Rant, Review

Review: Venom by Dee Garcia (2019)

Rosewood Realm, Book 1

Heat Factor: Kinky blood stuff, plus both protagonists bone secondary characters. Plus incest.

Character Chemistry: A rebound situation if there ever was one.

Plot: Captain Hook is a vampire who is obsessed with Tinksley Bell. Tink is in love with Peter Pan. When Peter leaves and Tink is depressed, Hook helps her recover and also embrace her inner darkness. 

Overall: I don’t even know what to tell you.

Content Warning: This book includes a horrific suicide attempt. Furthermore, the details of this scene are repeated almost verbatim three times – once when it happens, and twice when the character thinks back on what happened.

Content Warning for this review: I share the basic details of this attempt. 

One side effect of writing reviews here at The Smut Report is I’ve started making a conscious effort to seek out romances that are outside my normal wheelhouse. So, when I saw this collection of sinister fairy tale retellings, I decided to tip my toe into the world of dark romance. I mostly regret this decision. 

I guess I expected dubious consent or BDSM or a violent but not unredeemed hero, but that is not what this is. Instead, we have the most melodramatic teenage breakup in the history of the universe, plus crazy land of magic politics, plus some vampires who adhere to no laws of vampirism that I can see, plus a personality transplant. Honestly, I kept reading because I was so confused. 

The basic story follows Tinksley as she joyfully bounces around the island and bones Peter while Hook lurks in the shadows like the creepy voyeur he is. There’s some sort of plan in place which involves Tink being some sort of sleeper agent who will kill Peter (?) because everyone else on the island hates him (?). But then, Peter is threatened by Hook and also Tink’s evil fairy dad and so he leaves the island, and Tink gets depressed. So depressed that she tries to kill herself in pretty much the most gruesome way possible. Hook finds her mangled body and turns her into a vampire so that she will heal. At first, Tink fights the change, but then she decides she wants to live after all and embraces being a vampire/evil fairy hybrid because it’s fate. 

Right, so the plot is bonkers. But let’s talk about the romance. I’m sorry, but this is not true love. Hook is a 500 year old vampire who is creepily obsessed with this nubile 21 year old who he has known since she was a child. Fine, vampires gonna vampire. But Tink! She is sooooo in loooooooove with Peter and nobody understaaaaaaands her and then when he leaves she is so depressed that she CUTS OFF HER WINGS WITH A SWORD AND JUMPS OFF A CLIFF. Then she hangs out in Hook’s house for a week and is like, and I quote: “He’s been a permanent fixture in my life for the last week and a half and I can’t envision it any other way.” That is not what permanent means. You stayed in bed wallowing in misery after Peter left for longer than you’ve been hanging out with Hook. 


We should also talk about Tink’s turn to darkness at the end which allows her to really embrace her happily ever after with Hook. I’m sorry, but I didn’t buy it. She’s spent her whole life fighting her dark side, and then, all of a sudden, she gets some information that sheds some new light on her relationship with Peter and is like, ok! Time for me to be evil. I think I would have bought her transformation if Hook had been established as a dark character, but he wasn’t. I mean, yes, he’s a vampire, and people seem to be afraid of him, but I’m not sure why. He drinks blood from bags that he keeps in the fridge, or from consenting adults. His primary personality trait seems to be horniness, which is…not that sinister. 

If none of the above is a dealbreaker, here are two other pieces of information so you can make an informed decision about this book:

  1. The sex is pretty hot, if you’re into blood stuff. 
  2. The writing is wack. No one has hair – they all have a “mane” or “tresses.” And no one has brown eyes. They have “chocolate irises.” 

Buy Now: Amazon

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