Friday, March 02, 2012

Virtuosity, by Jessica Martinez

In the world of violin virtuosos, there is only one person who comes close to Carmen's talent: Jeremy King. But when the two of them meet for the first time at the prestigious Guarneri competition, it is more than a match of skills. Instead, as one would expect in a story like this, there is a romantic story to tell as well, and it is very complicated. Are their feelings legitimate or simply the result of being locked in a tough competition? Is Jeremy's interest even real or just (as Carmen's mother warns her) a cynical ploy to gain an advantage in the contest? And can Carmen trust her heart when she is in such a vulnerable position?

It's a taut and suspenseful story with complicated characters and complex motives, all wrapped up in the tense environment of a brutal competition. In many ways, the story will seem like a enthralling but well-trod formula. However, there are some real twists at the end that will throw you off. And the ending itself (while perhaps a bit too clean), is satisfying in an unexpected way.

Without a doubt, the real draw of this book is the storytelling. The characters are interesting, but it's the plot itself and some excellent pacing that kept me hooked. Martinez knows how to tell a story and I look forward to reading more from her.

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