Fangs and Fennel by Shannon Mayer
Series: Venom Trilogy #2
Published by 47north
Published on: January 10, 2017
Genres: Urban Fantasy
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The delicious sequel to Venom and Vanilla, from USA Today bestselling author Shannon Mayer.
Alena Budrene is not just a gifted Seattle baker—she’s also a supernatural. Having survived the virus that made her transformation necessary and outwitted an attack by a Greek hero, she’s ready to settle down and deal with the challenges of living as a “Super Duper.”
But nothing is easy for a woman who can turn into a giant snake. Threatened by her unprecedented strength, Alena’s enemies team up against her. What’s next on the menu? The duplicitous demigod Theseus—backed by a ruthless vampire gang and the power-hungry goddess Hera—is determined to lure her into a glorious, and rather public, battle to the death.
Now humans, even the ones Alena risks her life to protect, are afraid to acknowledge her existence. And when the friends who once rallied around her begin to fall prey to Theseus’s manipulative schemes, Alena realizes she must act before she loses everything. But will the price of success be too high to pay?
FANGS AND FENNEL was a slight improvement on book 1. And, by slight, I mean half a star. With the mammoth jump from plain Jane to diva Lena out of the way, the rest of the protagonist’s flaws paled in comparison which made this installment easier to swallow. The plot was more streamlined, the villain was slyer, and the humour was toned-down a few pegs.
Alena continues to waffle between heroine and wimp, although the gap between these two extremes seems to shrinking. Her main issue in this volume was trust. Her allies don’t have very high opinions of her capabilities, and given that she’s a Super Duper fledgling I can understand why, but their apprehension infuriated her, so she kept trying to prove herself by… doing dumb things.
The story was primarily about Budrene taking her cheating husband to court, and in doing so attempting to change the way Paranormals are viewed in the eyes of the law. Her battle against Theseus, the second mythological barrier, was similar in structure, and as such, I enjoyed the pacing of this novel more than the first because it was strategy driven as opposed to purely bluster.
Since this is a trilogy, many things must happen in quick succession which means that there are multiple information dumps, the relationship between Lena & Remo progresses at lightning speed, and by the end of this title Budrene’s accomplishments are dizzying. The lead’s actions and dialogue are still on the immature side, so I’m having a great deal of difficulty taking her seriously.
Only one more book to go before Shannon Mayer can leave this series behind her.