I had astronomical expectations for Venom & Vow and together Anna-Marie and Elliott McLemore smashed through them. This co-writing debut is a magical masterpiece. This is for fans of queer fantasy and stories about unlikely romances! Keep reading this book review for my full thoughts.
Keep your enemy closer.
Cade McKenna is a transgender prince who’s doubling for his brother.
Valencia Palafox is a young dama attending the future queen of Eliana.
Gael Palma is the infamous boy assassin Cade has vowed to protect.
Patrick McKenna is the reluctant heir to a kingdom, and the prince Gael has vowed to destroy.
Cade doesn’t know that Gael and Valencia are the same person.
Valencia doesn’t know that every time she thinks she’s fighting Patrick, she’s fighting Cade.
And when Cade and Valencia blame each other for a devastating enchantment that takes both their families, neither of them realizes that they have far more dangerous enemies.
(Disclaimer: I received this book from the publisher. This has not impacted my review which is unbiased and honest.)
Venom & Vow is a joyously queer and action packed fantasy story. It is not only centered in both Valencia and Cade’s identities – being disabled and queer – but also in the pressures of living behind masks. For Cade and his body doubling and for Valencia and Gael’s identity. Behind all these layers, who truly lies beneath and what secrets are they holding? Both mourning their family in suspended animation, who is to blame?
Venom & Vow is a story about secrets and subterfuge. About not knowing who we can trust and when betrayal comes where we least expect it. I was swept away by the action, fight scenes, and moonlight meetings. For the McLemore duo, Venom & Vow is a triumph. It’s a story about claiming our happiness and power. About impossible choices and the power of finding someone who truly sees, and accepts, us.
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Venom & Vow is going onto my favorites shelf. Another winner from Anna-Marie McLemore and I loved getting to see Elliott’s influences as well. There’s a lovely breadth of character work, world immersion, and twists and turns. Find Venom & Vow on Goodreads, Storygraph, Amazon, Bookshop.org, & Blackwells.