Hello my lovelies!
Yesterday was my stop on the Venom blog tour and today I’m here to share with you my thoughts and feelings about this INCREDIBLE book. I had the utter joy of messaging Bex as I read and spouting forth my thoughts to her, so a massive thank you to her for listening!
Why yes, yes this is 2 days in a row of the same book. Sue me. I needed to give this book as much love as I could because YOU GUYS.
Venom: a total and utter ride that will leave you yearning for more!
“Marianne has never wanted to be a fighter, but with unrest and discord threatening the Twelve Islands, she will have to battle threats both inside and out in an attempt to attain peace for her homeland. Marianne is now the Viper, but her hopes for peace in the Eastern Isles are being frustrated. The corrupt King remains on the throne, bandits are proving hard to stop and Marianne is not sure who among her crew she can truly trust. For the islands to prosper, the invisible bond that once existed uniting land and sea must be reinstated. There’s only one way that can happen – the return of magic. To do that Marianne must put aside all her fears: she must return to her roots, the Western Isles, and call on the power that runs in her blood. She must become a Mage. Only then, can she possibly command the army needed to finally take down the King.”
For those of you who’ve been living under a rock, last year, Bex Hugan released the incredible Viper: the first book in the Isles of Storm and Sorrow trilogy. Viper begins the incredible story of Marianne, who is a badass pirate assassin who has a lot of crap to deal with. When I read Viper, I fell in love with the pirate-y goodness and the sense of danger, magic and the characters… SO WHEN I WAS ASKED IF I WANTED TO READ VENOM, I INSTANTLY said yes.
Friends… you are NOT ready for this book. (I mean you are, we’ve waited a year for it… but let me tell you there are FEELS and THINGS and OH MY GOD).
So Venom starts us off not too long after the end of Viper. Marianne is now the Viper (basically badass pirate assassin, captain of the ship… I don’t want her job but man I think she’s brilliant!) and things are starting to change for her. Her relationship with the Prince changes slightly and then something tragic happens which really brings out the worstin the corrupt and wicked King. Marianne becomes a little bit of public enemy number 1 and she has to use all of her wiles to try and escape. As she always manages to do, she finds a way… but not without a mishap or 7. She makes her way back to where she came from and realises that magic is in fact a massive part of who she is and what happens when she takes the plunge took my breath away and left me reeling… AND THE ENDING CRUSHED MY SOUL, BEX HOGAN I AM NOT YOUR FRIEND.
This review is going to be really hard to get through WITHOUT giving away too many spoilers because friends, let me tell you, this book is INCREDIBLE.
I loved being back in the world of pirate assassins and incredible adventures.
We see Marianne go through some PRETTY horrible things in the name of trying to be a good person. She just wants what is best for the people of the lands, but there are always people standing in her way. We do of course get some scenes on ships (it’s a pirate land after all) and I loved being back here. The islands all fascinate me in their own different ways: there’s so many of them and they’re so varied that it would be easy to get lost, but you never feel like you don’t know where you are.
There is a perpetual state of peril and danger in this book, which kept me on edge throughout.
I never knew if Marianne would be safe, or get hurt, or die, or what… there’s just that constant on the edge of your seat-ness as you go through and I think that is just magnificent. You know in a world of pirate assassins that life ain’t going to be smooth sailing (ha). In Viper, you knew that life was dangerous for Marianne and co, but you always had the sense that they had the upper hand. In Venom, it seems like there are others who have their ways and means for having that upper hand, so it brought an additional level of danger to the situation.
Being back in this world meant being back with some of my favourite characters and introduces us to some new ones, who add so much to the story. Brilliant, wonderful Marianne is back in all of her clever, wily brilliance. She’s got this sense of duality about her in Venom that I thought was wonderfully written. You see that she is fighting with 2 very big parts of herself, but deep down she knows the answers. She’s a magnificent main character because she’s innately human. She’s flawed, courageous and loving. She makes some QUESTIONABLE choices in this book and at times I wanted to punch her (there were many times I also wanted to hug her and tell her it was going to be OK).
The other characters in this book add so much to it. They give the world and the people in it such depth and complexity.
Let’s start with the man himself: Bronn. You KNOW I was a fan of Bronn in the first book – he gave me such delight and joy and I WAS CONCERNED ABOUT HIM throughout the second. As a massive fan of a ship, this was the one thing I needed to be a thing… and I’m not going to spoil it but MAN. BEX HOGAN YOU JUST ARE THE WORST. There’s a wonderful scene between Marianne and Bronn that made my heart LEAP with delight. Seeing lots of familiar faces made me so happy because it felt like being back with the gang again. As well as them, there’s some new characters in this book that I adored. We meet two sisters who have a connection to Marianne and I thought they were great. They’ve very opposite to each other, but they both bring a lot of goodness to the story and to Marianne’s life. There’s an old Mage who I was definitely blind-sighted by. I can’t go into much more detail without spoilers here, but my god I was BETRAYED. There’s loads of brilliant characters throughout the book that I just need SOMEONE ELSE TO READ IT so I can talk about them all.
I dunno guys, I could ramble on about a lot of things in this book and how brilliant they are, but I don’t think you need to hear my rambling… YOU NEED TO READ THE BOOK. Just take my word for it… you need to read this book because it gave me everything I wanted and so much more. I laughed; I cried. I swore A LOT. I was angry. I felt at times like I’d lost a little part of myself. I was SHOCKED (I had to stop reading at the end of the first chapter because I was BLOWN AWAY). This book is a complete and utter roller coaster that you all just need to have in your lives because it’s magnificent and Bex Hogan has a lot of explaining to do in book 3.
Because y’all know I’m a sucker for a moodboard, I decided to create one for Venom. I hope those who read it can see what each of my pictures means, and I hope for those who haven’t read it, these pictures make you want to read!
My Goodreads review is a great summary for all of these feelings I have… (all 1300 words of feelings haha)
WELL. I am broken. This book has taken everything from me. It’s dangerous and wild; secrets and lies; deception and betrayal. It’s twists and turns and majesticness. It’s all the fun of Viper but with a heightened level of peril. It’s magic and love and loss. I went through EVERY emotion here and I swore (a lot). What an absolute ride. I loved being back in this world. It was everything I wanted and so much more.
If you’d like to buy Venom, please please do. Both Viper and Venom are WELL WORTH the emotions, trials and tribulations you will go through. I’ve left some links below or support your local indie and buy it from them (can recommend Big Green Bookshop on twitter, they might be able to help you out!)
PHEW! Thanks for sticking with me through that guys… you have made your way through one of my longest reviews ever I think!
Have you been introduced to this world yet?
Are you curious about why I felt all of the feels?
ARE YOU GOING TO BUY THIS BOOK PLEASE?
Thank you so much for stopping by and reading today’s review! You are all my heroes!