Venom & Vanilla by Shannon Mayer
“Successful Seattle baker Alena Budrene doesn’t want to die. But when she’s infected with a lethal virus spread by supernatural beings, her only chance for recovery is to make a deal with the devil—or in this case, a warlock.
Though he saves her life, it looks nothing like the life she once knew—and neither does she. Alena is a new breed of “Supe” no one has ever seen before. Even the supernatural police don’t know what she is. Now exiled to the northern side of the Wall, which marks the divide between humans and Supes, Alena is thrust into a dark and magical new world.
But just as she begins to adjust to all things supernatural, she realizes that her transformation is the least of her worries—and it was no accident. She was chosen…to be killed by a Greek hero trying to make a name for himself once more.
Alena was brought up to be subservient, preferring creating to fighting, and vanilla and honey to blood. But that was then. Now, to survive, she must stand up for herself—and this time she’s got fangs. But will she be ready to use them?”
Let me just start out by saying, that I really WANTED to love this novel! I’ve liked the other novels by Shannon Mayer that I have read and the concept of Venom & Vanilla seemed to have so much potential to be thrilling and engaging. However, I just COULD NOT get into this story.
I’m going to blame some of the lack of intrigue on the main character. Alena begins the novel sick with a deadly virus. Weak in body and mind, her death is imminent until she is offered a “cure”. The cure comes in the form of a warlock, named Merlin (really.), whom will turn her into a Supernatural of her choosing. Alena was raised by a strict faith that led her to believe that all Supernaturals are evil and corrupt. She resists the cure initially due to this engrained prejudice and thinking she would be essentially damning herself to Hell for it. However, as the sickness rages and death is near she finally succumbs to the cure and allows Merlin to change her into something “special”. I’m not going to ruin the story with anything else but one would think that turning into a “bad-ass” and incredibly strong Supernatural would change her “church mouse” personality, and it does, kind of. However, I found myself yelling (Out loud) for her to “Do Something” and “Stop sucking at life!” I get where the author was going with this. She is/was a human being and has personality flaws just like the rest of us and she can grow and change too. I just couldn’t get past her insecurities and always being a second too late or a hair too short. It’s just not a quality in a main character that I personally enjoy.
Another aspect of this story that I struggled with was I felt like there were multiple holes in the plot. To avoid spoilers I’m not going to go into detail exactly of what they were BUT I am hoping that the next two books will explain these and fill in this story to make a workable concept. I want to like these characters and this story and I will read the other two books in hopes that Alena shakes off her inhibitions, starts kicking some a** and maybe makes a real move on a certain vampire hottie!
Next Books in the Series: