Sarah Reviews… Venom by Bex Hogan

Good morning! Well it will be when you read this. Allow me to set the scene, as most of this review was written. It was just coming up to 11pm the day after I finished reading Viper and I was already done with Venom and let me warn you right now this book gave me all the feelings… I thought Viper couldn’t be topped boy was I wrong! Read on people and join the club! Although actually if you’ve not read Viper yet don’t read on as spoilers lie ahead! Do yourselves a favour and go buy the book instead…

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Title: Venom

Author: Bex Hogan

Publisher: Orion Children’s Books

Publication Date: 9th April 2020

Format: Paperback

About The Book…

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.

What I Thought…

This is going to be a Venom spoiler free review, I really don’t want to ruin the experience of anyone reading the book but there will be some spoilers for Viper in the upcoming paragraphs. There some developments in Viper I can’t really help but mention when talking about a few of the characters, plus there are a couple of things I just need to say that I carefully avoided mentioning in my Viper review. So this is your final warning, if you haven’t read Viper yet and you don’t want to be spoiled leave now….

Okay quick review of the key events at the end of Viper, Adler finally catches up with Marianne and kills Grace, before Marianne kills him and becomes The Viper. Now that’s a very short summary of several brilliant, tension filled chapters but Bex we need to have words… Grace, poor sweet Grace… Okay sweet isn’t really the word I’d use to describe her, she was fierce and I was very fond of her why did she have to die?! Logically I know the answer to this but still Bex, why would you put me through that?

Mini rant over let’s talk about Venom. Marianne has taken her place as The Viper and knows that Creepy King™ is not looking out for the best interests of his subjects, Venom follows Marianne as she fights for survival, for both herself and the Isles, and begins to embrace her full heritage. I loved the fact Venom was split in two halves, the first as Marianne makes her way through the Eastern Isles we became familiar with in Viper. Before the second part takes us across the waters into the Western Isles. I loved the hints of politics that featured, along with the increased focus on magic. There’s not much more I can say about the plot without giving away spoilers but boy was this book tense! I read this in two sittings, and that was only because I had to put it down to sleep and work, I needed to know what was going to happen with Marianne and that ending!

I’m not sure I can say that much about the characters while staying spoiler free… I’ll touch very briefly on two of our central characters and then mention a few newbies. Let’s start with the main lady herself Marianne; following her journey was so interesting, there’s definitely a lot of character development, although I won’t say I necessarily agree with all of her decisions… Right now I’m still very much #TeamBronn, I really felt bad for him at various points through the book, and I have many possible scenarios to explain a certain situation…

As we move into a whole new set of islands we have a whole new set of characters to get to know! In no particular order I’m going to talk about a few… Jax is one of the Guardians from the Western Isles and has a connection to one of our existing characters. I really enjoyed being introduced to a lot of the guardians but Jax gets a special mention for that reason. I hope they’ll be back in the final book. Also special mention goes to the Sisters in the West as I have dubbed them, Rayvn, Olwyn and Pip, along with their grandmother are fantastic characters. I loved that we got to understand a little more about Marianne’s history through them, and that they were all fierce women! We also have a new character – no names – who is up there alongside Adler and Creepy King™ in my desire to end them. I’m very much looking forward to seeing what Vulture brings for all our characters, I’m hoping for some happy endings, but also one or two gruesome ones!

Finally I’m just going to take a second to mention the map of the isles at the start of the book. I mentioned the original version of it in my Viper review, and I love the updated version of it here. The attention to detail in it is wonderful, the way Flower Isle is now barren whereas in Viper it was covered in flowers is a great touch. I also love the fact we now have names for all the Western Isles, there was much speculation on my part about what might be waiting on each of the islands.

Final Thoughts…

Bex Hogan what have you done?! Still no spoilers as I promised but I am not okay with that ending, Charlotte got many swear words in response to it as I desperately searched for more pages that must somehow have been missed out of my copy. Safe to say Vulture is already on pre order but I’m not sure how I’m lasting until April and even if I do I’m not sure I’ll be ready to say goodbye to these characters and these islands then!

The Isles of Storm and Sorrow series on Goodreads

More Bex Hogan on SWB

About The Author…

Raised on a healthy diet of fantasy and fairy tales, Bex Hogan has spent much of her life lost in daydreams. Writing her stories down was a natural progression and now she enjoys sharing her time between living in the real world and escaping to her imagination. A Cornish girl at heart, Bex now lives in Cambridgeshire with her husband, two beautiful daughters and crazy cocker spaniel. She might be found riding horses, talking to her plants or eating marzipan. Or not.

Connect With Bex

Website // Twitter // Instagram

Want To Buy It?


As always if you’ve read the book let me know what you thought! If you’ve not read it yet will my review convince you to pick it up?

3 thoughts on “Sarah Reviews… Venom by Bex Hogan

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