Author: Victoria Scott
Pages: 300 (Hardcover)
Publisher: Entangled: Teen
Release Date: May 2, 2017
Source: For Review
Purchase: Amazon•TBD (affiliate link)
Her name is Domino Ray.
But the voice inside her head has a different name.
When Madam Karina finds Domino in an alleyway, she offers her a position at her girls' home in secluded West Texas. With no alternatives and an agenda of her own, Domino accepts. It isn't long before she is fighting her way up the ranks to gain the madam's approval...and falling for Cain, the mysterious boy living in the basement.
But the madam has horrible secrets. So do the girls in the house. So does Cain. Escaping is harder than Domino expects, though, because the madam doesn't like to lose inventory. But then, Madam Karina doesn't know about the danger living inside Domino's mind.
Madam Karina doesn't know about Wilson.
Violet Grenade was not what I was expecting. At all. It has several interesting ideas, but none of them worked very well together. When we meet Domino, she’s living on the streets with a boy named Dizzy. She wears heavy makeup, several piercings, and colorful wigs. Then Dizzy is arrested and Domino has no money for bail. Coincidentally, she meets Madam Karina who offers her a job at her home for girls. It sounds too good to be true, but what other choice does Domino have?
The one thing that I loved about Violet Grenade was the idea of Madam Karina’s home for girls. I think it’s pretty obvious what she has the girls do for money, and it becomes apparent to Domino fairly quickly as well. The girls “perform” each night for paying customers, and as the girls move up the ranks, the more the customers pay, and the more liberties they’re allowed. It’s really sick since they’re all teenagers, most under 18, but Madam Karina has her reasons, but not very good ones.
That’s where Violet Grenade partially lost me. Madam Karina’s motivations make zero sense. I think the author was trying to do too much to make her a villain, but also sympathetic, and also straight up twisted. I just had to roll my eyes when she was telling Domino why she opened the house. Then the actual housing system also didn’t make sense. Like I said, the girls have ranks (lowest is Carnation, highest is Violet), and that determines their pay rate as well as their chores. Well, as Domino is working her way up the ranks, she tells us that Tulips (Rank 3) polish silverware and fold linens. When she was a Carnation, she scrubbed floors and toilets. My question is, if the girls aren’t allowed to visit the areas of the house not reserved for their rank, who was cleaning the higher rank girls’ bathrooms?
Where Violet Grenade utterly failed for me was with Wilson. I believe Domino is suppose to have Dissosiative Identity Disorder, since Wilson comes out when she’s threatened and essentially protects her. Wilson also had originally appeared when Domino was forced to do awful things for her mother. That could have been really interesting and emotional, if I had believed it. But the way Wilson is presented is just….uncomfortable. It didn’t read like someone who was actually mentally ill. He felt more there for shock value, and honestly didn’t add much. I would have believed Domino simply snapping more than her disappearing and being replaced by Wilson.
Violet Grenade simply didn’t work for me. Yes, I was intrigued by this brothel in the middle of nowhere, because people are twisted. But Violet’s mental health was poorly written and I couldn’t take it seriously. Madam Karina also wasn’t believable at all, and that scene toward the end when she meets Wilson was ridiculous.