Viper by Bex Hogan
From Goodreads: He will make me a killer. Or he will have me killed. That is my destiny.
Seventeen-year-old Marianne is fated to one day become the Viper, defender of the Twelve Isles.
But the reigning Viper stands in her way. Corrupt and merciless, he prowls the seas in his warship, killing with impunity, leaving only pain and suffering in his wake.
He’s the most dangerous man on the ocean . . . and he is Marianne’s father.
She was born to protect the islands. But can she fight for them if it means losing her family, her home, the boy she loves – and perhaps even her life?
Quick confession: I actually read this book about a month ago and thanks to YALC and uni work, totally forgot that I hadn’t reviewed it until I looked back over my archives. Oops.
Okay, I loved, loved, LOVED Viper. I knew I would, simply from the premise alone. There was magic, high seas escapades, pirates and a freaking gorgeous cover, so I knew I was in good hands here. I was told prior to picking it up that it was a little dark, and fairly graphic in terms of gore in some places [plus potentially body horror because of needles and sewing maybe?] so I guess anyone wanting to read it might appreciate a quick head’s up on that.
The descriptions in the book were what grabbed me first. They’re so gorgeous and layered and I swear I did a little sigh when I read some of them for the first time. There’s a lot of amazing lines in here, and I liked that they were interspersed well. It works with the pacing. Bex seems to have this fabulous gift for being able to balance description, dialogue and action. There were so many gorgeous bits to pick out, but equally there were lots of pithy one liners and some quick, terse sentences too to balance them all out.
As you may have guessed, a pirate-y book with a kick ass heroine probably needed some great dialogue too, and again, I got what I expected. There were some genuine laugh out loud moments along the way, which really lightened the mood when things got dark.
Boy, did they get dark.
It isn’t the darkest YA book I’ve read, but there’s a lot of violence and blood and horrible things in here too. Again, I feel like it was pretty obvious from the outset, so I wasn’t overly surprised, but yeah, there were some intense moments in there.
In terms of the characters, I thought Marianne was very fleshed out and realistic. She sounded like someone I would be friends with. I liked that, although she was pretty badass when it came to fighting, her heroics weren’t just about physical stuff. There were lots of moments where I could see her strength simply in her survival, her determination, her desire to create something beautiful and better. She was also smart, but I never felt like she crossed the line into Mary Sue territory.
There was a dash of romance [come on, it is YA], but I liked that it never took over or obscured the main part of the plot. It was always about Marianne and her relationship with her father, which was filled with complexity and mixed emotions and was handled with a precise and deft touch. I’m really, really excited to see where the next book will take us with the plot, because there was such an awesome cliffhanger right at the end and I need book two now.
If there was anything even remotely negative about Viper, I will say that I found the magic in it a bit forgotten about? There was some stuff about it right at the start, that I thought would be very important, but then it just sort of didn’t go anywhere? It was mentioned again briefly somewhere in the middle of the book, and then again right towards the end, but for me I picked up the novel expecting there to be lots of it. I wouldn’t have minded there being no magic at all, because the plot was pretty tight without it, but it seemed a bit odd to have it in there so fleetingly. It does make me wonder if Bex is going to use it less sporadically in Venom though.
Overall, I’m giving Viper a 9.5/10 stars. I thought it was an amazing book, one of my favourites of the year so far, and I loved reading it. I’m definitely looking forward to Venom next year, and will be excitedly praying for an ARC so I can find out what happens next!
Has anyone else read this book already or plans to? What do you all think of it? Let me know in the comment section down below ❤