ARC Reviews,  Reviews

Giana Darling’s Serpentine Valentine ARC Review

Thank you to Giana Darling and the team at Valentine PR for the advance reader copy of Serpentine Valentine.

I have been excited about this book ever since Giana first teased it! All I have to tell you is that this is a dark academia, sapphic, Medusa retelling, that should be enough to get you to look at this twice. I loved this book, and even if you think it is not for you, trust me give it a try and get ready to be whisked away to Archeron University with Lex and Luna.

From Wall Street Journal bestselling author Giana Darling comes a sapphic dark academia Medusa retelling about a woman who was wronged by her idols and refused to pay the price without getting revenge…

I was born a woman.
Raised by women.
In love with women.
Until I enrolled at Acheron University, I’d never known much of men. I certainly didn’t know enough to fear them.
Then one stormy autumnal night, Professor Morgan tried to destroy me.
And when we were discovered by the university President, it was me who was punished for the unwanted seduction.
But they left me with two valuable lessons.
I would never let another woman be hurt by men again if I could help it.
And when someone hurts you, betrays you, and tries to rip out your soul, there is only one remedy for the pain.
And mine takes the form of the President’s very beautiful, very virginal, very straight daughter, Luna Pallas.
Before the end of term, I’ll destroy her innocence just as her mother and Professor Morgan destroyed mine.

Check out my more detailed thoughts below…

  • Characters: Lex and Luna are the main characters of this sapphic dark academia Medusa retelling. Lex Gorgon is Archeron University’s Medusa. Lex’s story is dark and heavy, warning everyone now that there is sexual assault depicted quite early on in the book and that assault along with many others are discussed throughout the story. Lex’s character has such a magnetism, with a rage that draws you in and has you cheering for her revenge journey. If you love a little feminine rage you will love Lex. Now Luna Pallas, when you meet her you think here is the goody two shoes headmaster’s daughter, and throughout the story, she grows more defiant, and I loved every moment of it. Her development is also a sexuality awakening story as she goes from someone confused about herself to growing into who she is, a bisexual woman. Both of the gals have their own unique strengths and vulnerabilities, I loved them individually but loved them even more together. Lex’s sisters are a perfect addition to this story too, loved the Man Eaters.
  • Setting: The story is set in the world of Acheron University, with whisps of dark academia especially at the Gorgon house readers will find it easy to immerse themselves fully in this world.
  • Pacing: The book is seamless with just how fluid and beautiful Giana’s writing is. For those who love retellings and literature (all the English majors), you will adore the reference and reverence shown throughout the story. I was hooked on the plot of the Man Eaters and their quest for revenge, and I really loved how Giana went about navigating it and how she brought so much care to how she wrote about sexual assault.
  • Romance: Giana pulled off writing a relationship that was heartwarming, earth-shattering, and so damn filled with tension. Lex and Luna had me giggling over their banter, and then swooning as they read poetry to the other. But fear not this book is also incredibly hot, from their first interactions the sexual tension melts from the pages. There is so much emotionality, they are navigating so many roadblocks in their way from others’ homophobia to processing trauma to seeking revenge, many times I was brought close to tears by this relationship. This out-of-the-world attraction and chemistry are balanced against how they are perfect for each other, Lex brings a bit of darkness to Luna, and Luna is Lex’s light. Truly it is such a special sapphic romance and powerful story.

Serpentine Valentine receives 5/5 stars.

You can pick up the story here.

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Thank you again to Giana and her team for the review opportunity. Thank you for reading and supporting my blog!

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