Review of Viper by Bex Hogan

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?
A brave heroine. An impossible dilemma. An epic new fantasy trilogy set on the high seas.

Firstly, YA Fantasy covers are knocking it out of the park so far this year, Viper has colour and foiling and it’s just wonderful. Whilst I read this as an Arc via Netgalley, I then received a copy in my Fairyloot box which was amazing as I absolutely loved this book and to have that cover in my grabby hands is awesome. Viper is the kind of book that grabs you with both hands from the opening lines and pulls you under the waves so you are totally immersed in the story. I knew immediately that this would be a book for me, as the characters, the setting and the use of language were perfect. I found that the author writes in a way that I would speak so the words just worked for me on every level, it truly is a wonderful debut.

Marianne is an amazing character, struggling under the will of the patriarchy but holding her own under the weight of parental irresponsibility. I loved how defiant she was, even in the face of the most feared of men she stayed true to herself and her beliefs, although her recklessness did on occasion bother me as she knew the ways in which her father would be cruel. Life on deck is vivid and brutal, yet she manages it all in full skirts and corset and whilst we know that as the captains daughter she is off limits, there is still a read dread as the crew circle like sharks waiting for her (in their minds) inevitable failure.

Bex Hogan is so good at building up tension, there were parts that I was scared to keep turning the page on as I was willing things I was rightly or wrongly anticipating not to happen, the sense of anticipation was real. Topics aren’t shied away from and it gets pretty graphic at times, so I would suggest that this is more of an upper YA age range read. It’s also a tough job to world build when your story is set on the ocean but again, I felt that not only were the tumultuous seas wonderfully crafted but I loved the imagination that went into the islands too. They are small but each one is beautifully unique bringing a valued purpose to the story.

The book itself had a YA Game of Thrones vibe and also, this is going to sound weird, a little Assassins Creed: Black Flag as the sea battles are pretty epic. If you enjoy amazing characters, great world building, and high seas adventure then you will love Viper, it’s actually a book that I’m happy to know is going to be a trilogy as I can’t wait to come back to these characters.

5*

 

 

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