took it based on the cover alone. Risky? Sure, but it paid off. I was treated to a really quirky and unique book that I’m happy I took the chance on.

Viola Doyle has a distinctly Victorian feel about it, but we also get a dose of mystery and a little fantasy element to shake things up. For some reason Victorian-esque mysteries always seem more fun to me. I think it’s the added allure of fancy clothing and a complex social system that makes things a bit more different. I really loved the whole mystery of the pin given to Viola and what power it might wield, as well as the fun of seeing Viola find an unlikely suitor along the way. I do wish the fantasy angle had a bigger part of the book, but I did enjoy the little tidbits having to do with the medieval fantasy like history as well as the dragon. The story is not overly complex or hard to understand, and it’s rather short so it makes for a great down time read for an afternoon of relaxing.

Viola made me smile. She was an impulsive, free spirited young woman who looks forward to seeing women gain more freedoms and isn’t afraid of adventure. I rather enjoyed the fact that her impulsive spirit wasn’t tamped down to nil by the end, but instead she had a few more logical people to ground her instead. She’s young, clever, independent, and a bundle of energy but true to her sort of spontaneous nature she does have moments where her mind takes ten steps too far and she panics. Mikhal is the love interest and I love him for all the opposites he is to Viola. He’s quiet, contemplative, very well mannered, and prefers studying. He definitely helps ground Viola and their relationship is rather cute. I LOVED Viola’s grandmother. You can see how much they have in common but her grandmother is a bit more subtle and refined in her enthusiasm.

Overall the book was very enjoyable. I liked the unique feel to the plot enough to forgive some predictability, but I do wish the fantasy section (the dragon specifically) had more page time. I’m not sure if this is part of a series or a standalone, but I do have my fingers crossed that I’ll get to read a second book.

3.5 stars

This entry was posted in Book Reviews (2014) and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Review: Viola Doyle, or An Unconventional Gift by Amy Lynn Spitzley

  1. The mystery with the pin has me curious as do the Victorian setting and dragons. Fantastic review Michelle 🙂

  2. Pamela D says:

    One of my favorite dragon series is The Enchanted Forest Chronicles by Patrica C Wrede. It is probably YA/MG, but it is very fun and tongue in cheek, if you want another dragon book. 🙂

  3. The mystery, and slight fantasy with the Victorian feel sounds like a great combo for this one.

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