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Touched By Venom (Dragon Temple Saga #1)

3.08  ·  Rating Details ·  479 Ratings  ·  55 Reviews
The first in an exciting new series, "Touched by Venom" is a powerful debut novel by an author destined to rank among the fantasy genre's best.
Paperback, 384 pages
Published August 1st 2006 by Roc (first published 2005)
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(showing 1-30)
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May 01, 2009 Kelly rated it it was ok
I've been tempted by Touched by Venom for a long time. The cover art is sensual; the blurb is intriguing and contains a promising quote by Jacqueline Carey, one of my favorite authors. Something held me off, though, until recently, but I finally broke down and bought Touched by Venom used.

First of all...yowza. I thought I was into dark fantasy. Little did I know, compared to Touched by Venom, pretty much everything I've ever read is all rainbows and unicorns. This is definitely not a book for t
Jul 29, 2016 Zarah rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Good lord, this one keeps you wanting. It's beautifully written, seriously intense, harrowing, with amazing world-building and an admirable, strong heroine. But it moves at the speed of molasses. I mean it's slooooow.

Seriously, the first 50% of the book covers Zarq's life as a 9-year-old. The next 40% is age 10-17 and a whole heck of a lot of hard living and sacrifice. The next 8% shows her coming to grips with her situation and in the last 2% something finally happens. Yep, all that social rev
Eva Folsom
Apr 27, 2010 Eva Folsom rated it liked it
I got this book because I heard how one of the Tiptree judges took a strong stand about nominating this book, and how all the other judges vehemently opposed it. I can really see both sides.

My favorite thing about this book as how clearly it illustrates how the religion and worldview embraced by the people of a country shape every aspect of the society, from the political system to family dynamics, even for people who don't personally believe in the religion. The book also does a great job of sh
Johnny Hazelnut
Is a fantasy novel by a certain Janine Cross which first appeared in 2005 and would have sunk without a trace but for the internets picking up on it as a prime example of awful, awful literature. However I only learnt about it recently through the "So Bad It's Horrible" pages on TV Tropes. And to be fair, the premise didn't sound all that hopeless when I heard about it, that is, thud and blunder from the female perspective. But I was assured otherwise.

I though I'd best review it then. At least i
Trixie Fontaine
Mar 27, 2009 Trixie Fontaine rated it it was amazing
Don't let the cheesy, ridiculous cover art fool you -- this is dark, well-crafted, thoroughly unromantic stuff. The only problem I had with it is how unrelentingly depressing it is -- sort of like the first grueling half-plus of Jane Eyre set in a different, more horrifying world where Rochester is a dragon she wants to fuck. Or something.

I actually changed my rating from three stars to five after reading other people's bad ratings and reviews -- they're really selling short an intense, exquisit
Nov 28, 2007 Stacey rated it did not like it
Recommends it for: NO ONE!
This book was terrible, which I don't understand because I read such good reviews about it. Why I hated it had nothing to do with the female mutilation or the bestiality, it was just a dumb book. Smart, strong women do not end up in situations like the ones depicted in this book, no matter what world or time it is. I finished this book, but only because I never leave a book unfinished. I thought this was an awful addition to the fantsy genre.
Jan 26, 2008 Nerissa rated it did not like it
Recommends it for: the garbage
This has got to be the absolute worst book I have ever had the misfortune to read. It was a journey through pure misery compounded by more misery with a bit of sexual perversion thrown in. I will never waste my time by reading the rest of the series.
Dec 06, 2007 Liz rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Do not mock the venom cock!
As part of my 'to read list' covers the theme of dragons and fantasy, I ultimately stumbled upon this book and was intrigued by the contrasting reviews it received.

I would never have picked up this book in the past, ever since that traumatizing episode with the Black Jewels trilogy which I think I wasn't 'old' enough to read yet, considering what goes on in this book is just as dark, disgusting, disturbing yet horrifying in a way you can't rip your eyes away from. It confronts you that such brut
Apr 15, 2012 Jessica rated it liked it
I’m not ashamed to admit that I am shallow… when it comes to book covers. I will judge a book by its cover and whether or not I like the cover carries a lot of weight on whether or not I’ll give the book a chance. In this particular instance, I thought the cover was cheesy and not something I’d read. Until I saw right on the front cover five little words above the authors’ name: “Compelling, and harrowing,” – Jacqueline Carey. If Carey can give a book that kind of review, then I can look past a ...more
Jul 06, 2016 Raechel rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Fans of Ricardo Pinto's 'Stone Dance of the Chameleon' series. People who REALLY love dragons.
Based on what I had heard about it and some of the reviews I glanced over, I anticipated giving Touched by Venom one star because that's the lowest available rating. But I said I'd read it, so I read it. And I liked it more than I thought I would, especially if I overlook some of its more glaring literary sins. The world itself reminds me a LOT of Ricardo Pinto's The Stone Dance of the Chameleon trilogy, so if you like that you should read this one, and vice versa.

Touched by Venom follows the st
Feb 03, 2013 Kaitlynn rated it liked it
Recommends it for: Dragon fans, feminists, furries
Sometimes a cover is perfect, taking what you are thinking and putting it into art. Sometimes the cover is a disaster, driving you away from a book that is otherwise excellent. And sometimes, just sometimes, a book may have an inaccurate cover that somehow hints emotionally to the books contents.

Touched By Venom is about a young girl, Zarq, in her quest to save her sister and deal with the lingering effects of her mother's obsession, in a male-dominated, vaguely Africanized feudal culture with d
Aug 15, 2011 Julia rated it it was ok
Shelves: fantasy
The back of this book is misleading - it implies that the heroine spends the book searching for her sister, with the help of her mother. Instead, the heroine is haunted by her dead mother's obsession over finding her sister and hurt by the fact that her mother seemed to love her sister more than her. The heroine never makes any moves to search for her sister. In fact, the heroine is very young and makes very few moves at all, unless directed to do so by others.

The cover of this book is somewhat
Diogo Teles
Jan 11, 2016 Diogo Teles rated it it was ok
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Set in a strange land where dragon masters rule over vast areas of the kingdom called dragon estates, Zarq is a young girl in a pottery clan. Their small clan draws the eyes of the dragon master and their peaceful lives are turned upside down. Zarq's sister is sold into slavery and her mother is slowly losing her mind. Zarq makes a run for it, dragging her mother with her. Their journey takes them to a variety of areas, including a home for the dead and a convent built for the care of elderly ...more
Jun 26, 2015 Emma rated it it was ok
There are two sides to every coin. This book is both utterly terrible and yet well-written at the same time. I can't help but think that that's quite a feat to achieve.

The writing is really very good; it's descriptive, poetic and 'different'. The book managed to keep me going until right near the end. You see, the trouble is - it's just so damn depressing!

I kept hoping that somehow, some way - she would escape the terrible monotony, pain and terror of her 'life' - her bleak, dark existence that
Feb 07, 2013 Phaedra rated it it was ok
Shelves: nook, 2013
I'm not sure what I think of this book. I wasn't squicked by the dragon beastiality, nor was I titillated by it. I wasn't horrified by the female mutilation, but I didn't feel empathy for the characters either. It was a quick read with some good world building and a good look at what people can survive. But I don't feel compelled to read the next book and I'm kind of nervous to do as I get the feeling that the 'perversions' in this book will need to be topped in the later books. The one bit I ...more
Sep 02, 2013 Kelsey rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Belinda Coldhill
Aug 05, 2016 Belinda Coldhill rated it really liked it
I quite enjoyed this book, despite the many bad reviews by others that have read it. It has a very dark tone throughout most of the book, leaving me guessing again and again what will happen to the main character Zarq, as her world is constantly changing from one despair to another. A cataclysm of discrimination and racism. Poverty in all its increasingly harsh versions has never been more clear to me since reading this book. Elements of fantasy are certainly present, but I think they are there ...more
Jun 24, 2009 Sarah rated it really liked it
I picked this book up at Powell's during my spring break. I was looking for some light fantasy novel to distract me from the woes of collegiate life and really, just wanted some pulp femme-tastic Eragon knock-off. Looking at the cover I saw a chick and a dragon, reading through the first few pages things seemed decent enough that I purchased the novel.

Jenny Malec
Sep 20, 2012 Jenny Malec rated it liked it
The first 3/4 of this book, I was constantly tempted to give it up. I just couldn't get into the weird language, or understand the retarded names the author used for the characters. And Zarq lives such an unfair and torturous life, never being truly loved or taken care of. Things are always out of her control and she comes across as a weak antihero, and yes, I realize for the majority of this book, she is a child, but still. And then the whole dragon-sex thing... Didn't really freak me out or ...more
Steven Allen
May 22, 2015 Steven Allen rated it liked it
I finished this first book of the trilogy. I like how the author portrays dragons which is different than most of the author fantasy I read. These dragons are definitely not your Tolkein-esque Smaug or anything remotely from Dungeons and Dragons.

I understand why the author does not want her young children to read the books as there are a lot of subjects I would not want my children to read until much order. Bestiality between woman and dragon was not something that I had consider, and gives a wh
Tina Hunter
Apr 20, 2010 Tina Hunter rated it did not like it
Not the best I've read. The world is interesting and the characters are well rounded but I'm not sure this book needed to be written at all.

To me, it seemed like this entire book was back story to book two. Nothing happens that "propels the plot forward". In fact there is no plot in this book, just a series of random events that happen to a girl as she grows up, eventually reaching the point where something does happen and.. oh yeah you have to buy book two to find out.

This is a poor marketing t
May 16, 2015 Megan rated it liked it
Okay, this book isn't as bad as these other ratings make it seem. It's just super depressing and intense, and the cover was misleading.

The writing is really good, and the world details bare awesome, but... it just wasn't making me want to read it. The heroine went through so much pain, and there didn't seem to be any enlightenment at all. The patriarchal system was just so oppressive, the consequences of a mistake so enormous, that each bad thing happened back to back, and I'm the end I didn't r
Sep 13, 2011 Stefany rated it liked it
An interesting book with a unique main character, involving poverty, people of colour, and abusive parenting, as well as a regime in power that isn't easy to change. The one downside I found to this book was Cross' persistent use of using a different language (the one present in the novel's universe) throughout this book as well as the other two. It was hard to follow and I had to guess at many points what the main character was doing because there were many terms I don't even think were ...more
Jun 01, 2009 Joe rated it really liked it
I am loving this book. I haven't finished it yet, but so far It has moved me to comment. This is not a HEA book for those who need that, and it was hard initially to get into, but this book of fiction shows strongly the damage that any religious belief system does to a society.

I would recommend this to anyone who has ever questioned their beliefs before.


Finished book one, not sure if I'm going to read book two or not yet. Book one was very thought provoking, but I'm afraid book two won't be
matt h
Oct 18, 2013 matt h rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
One of the most twisted things I've ever read. World building was excellent, the author's descriptions were on point, not too long that I got bored and started to skim, but very very vivid.

(view spoiler)
Aug 01, 2010 Nicole rated it it was ok
So. I read this book fully warned. It was dark, depressing, and contained female circumcision and dragon bestiality. Ooh, naughty and all that. Well, I liked it anyway. The ending was annoyong, with its hints of masochism (out of nowhere) and abrupt cut off (to try to force you on to the next book) but the book caught me and had me going along with it... mostly. The treatment of the darker subject matter was well done too. Meh, I like it some but not enough to read on.
Scott Neigh
Not sure what I think about this one. There are neat things about the world that Cross has created, including a refusal of the usual tendency in fantasy novels to romanticize feudal and patriarchal social relations -- this one shows them in their full brutality, as well as showing how people on the receiving end survive and resist in such circumstances. On the other hand, there were plenty of moments where the story felt over-the-top purely for the sake of over-the-top-ness.
Jun 28, 2007 Mareklamo rated it did not like it
Shelves: sff
I could not get even halfway thru this book due to the numerous info-dumps. Every time the story advanced, there would be another section detailing the history of whatever country/ continent/ planet the book was set in. A case of the author being in love with her own world-building perhaps. I found out later that I had stopped reading before the truly icky parts. Does the phrase "venom cock" ring a bell?
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Janine Cross backpacked through the Middle East when she was 18; she milked cows in Israel, sailed down the Nile with a couple of Dutch girls in Egypt, and skinny-dipped around various isles in Greece.

She then bicycled through Asia and the South Pacific, taking one year just to cycle through Australia. Several years and 24,000 kms later, she returned to her hometown of North Vancouver, Canada. Sin
More about Janine Cross...

Other Books in the Series

Dragon Temple Saga (3 books)
  • Shadowed By Wings (Dragon Temple Saga, #2)
  • Forged By Fire (Dragon Temple Saga, #3)

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