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Review: Sweet Venom by Tera Lynn Childs
Grace just moved to San Francisco and is excited to start over at a new school. The change is full of fresh possibilities, but it’s also a tiny bit scary. It gets scarier when a minotaur walks in the door. And even more shocking when a girl who looks just like her shows up to fight the monster.
Gretchen is tired of monsters pulling her out into the wee hours, especially on a school night, but what can she do? Sending the minotaur back to his bleak home is just another notch on her combat belt. She never expected to run into this girl who could be her double, though.
Greer has her life pretty well put together, thank you very much. But that all tilts sideways when two girls who look eerily like her appear on her doorstep and claim they’re triplets, supernatural descendants of some hideous creature from Greek myth, destined to spend their lives hunting monsters.
These three teenage descendants of Medusa, the once-beautiful Gorgon maligned in myth, must reunite and embrace their fates in this unique paranormal world where monsters lurk in plain sight.
Disclaimer: I love Greek mythology. Despite its prevalence in YA, I’m not remotely sick of it. So I came into SWEET VENOM pretty darn excited to meet the descendants of Medusa, the totally misunderstood, snake-haired Gorgon I always liked.
The book is split between three voices: Gretchen, Grace, and Greer, sixteen-year-old monster huntresses with a lot of baggage and a great destiny. The girls are identical triplets who were separated and have no idea what their ancestry is, let alone that they’ve got secret sisters.
I loved the premise. San Francisco serves as a fantastic urban fantasy setting. The Bay Area is wonderfully captured and serves as the perfect backdrop for battling hydras and the like.
It’s home to a gap between the monster realm and the human realm and those pesky things keep getting in. Only the three huntress-sisters have the ability to see them in their true forms and, using their handy-dandy fangs, dispose of them. But of course, trouble’s a brewing, and it seems the three sisters have stumbled upon more than they bargained for about the truth of their heritage and their role in securing the safety of the human realm.
The mythology of this book is awesome. Childs clearly had great fun twisting people’s common conceptions of the Greek god, and it all feels really fresh. And for those who didn’t memorize their D’Aulaire’s Book of Greek Myths, SWEET VENOM does a pretty good job teaching you the basics of Greek mythology. The plot is pretty zippy with a lot of action, though once you finish the book, you realize it was mostly setup. But it was fun setup.
This book is alive with girl power. Gretchen is sarcastic and seasoned, Grace is sweet and by far the least annoying, and Greer, who shows up much later, is pretty engaging in her own right. They don’t feel like the most original of characters, but they’re cool, entertaining, relatable, and manage to kick some serious monster butt.
What was truly refreshing about this book was how the main focus was on sisterhood. The whole book is about the sisters finding each other, accepting their fate, and deciding to work together. Most of the romance and fun guy stuff will come later, but I’m willing to wait. There’s hardly a dull moment in this book, and it was a perfect pick me up for this sucky week.