Series: Yes, #1
UK Publisher: Templar
UK Release date: September 2012
Genre: YA, Mythology
Kindly given by the publisher for an honest review
Watch out, all you mythological beasties roaming the streets of San Francisco - There's a new kick-ass team of demon-fighters coming your way - Meet Grace, who just moved to San Francisco. Then, there's Gretchen, who is fed up of monsters pulling her out into the small hours, especially on a school night. And Greer, who has her life pretty well put together, thank you very much. But everything tilts sideways when two girls who look eerily like her appear on her doorstep and claim they're all sisters. These three teenage descendants of Medusa must reunite and embrace their fates in this unique paranormal world where monsters lurk in plain sight. (Amazon)
I found Sweet Venom to be a fun and sassy read, and I loved the mythological twist of Greek-style monsters roaming the streets of San Francisco. The monsters were creepy, smelly and each very distinct. Tera Lynn Childs did a great job of recreating snarling beasts, and having been trained to send them back to their world, Gretchen was the perfect, feisty monster hunter. Straight away we were thrown into Gretchen's monster fighting life, giving the story instant pace and action. As Grace and Greer became involved in the foray later on, their attempts at sending the monsters back were a little clumsy and haphazard but it made the story feel more dangerous, as well as humorous.
The story is told from the points of view of three sisters: Grace, Gretchen and Greer. Each girl has a very distinct personality and narrative voice making it easy to distinguish whose POV you were reading. I loved Gretchen's fierce and tough attitude, and Grace's sweet and caring nature. Grace was a pushover but I could relate more easily to her, as she struggled to fit in at a new school. As she gained strength throughout the book I was there cheering her on. Greer, who enters the story much later on, was a bit of a snob who won't accept less than the best. She wasn't easy to like to start, but all of the sisters changed and learnt a little over the story and it made them all more admirable for it.
Lots of things started going wrong for Gretchen, with the plot taking unexpected twists and turns. Her mentor Ursula has disappeared and the rules that means only one monster can be in the human world at a time has changed. Straight away there is a sense of danger, and although Gretchen flounders a little, Grace sees everything in a positive life. There are plenty of questions that need answering and mysteries to solve. Although the story ends on a positive and hopeful note, there was little resolution to any of the plot questions, leaving a lot to be answered in the next books. Whilst I like to resolve some things at the end of every book, I'm still intrigued and excited to find out what happens next.
I think Sweet Venom would really suit a young teen, female audience who would be able to relate to one of the sisters in some way. There's also some subtle morals woven into the story too, about standing up for yourself, being yourself and looking out for family which might hit home more at this age.
Sweet Venom is a sassy action adventure with a fun mythological twist. Perfect for younger teens, this is a great start to the series.