Cover of Till Human Voices Wake Us by Rebecca Roque. A flaming, purple domino mask.

About the Book

Title: Till Human Voices Wake Us (The Violet Hour Trilogy #1)
Published: 2024

Cover Story: Put on a Face
Drinking Buddy: The Dripping Blood Our Only Drink
MPAA Rating: R (extreme violence, murder, drug use, child abuse, suicide)
Talky Talk: Fear Death by Water
Bonus Factors: Coverup, Disabled Protagonist
Bromance Status: Not With a Bang…

Content Warning: Suicide, Child Abuse

Cover Story: Put on a Face

Not a very eye-catching cover, and the burning mask is only tangentially related to a scene in the book.

The Deal:

When Silencia (Cia) was a toddler, her biological father’s drug lab burned down, killing her mother and three sisters, and leaving Cia with one leg. Now seventeen, Cia has been adopted by two loving fathers and has kind of found her place in the world. She runs track and has great friends, Alice and Will.

But not all is right in her town. Bonedust, the drug her father manufactured, is devastating the community. Kids are vanishing. And now Alice, her best friend, has been found floating in the quarry, an apparent suicide. But Alice would never do such a thing. Plus, the night before she died she’d texted Cia that she’d discovered something big about the disappearances and begged Cia to talk to her. But they’d had a fight and Cia was pissy and ignored her.

Wracked with guilt, Cia teams up with outcast Judah, who is searching for his missing twin brother Aaron, Alice’s ex. Together, they uncover a lot of things that people would just as soon stay burried.

Drinking Buddy: The Dripping Blood Our Only Drink

Two pints of beer cheersing

Cia obviously came up hard. Her biological parents hid her and her sisters from the world. No one knew they existed until authorities pulled Cia and her family’s corpses from the ruins of their house. And now that her closest friend Alice is dead, she’s going to be consumed with guilt forever. Unless she can prove to the authorities that this was no suicide. Her dads insist that she’s just going through survivor guilt, but things just don’t add up. It’s all down to her to prove that there was foul play afoot. But maybe there are people who are willing to help her out. Santi, the local drug connection. Judah, whose tough exterior hides a sensitive guy who lost his brother. Will, who may have had feelings for Alice. Slightly older guy Remmy, who has connections with the police force and realizes Cia is no longer a little girl.

MPAA Rating: R (extreme violence, murder, drug use, child abuse, suicide)

This was certainly an edge of your seat, nail biter of a book. When those guys corner Cia and Judah down by the river and clearly don’t have their best interests at heart…I was never so annoyed to be called into my dentist appointment, and that’s saying a lot. Murders, coverups, drug dealers. I’m in.

Talky Talk: Fear Death by Water

This book, which is the first of three, really was gripping. However, at times it felt a little too ‘busy.’ There were so many clues and so many people involved, it almost felt that Cia was the only one not included in the cover up. We have this fictional drug ‘bonedust,’ but we’re never told what the effects are or why it’s so popular. Every time (and I mean every time) someone helps Cia out, they end up in the hospital, in jail, or vanished. Will’s mother being involved in a drunk driving fatality seemed disconnected from the main plot. The kids disappearing aren’t just aren’t two or three, but dozens (we’re never told where this story takes place, so it’s difficult to judge what percentage of the population this is). I would have liked the bad guys to be more subtle and underhanded. If they made so many kids vanish, why did they bother faking Alice’s suicide?

Also, Cia and Judah kiss less than an hour after they discover his brother Aaron’s decomposing body. Ugh.

Bonus Factor: Coverup

Nancy Drew creeping up an old stone staircase with her flashlight

So why are so many kids vanishing or dying under mysterious circumstances? Why did so many of them die in fires (and why did Cia’s fire fighter father sign off on all the reports)? Who was this mysterious doctor Aaron was working for? What’s the strange, secret organization that Santi is connected with? Is the local doctor and his charity hospital really so benevolent? Who is ‘the chemist’ who keeps sending Cia threatening texts and is obviously someone she knows? Why do Cia’s fathers insist that nothing is wrong?

Bonus Factor: Disabled Protagonist

Close up of a hand on a wheelchair wheel.

Cia lost a leg the night her bio family’s house burned down. But she’s a scrapper, and even runs on her prosthetic. And when she’s in a tight corner, a metal leg can make one hell of an offensive weapon.

Bromance Status: Not With a Bang…

This trilogy started off kind of shakily, but I still can’t wait to see what happens next.

Literary Matchmaking

Scars Like Wings

Erin Stewart’s Scars Like Wings also deals with a burn victim who lost her family.

My Chemical Mountain

My Chemical Mountain, by Corina Vacco, also deals with a town in the grip of a coverup.

The May Queen Murders

The May Queen Murders, by Sarah Jude, also is about a murder and coverup.

FCC Full Disclosure: I received a free ebook from the publisher, but no money or red pills

Brian wrote his first YA novel when he was down and out in Mexico. He now lives in Missouri with his wonderful wife and daughter. He divides his time between writing and working as a school librarian. Brian still misses the preachy YA books of the eighties.