Marianne has trained all her life to become the next Viper, the captain who defends the twelve isles from the seas. She has reckoned without the brutality of the current Viper, her father. Together with his crew, the fearsome Snakes, he is terrorising the land.
When she reaches her eighteenth birthday, Marianne’s life is in danger. Her only option is to flee the ship, learn the extent of her father’s corruption and fight to defend her land.
Hunted and haunted, Marianne loses everything in order to claim her destiny.
This is a story about one girl – her past, her future, and the battles she must fight to protect the people in her kingdom. As fearsome and capable as any of the Snakes, Marianne’s father would prefer her to marry a prince than take up her title. Set in a world of fighter ships and castles, land and sea, this is set to be a huge hit.
As the first book in the series, this gave us an oversight of the land and a grasp of its political structure. My favourite part was somewhere around the middle where we learned a huge amount of backstory (no spoilers) about the world. Like fantasy books with extensive geography? This one is for you.
The themes are dark. Marianne’s father is manipulative and cruel and the book is about the people who are unable to live their lives safely while their rulers allow such tyranny to continue. There are some pretty gory moments which will be popular with people who like realistic pirate novels .Think horrendous punishments and sieges and blood-thirsty revenge.
I loved the gradual release of backstory which gave context to the events of the novel, and the complex relationships between some of the characters. Forget straight and boring friendships. As a reader I was never quite certain who I could trust, which heightened the tension and made me care more for Marianne.
A must for readers of fantasy YA and a brilliant new world to explore.
Thanks to Orion Children’s Books for my proof copy of Viper. Opinions my own.