Daniel J. Weber
on Dec. 9, 2013 :
Originally posted at: http://digerbop.ca/2013/12/venom-of-vipersblood-pact-by-k-c-may/
A science fiction medial thriller with a deadly virus and Frankensteins.
Mature Content Rating: PG-13 (Mature themes and coarse language)
Have you ever read Frankenstein? If not, chances are you have heard of it. A scientist creates a being named Frankenstein. This scientist’s name might not have been Katie Marsh, and the creation’s name might not be Frankenstein, but Venom of Vipers/Blood Pact by K. C. May holds a similar premise. These new Frankensteins are created to hopefully save humanity from the deadly Molio virus that threatens to wipe everyone out.
Non-human beings, a dystopian virus, and science: what does that equal? Venom of Vipers/Blood Pact — A science fiction medial thriller, full of thrills, science, medicine… oh and there’s some fiction in there too. ;)
The last medical mystery novel I read turned out to be surprisingly superb, and Venom of Vipers/Blood Pact is again no disappointment. The best way I can describe this book is as a roller coaster. It starts out as a slow climb, characters coming to life, the plot unfolding, the world filling out from written words. All you can see is blue sky, birds flitting in tunes of their own between God’s wispy breaths above. And then… the bottom falls out. Sky turns to ground. Air rushes by in a cacophonous torrent. Heart racing. Skin breaks out in a sweat. The thrill breaks from your lips in a scream: mixed terror and mirth. This is the plot of Venom of Vipers/Blood Pact. All the building blocks of plot, setting, and characters balance on each other until, before you know it, a house has been built.
I was following along the story, enjoying myself, until at about 75% through, the roller-coaster rocketed forward, leaving my heart racing and mind reeling to catch up. The pacing/plot flow nicely. Like a summer’s stream, the reader remains unaware of the waterfall up ahead. All of a sudden, the water gives out, and the thrill-ride beings. The plot thickens to the point of breaking, all while the reader is still trying to recover from the thrilling fall.
This book not only offers a great plot that is beautifully paced, but point of view changes throughout are wonderfully implemented for further character development. The POV switched between various ”good guys” and “bad guys” letting the reader see the plot from all different angles. This enhances the suspense immensely. Characters are so well developed by the time the bottom falls out of the river that the reader truly cares what will happen to them. The build up is just as important for the plot as it is for the characters.
Character interactions between Ryder and Katie are pleasantly humorous at times and cute at others. I like how the fact that they grew up as childhood friends is mentioned and then expanded upon throughout to develop their characters. I really felt like these two were childhood friends, watching how they interacted. Important past events and dealt with in flashbacks instead of gratuitous tell vs. show, or being skimmed over. These aid immensely in character development, not only for Katie and Ryder, but the other characters involved in this world.
One of the characters is plagued by nightmares that feed off of his internal turmoil. A lot of this turmoil is brushed over, and mentioned in an off-hand kind of way, making it lack substance. His nightmares are told in a this-is-what-happened-point-form style instead of allowing the reader to re-living the horrors in all their realism.
The prose were not very full or flavourful. I love scene crafting, and this book missed the opportunities that the plot and characters opened for it. More investment in world description could have potentially enhanced the emotional impact of the scenes.
The ending comes a little fast. I like the drop that leaves the reader breathless, but once the bottom of that hill is reached, the bottom out is short, followed by screeching brakes. The pacing is good up until the final couple chapters, where I felt not enough justice was given to one of the major plot points in order to wrap it up well.
Venom of Vipers/Blood Pact is an enjoyable romp through a near-future, potentially dystopian world. The character interaction are wonderful, and the plot flows like a river followed by a waterfall (in a good way). The thrills are heart-pounding, and the character are pleasant to travel with through the words, phrases, pages, and chapters. If you enjoy getting to know the characters of a story, all while the world and plot form around you, this book is for you.
(reviewed 6 months after purchase)
on April 29, 2011 :
This book took me a few chapters to get into it, but then, I couldn't put it down. It was a terrific book, and I am glad I stuck with it.
(reviewed 4 months after purchase)
binkie van es
on March 1, 2011 :
Really great novel
I discovered K.C May via the Amazon Kindle Blog on facebook and was I ever pleasantly surprised. This is one great story , a biotech scifi thriller playing in a very believable nearby future , is has adventure , romance , deceit and believable characters. A delight to read and highly recommended . I will not spoil the fun by giving away the story line
(reviewed 21 days after purchase)
on Feb. 4, 2011 :
This is a page turner. I thoroughly enjoyed this book. I did wonder about the timing of it. 2023 is far too soon for all the events to have happened by then. Very high risk research strategy to get a cure/vaccine for the decease. I would have imagined hearing for the lab directors on Capitol Hill demanding to know why the world wide research effort hadn't produced any results before the events that that happened in the novel took place. My feeling is that the political heat on the directors of the CHGA would be enormous.
(reviewed 28 days after purchase)
M L Sawyer
on Jan. 29, 2011 :
I was pleasantly surprised with this novel. I'm more of a fantasy buff than a sci fi fan but this book held my attention so much that it was devoured in 3 days. The characters come across as genuine with real motives that one could imagine and the story itself bought up some moral concerns that actually give the reader pause to think - what would you / humanity really do?
(reviewed 20 days after purchase)
on Jan. 27, 2011 :
really enjoyed it look forward to many more just like it.
(reviewed 22 days after purchase)
on Jan. 20, 2011 :
I thoroughly enjoyed Venom of Vipers. It's written with a smooth and quick style that I found hard to put down and hard to stay away from. The characters are well developed, easy to like and dislike for who they are. If I have any criticisms about the Venom of Vipers, it's that parts of it are a bit too predictable. On the whole, though, it's hard to say anything negative about a book that kept me on the hook the entire time I was reading it. Looking forward the the Kinshield Legacy.
(reviewed 10 days after purchase)
on Jan. 9, 2011 :
In this near-future biotech thriller, a deadly virus threatens to wipe out the human race. To ensure that the legacy of humans thrives, a virus-resistant sub-species of homo sapiens (the sapher) is created. But in order to save humanity, all homo sapiens must learn to live together peacefully. This is a marvelous book by an independent author. Generally when I read science fiction books, especially biotech books, I sit there and groan at the inaccurate science. This is the curse of being a scientist in an age when most sci-fi writers aren’t. Venom of Vipers was a glaring exception. Although I paused a few times to deeply think about whether something was possible, I never passed the stage of healthy suspension-of-disbelief. Bravo May! I think it’s doubly impressive that May managed to capture individual psychology of her characters to make them real (with a healthy mixture of good and bad in each of the major characters). The exception was the heroine of the story who, when compared to the other characters was not quite as round. However, the only reason I noticed this exception is by contrast with the more developed characters. May also captured the sociological implications of the situation, making the varied responses of people to the saphers right on target. I found myself thinking “yes, this IS what would happen in this situation.” Venom of Vipers was imaginative and as realistic as a near-future sci-fi thriller can be.
(reviewed the day of purchase)
on Jan. 6, 2011 :
I am just recently developing an interest in scifi, and I found The Venom of Vipers to be very intriguing. It's the year 2023, and a virus is slowly destroying the human population, with no visible cure in sight. To help figure out a cure, a new race of human-esque people called saphers have been created, who will hopefully help scientists figure out a cure for the virus. Dr. Kate Marsh is one of these scientists, who has come back from college to work with her father on finding a cure. The story centers around Kate, and her long time sapher friend, Ryder Stone.
Overall, I found this story to be quite good. I thought that May dealt with the problem very realistically, and the moral issues in the story were believable as well. I liked (or liked to hate) all of the main characters, with the exception of Kate. She seemed flat to me, while Ryder was the most interesting of the characters (followed closely by Nelson perhaps). The plot moved along at a good pace, and though I was left with a feel detail oriented questions here and there, overall I really enjoyed this book.
(reviewed 22 days after purchase)
on Jan. 5, 2011 :
Not as good as the Kinshield Legacy, but the story flows easily. Hard to put down at times.
(reviewed 25 days after purchase)
on Jan. 3, 2011 :
Loved the Kinshield Legacy and loved this one too! Great new author. Looking forward to more books.
(reviewed 21 days after purchase)
on Dec. 9, 2010 :
What a fantastic sci-fi thriller from an independent author. Not only was it a good unique story but the writing was good also. I was really impressed by this book. I will definitely be reading K.C.'s other book, The Kinshield Legacy. Great book!
(reviewed 8 days after purchase)
on Dec. 1, 2010 :
Imagine a world where humans have created a new species, a species designed to be the saviors of mankind. In 2023, people are dying of the Moliomyositis at an alarming rate and the entire population will be killed off in short order, unless a cure can be found. Henry Marsh has engineered an entire species, the Homo sapiens heredis, or "saphers," in an effort to find a cure for Molio. His research is on the cutting edge and he may be closer than he thinks, but time is quickly running out...
The saphers live in a compound that offers them everything they could possibly want or need...except their freedom. Henry's daughter, Katie, grew up amongst these saphers and has developed a special relationship with one in particular, Ryder Stone. After several years away, Katie is back to take on the role of reproductive scientist. None of the sapher women can maintain a pregnancy longer than 7 weeks, and this inability to reproduce threatens their continued existence. As they are being groomed to take over if- or when- humans become extinct, this is quite unacceptable. To complicate matters, there are activists on the outside clamoring for the destruction of the entire sapher species.
Together, Katie and Ryder work together to discover secrets and betrayals, as well as hope and possibility, as they battle for the continued existence of the sapher people. Can they find a way to guarantee freedom and the continued existence of the species? Is there any hope left for the human species?
K. C. May has spun another captivating tale. With this second novel, she once again proves that she knows how to string a story to maintain reader interest. The story flows along cleanly, and the transitions are smooth and do much to carry the reader along. The storyline itself is quite engaging. The idea that a virus could be slowly killing off the entire human population is not too out of the realm of possibility, and some of the ideas the author introduces in this tale are quite amazing, yet believable. It was a compelling read that was able to sweep me away.
The author crafts believable and intriguing characters, and I found myself rooting for some while feeling pity for others. As in her previous title, "The Kinshield Legacy," the characters are complex, without "good or bad," only shades of individuality. Although the character development was good, the conversations between characters didn't ring quite as true to me as the dialogue in the previous novel. This novel takes place in a time period more similar to modern-day time, so the language used by the characters is also quite different. Regardless, to me, the phrasing in the dialogue wasn't as rich and vibrant as I had come to expect based on the previous novel.
The ending itself was satisfying in terms of giving closure to the story (without giving anything away here!), but was a bit too "tied together" for me. I would have enjoyed a little more ambiguity, leaving room open for more varied predictive interpretation of the immediate and distant future of both species. That is just a personal preference; the actual ending works as it is written.
Altogether, a compelling and fascinating read. Just as with K. C. May's first novel, I found it really hard to put this book down. Recommended!
4.5 /5 stars @ MotherLode
(reviewed the day of purchase)