An Ordinary World

books, blabberings, and a life semi-common

Misdirected Thrills

One shouldn’t really judge a book by its cover but I thought the sleek style of SWEET VENOM was attention-grabbing. When I read the description, I was even more intrigued. It seemed to speak of shocks and surprises, interesting details and battles. Perhaps in reading the summary while looking at the cover, I was too confused and created expectations in my mind of what I would read and what I would enjoy from the book.

Here’s what it is:

SWEET VENOM tells the story of three girls – triplets, it would seem – descended from the not-so-mythological creature, Medusa, whose public persona has been destroyed thanks to Athena in the olden days. Gretchen is the tough one, the one who knows what lurks in the shadows and it is her job to send the various mythological creatures roaming San Francisco back into their own world. Grace is the quiet one, the shy girl that moves to San Francisco with her family and with a need to be something more. Greer is the sophisticated one, the one who lives in her perfect bubble of rules and parties.

There are fights.

There is potential romance.

There is confusion but rightfully so considering two of the girls have no idea what these creatures are and well, none of them knew they were part of a trio.

Here’s what it isn’t and what it is instead:

It’s not too thrilling, which is what I expected. To be honest, I went into this book thinking I’d get a dark and dizzying journey of three girls coming together and battling the odds (and strange creatures). What it is, instead, is an almost humorous account of three very different lives being forced to come together in the oddest of circumstances.

It doesn’t focus on the three girls together for a while. There are individual stories that get told, from various perspectives, and it takes a while for the girls to find each other and realize what’s happening.

Here’s what I’m thinking:

After I finished this book, I could appreciate it for what it was. It’s a very carefree-type tale of girls in high school and how supposed duties are mixed in with real life. I think my expectations caused me to dislike the book more than I should have, which is a shame, because it is a fun type of read. I thought Grace was adorable and related to her the most out of the three girls. Character-wise, I don’t think there are any stand-out performances regarding how they are written though the secondary characters intrigued me more than the three girls sometimes. Greer’s surfer-like boyfriend, Gretchen’s missing mentor, Grace’s brother and, my favorite of all, Milo – the boy Grace is interested in.

I’m not sure if the fact that I focused more on the secondary characters rather than the girls is a problem with the main characters or a point of brilliance that made those normally in the background stand out. Again, I think, perhaps, my own thoughts going into the book caused me to look for more – both in the characters and in the story. I often felt let down, not because the writing was bad (because it’s not) but because I kept waiting for the other shoe to drop and I kept flipping the pages expecting more – more thrills, more pizzazz, more something, but it never came.

At least until the end.

It’s clear that SWEET VENOM is the first of a series (whether it’s a trilogy or more, I’m not particularly certain) but what happens at the end of SWEET VENOM is one of the things I usually dislike in series or trilogies. It’s a cliffhanger. I find books in a series to be more gratifying when there is a full story that alludes to more coming (re: SHATTER ME by Tahareh Mafi). I’m sure many readers enjoy cliffhangers and want to spend the time in-between books thinking of possibilities but it always makes me feel like a story is lacking when there is no beginning, middle, and end.

An interesting read, truly, so long as you don’t go in with expectations garnered from a dark cover and a description that makes connections that aren’t truly there.


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