- Author: Bex Hogan
- Series: Isles of Storm and Sorrow #1
- Genre: Fantasy
- No. of pages: 400
- Dates read: 16.05.19 – 21.05.19
- Star rating: 3.75 stars
I got this from a book subscription box and I had bought other ones for the same company and had not enjoyed the books selected that much or at all! So going into this I was quite worried I would have the same experience but I was happy to be proven wrong!
Plot: 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?
For starters, the world of the Eastern Isles is really imaginative and I loved being in that world. I felt the introduction to the world and its history was done really well and was a very interesting part of the story. I really enjoyed hearing about the past between the Eastern and Western Isles. It was all thought out very well. Hogan’s descriptive writing of the different islands was really fun to read about. You could picture yourself there.
I have never read a pirate story before and I feel this is a really good introduction into these kinds of novels. I felt that Hogan’s writing when it came to explaining the ways of the Viper’s ship and all the sailing jargon was done really well to show the intricacies and knowledge Hogan had but also simpler enough that if you had never heard of this stuff before you weren’t incredibly lost. Also, the description of fighting was amazing, since these characters are such skilled fighters you have to have writing that matches that.
The female characters were stand out in this novel and I felt Marianne was a great protagonist. I especially loved her internal struggle of trying to figure out where she stands in the world and who she truly is. Her strength was something I truly loved about her, despite everything, she stands tall and continues to fight. It’s a very admiral trait to have in a female character.
Her relationship with her father was the most interesting part of the whole book. It’s a very traumatic and heart-breaking dynamic that could be hard for certain readers to read. You spend the whole book rooting for her, as you truly see a monster more than a man with Captain Alder. I think it’s an interesting pairing to have with a book as I am used to female characters standing up against evil mothers, not fathers.
I really enjoyed the exploration of what it means to be a woman in the world and especially what sacrifices the female characters have had to make in order to survive whether it’s on an island or on the Viper’s ship.
I thought the arranged marriage between Torin and Marianne was done really well. I think most arranged marriages are written to be evil things that act as prisons for the main character and while this can be the case, it was nice to see a more positive spin on a trope which is normally used more negatively.
My only qualms with this novel are:
I felt the magic and all the stuff surrounding the magic could have been introduced or hinted at earlier on. There were signs here and there but they were too subtle and I felt when they did the big reveal that it came out of no-where and I would have been happy if she just a normal teenager trying to survive.
I really didn’t like the whole “I’m scared of the darkness within me” trope that happens a lot in books like this. I found that it was used to much and it got quite tiresome by the end of it as personally, I would love to see her embrace all sides of herself.
Finally, the romance took some time to really work for me. I am not the biggest fan of romance in stories, as I have seen it be done horribly so I am always cautious but I ended up enjoying it, it just took some time.