Viper by Bex Hogan
What a quiet little loud book.
Don’t know what I mean by that? Well, to me, Viper is one of those books that seems to have passed under the radar of a lot of fantasy lovers. Why? UKYA doesn’t have a big market for fantasy, and it blows my mind. This book had great publicity, a beautiful cover, and a promising synopsis (pirates!). But for some reason did not get the buzz and clout it truly deserves.
I received a proof of Viper from BKMRK (Hachette) in exchange for an honest review, but didn’t really pick it up until one (1) person had told me they’d actually read it and enjoyed it. I love receiving recommendations from friends and social media mutuals. So it was one thing getting it in the post, but even better that someone was telling me to pick up the damn thing and read it.
So, not that much buzz and knowing almost nothing about the book. You’d think it wasn’t looking good, but actually, I read Viper in one weekend and woah, did I enjoy it.
Viper is a great mixture of action, sadness and hope. While the book is about pirates, the story is more in keeping with a realistic portrayal of what pirates once were (and still are) today. It’s violent, bloody, unfair, and downright frightening.
So basically, this ain’t no Pirates of the Caribbean ride at Disneyland.
Marianne is our protagonist, the daughter of the ruthless Viper, the King’s ‘pirate’ who patrols the high seas and does the kingdom’s dirty work. Yet Marianne’s upbringing hasn’t made her want to take the side of her father. It’s made her traumatised, lonely, and frightened.
But that’s what I love about her so much.
So many novels make the female hero this unemotional, unforgiving, shell of a person who kills and feels nothing. And while I’ve gone on in the past about loving anti-heroines and angry female characters, I love any type of female character that’s written to be human. Marianne cries, feels insecure, is angry, overwhelmed, and fears for her life. Every day is stressful, who wouldn’t cry about it sometimes?
Above all, this was a fantastic, fast paced novel with believable human characters that clearly understood the magnitude of the what they were going through. Trust me, many characters in fantasy don’t. Also, it’s UKYA, and I think if we want more UKYA fantasy published, we have to support the very little we receive right now. Because despite how little the offering is, you’ll still feel that five stars is very much deserved.