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Topic: Begin discussion of Through Violet Eyes

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Subject: Begin discussion of Through Violet Eyes
Date Posted: 8/1/2012 3:09 AM ET
Member Since: 8/9/2005
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K I couldn't find a discussion guide for this book so I'm using the general mystery/thriller guide. The first question off the top is:

 

  • For the person who chose this book: What made you want to read it? What made you suggest it to the group for discussion? Did it live up to your expectations? Why or why not? ( I'm guessing that the did it live up to your expectations part is for everyone.)
  •  
  • I put this book on the voting list because I've had it on my TBR for a while and decided that I needed to read it soon. I thought the concept was really interesting and that it could make for a really awesome book. I'm not quite done with it, I've got seventy so pages left, but thus far it has been a bit torture pornish to me. I've read books that are really violent and have a lot of torture in them, but something about the descriptions in this book made it seem like the author, or at least the narrator, was enjoying describing the torture and death scenes.
Date Posted: 8/1/2012 8:19 AM ET
Member Since: 7/10/2011
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Those graphic scenes are not my cup of tea either.  I, too, thought the concept was interesting. 

Date Posted: 8/1/2012 9:41 AM ET
Member Since: 8/24/2011
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I didn't mind the violent scenes too much.  I think the author could have toned down the killers 'likablity' of killing that way.  But I feel the descriptive way the it was written, was so we would understand the killers insanity. 

I, too thought the concept was interesting & am so glad I don't have those abilities. :)

Barb S. (okbye) - ,
Date Posted: 8/1/2012 2:11 PM ET
Member Since: 3/14/2011
Posts: 5,767
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I didn't really notice it being overly graphic for the genre, maybe I just read too much of this stuff. If they were over the top it may have been to disguise the fact he wasn't a terribly good writer. A little shock so you don't notice kind of thing. The concept was original and interesting, I would have loved to see it done by a better writer. I do give the writer huge props for 2 things, one is the idea which was a darn good one, the other I can't mention yet if anyone isn't finished with the book. I'll name it later. Beyond that I don't think it was very well written, average at best. I could also be spoiled, I've been reading a lot of the top crime fiction writers lately, but it seemed amateurish to me. It didn't develop that well, it would rush sometimes and wasn't allowed to build. You are more told what happened than shown if you know what I mean. The motivations weren't well explained, I am sitting here trying to remember if he ever did say why the whole thing happened. I don't think he did. 

Date Posted: 8/2/2012 1:19 AM ET
Member Since: 8/9/2005
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I don't really have a problem with violence it just seemed that the narrator was enjoying it sort of to the point of almost being giddy about it. Barb you can go ahead and mentione spoilers everyone else should be done by now. If you want you can label as a spoiler just to be sure.
Date Posted: 8/2/2012 6:03 AM ET
Member Since: 8/9/2005
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K I'm finished, spolier away. I gotta say I was not surprised at the ending, from the point that you find out that a soul is taking over the Violets and then Natalie said that Evan was doing his protection mantra I figured it out. Dan's death and the pregnancy didn't blind side me but they weren't the way I was expecting it to end because I know that there are at least three other books in this series, all of which I own and all of which I posted immediately after finishing the first one. The last in the series is WLed but if any of y'all want the other two from one shelf go ahead and order em I'm off this weekend so it'll be a prompt mailing time.

Barb S. (okbye) - ,
Date Posted: 8/2/2012 2:33 PM ET
Member Since: 3/14/2011
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I was surprised by Dan's death and that was my second prop. It's unusual (and a bit brave) to kill your hero before the story is even resolved. After finishing the book and it ending with her summoning Dan I assume further books will involve him helping her survive and/or solve crimes from the grave which would be pretty unbearable. No desire to find out either. 

So did I miss the reason why they were doing these murders or did it just not really say? 

Date Posted: 8/2/2012 2:53 PM ET
Member Since: 8/9/2005
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It was kinda lame they said they were outing he Violets out of their misery.
Date Posted: 8/2/2012 3:21 PM ET
Member Since: 8/24/2011
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The way I understood why they were doing the murders was:  They (Sondra & Evan) thought they were saving the Violets from the fear, the Black Room & the Corps.   Pages 308 - 311 

If I remember correctly, all they did there was use their abilities for the really nasty criminals.  So all they ever saw was the dark (black) where these souls were after they died. I believe they thought that was all there was after death.

Dan's death surprised me too.  I can remember reading that part & thinking 'NOooo! you can't kill off the hero.'  I think too, that he will be used in the other books to help Natalie.

Although, I enjoyed the story line, I won't be reading the rest of the series any time soon, if at all.  It just seems that it will be more of the same. 

Date Posted: 8/2/2012 4:41 PM ET
Member Since: 7/10/2011
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I was surprised at the death of Dan too.  Takes a real twist to surprise me, and I did NOT see that one coming.  No, one was enough for me, won't be reading the others.

Barb S. (okbye) - ,
Date Posted: 8/2/2012 5:07 PM ET
Member Since: 3/14/2011
Posts: 5,767
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I did enjoy it too, a great, original idea can make up for a lack of skill pretty well, but it was enough. I'm just picturing how any sequels might go and shuddering - "My Partner, The Soul In My Head". "My Disembodied Dad". "Cops: Solving Cases Beyond The Grave". 

I cut the time pretty close with this one and did a lot of half-asleep before bed reading. I shouldn't do that, I may nod out and miss the point of a book, lol. 

Another thing I had a bit of an issue with was how the tv obsessed guy, Amy's husband what's his name, came into the story. I get what he did but I don't think they said how he got hooked up with Evan or what exactly Evan was using him for. Evan would have had to have told the guy what he was going to do because he snagged a souvenier ahead of time towards the end so he knew who the next victim was intended to be, why did Evan tell him? Were the souls really coming through the tvs? He kind of implied the were really there. I want more info on this technology dammit!



Last Edited on: 8/2/12 5:12 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 8/2/2012 8:13 PM ET
Member Since: 8/24/2011
Posts: 1,021
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Barb -- I think you are describing Clem Maddox.  He was turned down by the Corps.  He did think he could contact the dead through tv's & radio's.  He wasn't a Violet, just wanted to contact his wife.  But he was obsessed with it.  Dan & co. thought he was the killer at one point.  He did steal the necklace for Evan.  Again, if I remember right, Evan tried to get him into the school, so he & Evan had history. He was also some kind of repairman, owned a shop dealing with tv's, radio's, vcr's, ect....

It did get confusing because the chapters were so back & forth & short on involvement or explaination.  Pretty much after they figured out Clem wasn't the one, he disappeared from the story. 

Date Posted: 8/2/2012 8:47 PM ET
Member Since: 5/29/2007
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I finished the book too early and it obviously didn't stick with me too well, I am having a hard time remembering what happened. :-(

Date Posted: 8/2/2012 9:13 PM ET
Member Since: 7/10/2011
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Clem had all the touchstones and was easy to manipulate because of his delusion that he could hear his wife through the TV.  I think Clem was set up by Evan, to frame Clem as the murderer.

Barb S. (okbye) - ,
Date Posted: 8/2/2012 10:39 PM ET
Member Since: 3/14/2011
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That could be Carole, what made it unclear unclear was the night they arrest Clem they say Evan sneaks out the door of Clem's place when no one is looking. Did Clem know he was there? I don't know. I can't figure out how they were working together. I remember Clem's story (if not his name) I just didn't see how he fit in the action. When they accused Clem of the murders he seemed shocked, if he knew Evan was the murderer why would he be so shocked? Maybe it just goes back to the writer's skill level. I'm used to tight stories where every detail matters and makes sense by the end. Or maybe I missed it. 

Date Posted: 8/3/2012 12:48 AM ET
Member Since: 8/9/2005
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I didn't catch that they knew each other I thought Clem was just taking things and assumed that Natalie was next without prior knowledge. I think that in the later books Clem may prove that he can contact the dead, maybe in book four.
Barb S. (okbye) - ,
Date Posted: 8/3/2012 1:23 PM ET
Member Since: 3/14/2011
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It wasn't clear whether they knew each other or not, why was Evan in Clem's place? Did Clem know he was there or was he sneaking around? I got the impression he definitely knew Natalie was next, at that point I assumed he and Evan were communicating. If they weren't communicating then what did Evan gain by hiding in there? Evan could have been setting Clem up to take the fall but how if they weren't communicating? Clem's actions did not seem to be dictated by Evan other than his decision to take Natalie's 'charm' before she was killed. This is the kind of thing that makes me criticize the writing, too many things don't add up. 

He does imply that Clem is on to something when he says Dan can almost make out voices in the tv snow, and he almost recognizes a face in the pattern on the screen. Clem may not quite have it yet but if he stays in the story he surely will have to get there. 

Date Posted: 8/5/2012 3:53 AM ET
Member Since: 8/9/2005
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How is the book structured? Does the author use any narrative devices like flashbacks or multiple voices in telling the story? How did this affect your reading of the story and your appreciation of the book? Do you think the author did a good job with it?

I suppose the use of italics to show that the inhabiting spirit is being discussed would fit this question. I appreciated that change to keep the flow going in the right direction.

Date Posted: 8/5/2012 12:30 PM ET
Member Since: 7/10/2011
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I liked the third person narrative.  It allowed for scenes where the protagonist wasn't involved, so the reader is shown what happened.  On the other side, sometimes it was hard to remember what the reader knew that Dan didn't know.  I figured out long before Dan did that Evan was still alive.

Date Posted: 8/5/2012 11:44 PM ET
Member Since: 8/14/2008
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I was really disturbed by several distopia features of the book. I guess I'm an idealist, but I had trouble with the goverment openly threatening and blackmailing anyone with this ability, to the result that no one used it any way except for how they were told to.. And the concept was clearly devoloped that there was somewhere other than the 'Black space', where, i guess you would say, 'good' souls go? Then how did children end up in the black space? How bad can a child be? I found that disturbing.

I, too, thought there were a lot of holes in the story, but maybe they are filled out in later books. And, I was totally taken aback by Dan's death. That whole section of the book went south for me. I didn't feel that the book had really built a world in which a soul could kidnap a violets body and lead her to steal a car and walk into her own death. And wouldn't the first pain of trying to kill her have brought her out of her trance? I felt so confused by the writing at that point, as it became almost first person like sometimes, as we blacked out with her and woke up somewhere strange with her. Was she sitting in on police meetings, contributing, no one noticing she was tranced? ect.

Date Posted: 8/6/2012 1:27 AM ET
Member Since: 8/9/2005
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I don't think it was so much that good souls moved on just souls that were prepared to die and accepted it.

Barb S. (okbye) - ,
Date Posted: 8/6/2012 6:52 PM ET
Member Since: 3/14/2011
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I got the impression they didn't know anything about what happens when a soul moves on because no one comes back from there, just like real life. It was a good way to get out of trying to convince the reader of how the afterlife works. This way we can just take his word for the weird antechamber that these transient souls are in without it challenging any thoughts that the reader may have of a heaven or wherever it is they think souls go to.

Maybe it's my inner cynic but I have no trouble thinking the government would manipulate and bully citizens to meet their own ends. If people like this really existed it would be a very dangerous situation. What if a disgruntled politician or government worker wanted to come back and spill the beans on how things really are? Or if someone was killed by a government agent. And who wouldn't want to kidnap their own Violet to keep in contact with a recently departed loved one? It would be dangerous for everyone involved.  

Date Posted: 8/9/2012 1:17 AM ET
Member Since: 8/9/2005
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Talk about the author's use of language/writing style. Do you have a favorite passage from the book? How does this particular passage relate to the story as a whole? Does it reveal anything specific about any of the characters or illuminate certain aspects of the story?

I didn't really find the authors style as particularly good or unique so I don't have anything to add with this question but I figured I'd throw it out there since it's in the thriller guide suggestions.

Barb S. (okbye) - ,
Date Posted: 8/9/2012 10:09 AM ET
Member Since: 3/14/2011
Posts: 5,767
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I don't know that he had a writing style, it wasn't that kind of book to me. That's not something I would really notice though unless it were quite different or obvious, I'm no English major. I didn't think there was a lot of writing skill shown in this book but I couldn't tell you why I think that, I have no idea. It's like art, I don't know anything about it but I can spot skill when I see it. 

I have a question to add - Does the academic quality of the writing affect how much you like a book? It doesn't for me unless it's exceptional either way, the story is the most important part to me in fiction. If it's so bad that even I am spotting mistakes then yeah, that's gonna bother me, but otherwise it's a minor thing to me. I guess because anyone can learn the techniques that make them a skilled writer but you cannot learn to be a storyteller in any classroom, it's a talent you have or you don't. I think technical skill can make a book better and easier and more enjoyable to read but it's kind of a bonus rather than a requirement. 

Date Posted: 8/9/2012 5:23 PM ET
Member Since: 7/10/2011
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I agree, the writing style was a not a factor.  I only notice writing style when it says or does something out of the ordinary, like particularly vivid scenery or interesting detail like the bouquet of flowers, or things like that.  Some writers have a way with words, using ordinary words, or an expanded vocabulary, that you don't hear that often but make sense and add variety to the language.  If you watch Big Bang Theory, the writers have Sheldon saying things that make absolute sense, but in a different way than you would ordinarily hear.  Other times, style has to do with the period, like the language used by Dickens or Jane Austen.  This book really didn't have any of that as far as I was concerned.



Last Edited on: 8/9/12 6:28 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
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