Science Fiction and Fantasy Association of New Zealand

Through Violet Eyes Through Violet Eyes
by Stephen Woodworth

Supplied for review by Hachette New Zealand

Reviewed By: Kevin G. Maclean

Stephen Woodworth is a talented short-story writer, no doubt about that. You don’t win the Writers of the Future contest and sell to top-line magazines if you aren’t. But this was his first novel, and as I’ve been discovering for myself, there’s a world of difference between the two lengths.

I’m not going to try to place it in a specific genre, because it has elements of many, but to say it was a Detective Paranormal Romance would be accurate but incomplete. The novel is set in a current-day USA where those with violet eyes can channel the dead, and those without can’t. Someone is killing these already-scarce "Violets". The story follows one particular Violet (female) and an FBI agent (male), both somewhat psychologically damaged, as they struggle to resolve this case. And guess what? Nah, you don’t need to guess—I already told you it was a Romance.

Well, you could have got all that from the cover, and what a great cover it is, but what’s inside? As I mentioned earlier, this was his first novel, and to my jaundiced eye, it shows. The first half is a little stiff and overly structured for my taste, but in the second half, well, I’m not sure whether he finally got into the swing of things, or whether I’d just got used to his style, but I couldn’t put the book down. Not even when one of the cats brought in a healthy mouse and started playing with it right next to me. "Not now, Shadow! I’m reading!"

So... my recommendation? Buy it. Read it. Do whatever it takes to get through the first half, and then hang on for the ride. I promise you, the payoff is worth it.

I have the next three in the series waiting to be reviewed. I’m quite looking forward to them.

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