Readers: February 27th: Apologies for the scattered posting that's about to come during the next week or so. University has just started and I have a lot of work to do to get on top of things (and ahead!). Thanks for your patience, as always.

Publishers: I promise I'm not abandoning the lovely review copies you've sent!
I'm getting through them and the reviews will come eventually!

Friday, October 28, 2011

Review: Virtuosity

Title: Virtuosity
Author: Jessica Martinez
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Published: November 1st 2011
Source: Simon & Schuster Australia for review

Now is not the time for Carmen to fall in love. Two weeks before the most important violin competition of her career, she has bigger things to worry about—like growing out of that suffocating “child prodigy” label, and not disappointing her mother. But it isn’t just the wrong time. It’s the wrong guy. Jeremy is Carmen’s most talented rival, and according to her mother, he’s only interested in one thing: winning. He isn’t the only one. Carmen is so desperate to win she takes anti-anxiety drugs to control performance nerves. But what started a year ago as an easy fix is now a hungry addiction. Her mother insists now is not the time to quit, but Carmen is sick of not feeling anything on stage and even more sick of doing what she’s told. When the darker side of the classical music industry and her mother's ambition collide, Carmen must choose between her career and her love for music.

Calling all music lovers! Virtuosity brings alive the passionate love a person can have for music and the things they sometimes they have to sacrifice in order to pursue it. The novel starts with an absolutely bang, right at the climax of the novel where Carmen is about to make the most important decision of her life, one that could devastate her musical career forever. From then on, Carmen grows infinitely as a character as relationships are tested and stretched to limits, and as she learns that life is usually unfair. Virtuosity is a great read that I recommend to anyone who has a strong love for anything!

This novel will bring about quite a few laughs. Carmen is a one of the best violinists in the whole world and her exciting adventure begins one night when she decides to stalk Jeremy King, the only person standing in her way of winning the Guarneri competition. It comes around only once every four years and is the most prestigious title in the world, the winner taking home prize money, a priceless violin and the chance to play with some of the best symphonies in the world. Carmen and Jeremy immediately click, although she is very reluctant to get chummy with the enemy. Virtuosity deals with Carmen's struggles leading up to the competition, while she battles the fear that she's only being used. Are Jeremy's feelings real? Is he buttering her up so that she'll let him win? Is he planning to break her heart and mind? Readers are left in darkness and must wait until the end to find out! Oh how my heart broke for Carmen. Along with her conflicting feelings for Jeremy, she attempts to come off her anxiety pills with the competition looming just around the corner and her controlling mother doesn't believe that she can win without them. This novel is packed with raw emotion and compelling plot that you'll love.

Jeremy and Carmen's relationship begins quite suddenly and quickly. Usually this insta-love would annoy me but it suitably adds to the mystery of his motives, and despite the worry about the genuineness of his feelings, I really liked their relationship! Jeremy helps bring Carmen out of her shell and her innocence is a beautiful contrast to his cocky confidence. I think the events leading up to and after the climax will really shock you. I thought I had the story figured out but was I wrong! Tension and betrayal…who's to blame?

Virtuosity teaches us lessons about believing in ourselves, doing what's right and ultimately growing to be stronger people who persevere no matter how difficult the task. The ending is so fitting and I love Martinez for not taking the easy way out. We're left with a sense of hope that what's to come in the future will be good. A really great story that'll ring strong with music lovers!
Who plays/has played an instrument? I used to play the clarinet and a little bit of piano.. It was fun! I didn't become a muso like Carmen but it was definitely something that gave me peace ;) I couldn't stop listening to violin music on Youtube while I was reading this - it really added to the atmosphere!

Which cover do you prefer?

Find Jessica on Twitter, Goodreads, Facebook, her website and blog.
Buy Virtuosity from Amazon, The Book Depository and Barnes & Noble.
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