YA Review: Viper (Isles of Storm and Sorrow #1)

Title: Viper
Author: Bex Hogan
Edition: Paperback
Rating: 5/5

Right from the start, I loved this book. The first chapter wastes no time, throwing the reader into the blood-soaked life of the protagonist from page one, and building a strong character in a very few pages. There are no wasted words, no unnecessary descriptions, and no unimportant events. Chapter one introduces violence, conflict, fear, and betrayal, setting up the themes of the book. By the end of chapter two, all the pieces are in place for a thrilling pirate-based adventure.

I know I have a soft spot for pirate stories, seafaring tales, and strong female protagonists, and Viper brings all these things together with some vividly described settings and plenty of action. The main character, seventeen-year-old Marianne, is intelligent and brave, facing her fears and learning how to survive as the daughter of the Viper – the most feared ship’s captain on the ocean, and defender of the Twelve Isles. While the Viper is committed to training Marianne to follow in his bloodthirsty footsteps, she has other ideas, refusing to kill for him and turning her attention to stories of magic from the lost Western Isles.

There’s triumph and tragedy, friendship and betrayal, fear and strength, and some gorgeous settings. I wanted to visit the Twelve Isles, and by the end of the book I felt as if I had set foot on several of them. The descriptions are intriguing, and every time Marianne steps onto land the reader can feel the sun, smell the flowers, or wince at the sharp rocks underfoot. The descriptions of the ocean are just as vivid, evoking a sailor’s respect for the power of the sea.

Strong friendships and stronger betrayals are a theme of the book, as the loyalties of the Viper’s crew are tested, and Marianne uncovers her father’s plans for her future. A romantic subplot brings plenty of surprises, with the relationships developing in unexpected ways. The main characters are sympathetic and interesting, and the story is relentless, pushing through danger and nail-biting action to a satisfying conclusion.

This is an effective piece of escapism, which draws the reader into the world of the Twelve Isles, and sets everything up for the rest of the trilogy. I loved seeing the world through Marianne’s eyes, and I can’t wait for Book Two!

Have you read Viper? What did you think of the story? Are you looking forward to Venom – Book Two in the series? Click through to the full blog to access the comments section, and share your thoughts! No spoilers, though – you can post those on GoodReads!

Review cross-posted to GoodReads.


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