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Posted November 25, 2013
Ratings: 3 Stars I guess I was expecting something more from the
Ratings: 3 StarsWas this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
I guess I was expecting something more from the second book. To be honest, I really did enjoy the first book immensely. I felt as though Fiona Paul really got the feel of the setting as well as the characters down perfectly. But, mainly, I loved how her book didn’t jump on the paranormal bandwagon.
I jumped the gun on thinking that…
The book starts off with Cass’ husband, Luca, being arrested by soldiers at night. Right away the stakes are high: Luca is being arrested of treason and there is nothing she can do except to find the book that will implicate the person who accused him of treason (but it doesn’t necessarily mean that Luca is innocent). Cass manages to convince her aunt into letting her go to Florence where she investigates the mysterious Eternal Rose society.
To be honest, this book had some awesome plot devices that they could have used to make the series even better: vampirism that wasn’t really vampirism, a secret society originally intended for the advance of medical studies that morphed into a foolish search for the fountain of youth, and much higher stakes than the first book.
Unfortunately, they weren’t utilized to the best of their abilities. The book starts off really slow… like snail-slow. I thought it took Cass forever to reach Florence and even in Florence there was no tension nor the sense of urgency one would expect from a girl whose fiance was awaiting a death sentence. Even at the end (when Cass is rescuing Luca), the TENSION WASN’T UTILIZED TO ITS FULLEST. My heart was not thumping when I was reading it at all… Even in the middle, Cass was bedridden for the majority of it which left most of the heart-wrenching, night-exploring adventures to her boytoy and her maid.
The reason why I knocked off two stars is this: I did not like the paranormal direction this book went on. The society forsaking its medical roots in search for the elixir of youth? Awesome! Almost some of the darkest “satanical” groups started off wanting to increase scientific and medical knowledge despite the church’s hindrance. But, them actually managing to isolate the “fifth humor” (which, by the way, is medical nonsense since the “humors” don’t really exist) was just plain lazy. In Venom, it seemed as though the book would be as historically accurate as they could possibly make it… but that accuracy completely flies out the window with the “fifth humor” nonsense.
And also… upping the stakes by adding in a paranormal aspect to it? Really? You really don’t think a 40ish woman (which by the way is considered to be grandma status.. or nearing grandma status.. back in the Renaissance) who only looks a couple of years older than a teenager won’t get any accusations of witchcraft? Especially after this same woman manages to “wake up from the dead”?
There are soooo many different angles that they could have went with this. Belladonna could have thought the fifth humor from Cass (I’m assuming it is Cass otherwise there won’t be a third book) worked a la Elizabeth Bathory which would have made her an even bigger threat because of her mental issues. The evil dude from the first book who ended up in Florence (I forgot his name…) could have seen Cass near the ending and might have wanted to do something before she could ruin his reputation. They could have flipped the table on her and accused her of being a vampire. Etc. Etc.
Oh wells.. enough ranting about what I didn’t like and time to focus on what I did like:
I love the romance thread in this book.. or, rather, the lack of it. The readers are able to clearly distinguish the difference between the two love interests in this book. Falco = physical and Luca = intellectual. Cass goes on her journey and its the thought of Luca that keeps her going despite the physical temptation from Falco. Best of all, I thought Fiona managed to illustrate the feelings of jealousy and doubt regarding Cass’ emotion towards Falco perfectly!
I loved how the doctor used syringes to draw blood to make it look like a vampire attack. I loved how the doctor gave medicine to create the delusions and the feelings associated with a vampire attack. And I loved how it was Belladonna who employed Falco and how Cass, and the readers, wasn’t sure of Falco’s true feelings in this book.
All in all, I’m waiting on the third book to see how this series wrap up.
Posted July 16, 2013
I had super high hopes for Belladonna by Fiona Paul and unfortun
I had super high hopes for Belladonna by Fiona Paul and unfortunately I was just not able to lose myself in this book like I would have liked to. I love it when a book gets my heart racing and I am so excited to know what happens next that I have to actively stop myself from skipping pages and Belladonna did not do this for me and I am a little disappointed.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Belladonna is the second book in The Secrets of the Eternal Rose series and maybe because I haven't read the first book, Venom, that's why I didn't enjoy this book as much as I was expecting. On Goodreads it has a great star rating! Sometimes I do read books outside of it sequence and then continue the series in order from there and I have no problems...I did just this recently and thoroughly enjoyed the book! However, with Belladonna I was lost and confused with the mentions of several characters or situations Cass found herself in and to be honest, this probably took some magic of the book away from me.
Belladonna has some great pros though! Cass: she's very scared throughout her mission to Florence yet she shows incredible and awe striking bravery in the face of every danger she comes across! All to clear her fiance, Luca's, name and in doing so save his life! There is no shortage of mystery to this book and there is plenty of suspense as Cass and her handmaid, Siena, crash secret and forbidden parties, visit mysterious noblewomen, hide away escaped servants and attempt to free Luca!
While I enjoyed Cass's character, my favorites were Siena and Luca, Cass's fiance. Siena is very loyal to Cass and Luca even while she has a secret love for Luca and never acts on it. Like Cass says "You can't help who you fall in love with". Luca is also just as loyal towards Cass. I feel he genuinely loves her and shows this by suggesting she go on with her life and accept that he is to be executed under false terms. He wishes her to be happy...even if it's not with him. That's love! I really did like Cass but while Cass is devoted to saving Luca, she partakes in some not-so-pure thoughts and actions with her true love, Falco. Falco I have mixed feelings for. I feel he is selfish and even though he may love Cass (because I am not so sure) he loves himself, money and ruffling some feathers more. Though, I think in the third book in the series, Starling, we are going to see his true intentions more clearly.
I learned a little from Belladonna too! I learned what chopines were, they are cool...Google them! I also loved how Fiona Paul used some of the normal lingo for the time and place the book was set in! I love the Renaissance era!
All in all I had "lukewarm" feelings while reading Belladonna but I only attribute this to a mistake I made...I should have read the first book first. Belladonna has all the makings of a great book...I was just too silly to have read the first book to better appreciate it.
I would recommend this book to a friend but only if they read Venom first. Otherwise they may or may not have the same reaction as myself! I do look forward to reading Starling and before I do, I am going to read Venom first...to catch myself up!