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When Cass stumbles upon the body of a murdered woman—with a bloody X carved across her heart—she’s drawn into a dangerous world of secret societies, courtesans, and killers. Soon, she finds herself falling for Falco, a poor artist with a mischievous grin . . . and a habit of getting into trouble. Will Cassandra find the murderer before he finds her? And will she stay true to her fiancé or succumb to her uncontrollable feelings for Falco?
Beauty, romance, and mystery weave together in a novel that’s as seductive and stunning as the city of Venice itself.
“Wonderfully sinister and thrillingly romantic, Venom has it all—secret trysts in graveyards, Venetian canals, murdered courtesans, and masquerades! Fiona Paul created a lush, compelling mystery I couldn’t put down.” —Jessica Spotswood, author of Born Wicked
“Deftly balancing beauty and death, Venom renders the canals of Renaissance Venice frightening and irresistible in a sensual tale where no one can be trusted and passions kill.”
“Wonderfully sinister and thrillingly romantic, Venom has it all—secret trysts in graveyards, Venetian canals, murdered courtesans, and masquerades! Fiona Paul created a lush, compelling mystery I couldn’t put down.”
Posted March 19, 2013
Before getting to my review of the content of this book, I have to clarify that while I think the cover for Venom is pretty it isn't remarkable and didn't make me want to read the book at all - and frankly, I think to a large extent it actually does a disservice to the book itself.
The cover here gives you no idea how fast-paced, mysterious, and dark this story is. It lured me in from the very start and kept me hooked until the end - I honestly couldn't turn the pages fast enough.
Reasons to Read:
1. Follow the mystery along Venice's twisted underground...:
I was completely hooked on the plot in Venom; from the very beginning there are missing people, dead bodies turning up... and body parts. Um, yeah. I really don't want to say more because I DON'T WANT TO RUIN A THING FOR YOU, but just believe me when I tell you this is like historical CSI in YA form. I mean, I know that sounds weird but trust me because it's so, so good!
2. Well, hello, Falco:
Fiona Paul took me for such a ride when it came to Falco. Everything was so up and down, and emotions were turbulent and I had a hard time figuring out exactly how I felt about him (probably because Cass had the same struggles). But I love that I was kept guessing about his character and he had plenty of surprises up his sleeve. Oh, and there's totally some swoony romance in there that you won't want to miss.
3. Gorgeous historical setting:
I love author's that can bring the written world to life and Fiona was brilliant at accomplishing just that. The reader is fully immersed in the Venetian world (both aristocratic class and underground) which is exactly what good historical fiction does for you. Venom is a fantastic example of YA historical fiction, and one I'd recommend even for readers who are more hesitant about trying it out.
The only issue I had with Venom was that there seemed to be too many details included for the first book in a new series; I liked getting all sorts of little hints towards what might be going on, but it felt like too much for one book. And I wasn't much of a fan of the "big reveal" at the end - but I think that's because I like being held in suspense for longer and I'd rather hold out for a really great twist.
All in all, Venom is one of the books this year that I felt was an excellent start to a fresh series and one that I still have trouble getting out of my head!
ARC received from Penguin Canada for my honest review; no other compensation was received.
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Posted November 2, 2012
WOW! This was incredibly well written! I have a great love for historical fiction, and let me tell you, this book does not disappoint! Not only is it historical fiction, but it's also bursting with suspense and intrigue. This thriller, filled with murders and scandal, will keep you on the edge of your seat! EVERYONE is keeping secrets from everyone in this book. It's awesome! Fiona Paul does a phenomenal job of revealing things at exactly the right time to keep you guessing all the way to the end! The story is fairly fast paced, keeps right on trucking, and I couldn't believe I was actually wrong about who the killer was! This novel has so many fantastic qualities, and number one on that list is the characters!
Cass is exactly the type of heroine I like to see. She's just enough of a damsel in distress (although, I can hardly call her that) to keep the boys in her life around to help her out when she needs it. But she is SO strong, especially for the era she is living in. She tends to throw caution to the wind whenever she can, whether it's something a "proper" lady would do or not. Her aunt, although she may seem like an old fuddy-duddy, is fantastic! (In my humble opinion.) She will definitely surprise you, in more ways than one! And all those boys/men...they definitely keep the reader on their toes!
Falco...*sigh*...Falco has a certain Robin Hood-esque quality to his character. He is definitely participating in illegal activities, and yet he's always helping Cass out of sticky situations...they keep bumping into each other in the strangest places! And he's showing Cass what it's like to truly live. Falco is an artist's apprentice, looking to make his way up to working for himself. He and Cass DEFINITELY don't swim in the same social pools. But they have a chemistry that neither of them can deny. And they certainly know how to have a good time...even if that time is spent investigating cemeteries and brothels in the middle of the night.
Luca is Cass' fiance. She hasn't seen him in about 3 years, since he left for France to study law. When the reader is first introduced to Luca (via Cass' memories and letters) I kept thinking, "Oh, what a boring young man. Who would want to be with him when they could have Falco?" But once he makes an actual appearance in the novel...let's just say even though he is what I would refer to as "sturdy and dependable", he is also VERY good looking, and he's got his nose into things that many wouldn't expect, considering he is studying law, and all.
I AM SO TORN! I don't know which boy Cass should be with. I know if it were me personally, I would definitely go with Luca. But Cass, she's a little more restless than I am. And it's obvious she has fallen in love with Falco. However, a boy can change a lot in 3 years, both physically and mentally/emotionally, and Luca has definitely done just that. :) And it's pretty obvious, to me anyway, that Luca loves her.
Who should Cass choose? Will they all even survive with a killer on the loose? I guess you'll have to read it yourself to find out! I know I can't wait to get my hands on the next book! Belladonna is available now!
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Posted June 10, 2013
***Review posted on The Eater of Books! blog***
Venom by Fiona Paul
Book One of the Secrets of the Eternal Rose Series
Publication Date: October 30, 2012
Rating: 3 stars
Source: ARC from a giveaway
Summary (from Goodreads):
Cassandra Caravello is one of Renaissance Venice’s lucky elite: with elegant gowns, sparkling jewels, her own lady’s maid, and a wealthy fiancé, she has everything a girl could desire. Yet ever since her parents’ death, Cassandra has felt trapped, alone in a city of water, where the dark and labyrinthine canals whisper of escape.
When Cass stumbles upon a murdered woman—practically in her own backyard—she’s drawn into a dangerous world of courtesans, killers, and secret societies. Soon, she finds herself falling for Falco, a mysterious artist with a mischievous grin... and a spectacular skill for trouble. Can Cassandra find the murderer, before he finds her? And will she stay true to her fiancé, or succumb to her uncontrollable feelings for Falco?
Beauty, love, romance, and mystery weave together in a stunning novel that’s as seductive and surprising as the city of Venice itself.
What I Liked:
I absolutely love historical fiction, so the setting of the Italian Renaissance something about which I was looking forward to reading. For the most part, I thought the setting was intriguing and enrapturing, and it definitely felt like I could place myself there. The Renaissance is one of my favorite historical time periods, and I am happy to say I was not too disappointed.
The plot was pretty straightforward. Girl finds dead body. Girl wants to know who, what, where, when, why, how. Girl gets help from hot but poor boy. Girl and boy think they fall in love. Boy helps girl, but keeps things from girl. Fast forward a lot. All is revealed at the end. Girl must make a choice. Again, straightforward. Predictable. Which is not bad (obviously, I liked it), because I could follow the plot very easily.
The romantic interests: Luca and Falco. That is not a secret, so I am not spoiling anything for anyone. I cannot believe I am saying this, but I am Team Luca. Usually, I would be on Team New Guy, the new, hot, rugged guy that does not seem perfect for the heroine. But I really, really like Luca. A LOT more than I like Falco. I was not completely taken it by Falco.
Cass is an okay heroine. She tries to be a strong person, but in my opinion, she is not. Which is how it is supposed to be in Renaissance Italy: women are not supposed to think for themselves like that, and gallavant all over town. The fact that she does bothered me a lot.
What I Did Not Like:
There is a lot for this category. I am going to try and condense it.
First, Falco. My goodness, I did not like that boy. I can see Ms. Paul attempting to make him seem "sexy" and "forbidden" because he is of a lower class than Cass, but I really did not buy it. He just seemed dark and mysterious, but not in the usual yummy way.
And Cass. Oh my gosh. Is she kidding me? She has spent all of like, a few weeks knowing Falco, and suddenly her heart is being ripped into two? WHAT? No. I do not buy Falco and Cass loving each other. I believe they love each other because each of them are forbidden to the other. They love the IDEA of each other. So, this romance sucked. I prefer Cass with Luca, but then, I am not a huge fan of Cass, so maybe Cass should end up with no one.
Oh yeah, love triangle. You know how I feel about those. EW. This one is especially ridiculous, since Cass is already engaged to Luca, a steady, stable, handsome, RICH man that she knew when she was younger.
I also wish we could have discovered more about the Secrets of the Eternal Rose (I believe it is a book? I am not sure). There is barely any mention of it, besides those random pages in between chapters. I did not pay attention to them as I was reading. They just distracted and confused me.
And here is my biggest sticking point: ANACHRONISMS.
This book is filled with anachronisms. Every time I saw one, I would cringe and get a little annoyed. For those of you that do not know, anachronisms are things that do not belong in the time period in which they are presented.
For example, hydrogen bombs in the American Civil War. Not happening.
Anyway, anachronisms are present in this book. The speech, for one. Sometimes Cass says things that really only apply to today's speech. One example I can think of is "Deal". "Deal" as in, "yeah, let's do that." People in Renaissance Italy did NOT say that, I am sure of it. There are others too, like "sure". NO. Just... no.
Cass's entire being is anachronistic. Girls of Renaissance Italy did not think or act as she did. The only non-anachronistic thing she did was at the end (not telling).
I am sure I am forgetting things, but I will stop here.
Would I Recommend It:
Probably. If you like historical fiction, go for it. Overall, this book did not impress me. I liked it, but I am not sure I will read it again. I will definitely continue the series though.
2.5 stars (I am rounding up to 3 stars. But honestly, the 3-star rating is pretty generous).
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Posted January 23, 2014
First the story introduces Cassandra or Cass for short is a young noble and one of Venice's most prominent families with a fiance named
Luca Da Perage. Cass acts like a snobby Nobel but is more interested in the other side of Venice. after her dear friend Liviana's funeral she had
decided to go back after dark to her friends crypt to visit her and opened her casket but it wasn't her friend Liviana had golden hair this
woman had jet back hair with a bloody X cut across her chest. the character vs self conflict makes Cass worry where the body of her
dear friends body went and who is this woman and who is the culprit.
one thing i liked about this novel was where it took place because so many mysterious things could happen in Venice in the eighteenth
century.some examples are falling in love with a man when you are betrothed to someone else or finding your deceased friend
replaced with someone else.one thing i disliked was in the beginning one of the plot events was set aside for a bit for example in on
and a half chapters about a gathering right after finding Liviana gone.i recommend this book because its full crime and mystery
romance in a historical location.
Posted January 23, 2014
I'm sorry to say that this book didn't grab me at the beginning. I wanted to like, but, but at first I didn't. It took me a few days to get into it. By the time I got to page 80, the book had sufficiently grabbed me to make me want to finish the book.
I think my biggest problem with the beginning was that while I loved the whole world of Renaissance Italy, and the glitz and the glamour, there was so much description, and I felt that it just dragged on forever. Don't get me wrong, it was a totally beautiful world that had a lot of details, but there were a lot of details in the beginning that I started to get bored.
Enter Falco and the mystery. Now the book really had my attention, Falco was pretty sexy, but suspicious, I wasn't really sure of his intentions as he and Cass tried to figure out who was killing all of these people. As the book progressed, I still didn't trust him, there were a few too many things that seemed off about him.
I wasn't a huge fan of Cass. She seemed to play the poor bored rich girl who didn't think her fiance was good enough, whether that is an accurate characterization of her, I'm not sure, but she irked me. She also irked me because of her inability to make a decision concerning the love triangle she found herself in with her fiance and Falco. Both of them had their redeeming qualities, but not sure how I feel about them because they both had their secrets.
One thing this book was not short of was mysteries, and I love that they all (mostly) got tied up at the end along with a super fancy wedding. I am still excited to get to read the second book and find out what is going to happen next with Cass, Falco and Luca.
Posted November 25, 2013
I love love love historical fiction so it was a no-brainer that I would pick this book up to read especially since Venice is on my short list of cities I will visit before I kick the bucket. And, it made even more sense to review it especially since I’m waiting for my copy of Belladonna to arrive!!
First off, Fiona’s writing style is just lovely. Her prose is amazing and I really do wish that I can write as well as her one day but I really shouldn’t have expected anything else. If there is one thing I learned from reading countless Paper Lantern Lit books is that their writers are top-notch. The thing that basically cemented her in my head as a writer I must follow is the way she got me to fall in love with Luca even though he only made his appearance near the end of the book. Normally, writers could spend the entire book trying to sell me on a prospective love interest and I won’t fall in love with them at all.
But, I did fall in love with Luca (hard). And Falco (hard). I’m actually in love with both of them and that’s very depressing because whoever Cass does settle on in the end is going to be a bittersweet moment for me.
Secondly, Fiona is so adept at describing the beauty of Venice that it almost seemed like a magical world set in a fantasy and not a historical time period in a city that apparently was home to a lot of nasty-smelling sewage and diseases. And, best of all, she is one of those authors that can make you feel like you are in the city and help you see it clearly in your eyes even though you’ve never been there!
If you know me, that is a major plus since I can’t go anywhere right now on my student’s budget so books that have the ability to transport me to cities far beyond my own usually gets a spot in my collection.
The only reason I knocked off a star off my review is the plot. To be honest, it was obvious what Falco’s mysterious errand was and I pretty much guessed it even before it was used to build up the tension in the novel. I read one novel a long time ago (I forgot the title and it’s been bothering me) about an aristocrat in Venice who falls in love with the resident artist who goes off galloping into the night to study corpses despite a serial murderer running around Venice. So, yea… the plot wasn’t anything original.
Another thing that bothered me was how abrupt Christian’s big reveal was. There was no gradual epiphany moment that I enjoy having when I read mystery novels when I slowly come to the same realization as the MC. But, I’ve noticed this with the other PLL’s mystery novels (*cough* Truth or Dare *cough*). It’s like they’re giving you an awesome mystery and I’m working overtime to guess who the culprit is and at the last minute… BAM! it’s the character you didn’t even bother think about because the author only mentioned him/her, at max, twice.
But, the plot is easily forgivable because of the way Fiona is able to introduce the characters and Venice. Read it and you’ll fall in love with the characters and Venice. Besides, if PLL got the plot down perfect too then it just wouldn’t be fair to the other YA historical romance novels out there.
Posted September 26, 2013
I have really been looking forward to this book and it didn't disappoint. Fantastically lush setting, murder, corsets, trouble making boys, gondolas.... What more could you want?
Posted July 24, 2013
This book was very boring and the ending sucked. Go with your heart is what people always say and she didnt do that...
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Posted July 8, 2013
i loved this book from the minute i saw it at barns&noble to the very end. honestly i cant decide whos side im on i just hope i never have to pick something like that. ok yea im almost 13 im so getting the second book as a late birthday present. at first i was like oh yea FALCO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! then Luca came in and i was still oh yea FALCO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! then Luca came in and honestly i couldnt chose so i towards the end LUCA swooped in so...... but i love this book!!!!!! i just cant believe the last one comes out March 1, 2014 MAN i cant wait that long i wish i had all of them now. this is a AMAZING book i would so recomend this !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
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Posted May 16, 2013
Posted April 21, 2013
The summary doesn't do this amazing book justice! I started reading it one day, not expecting much, but it turned out to be a page turner, it was romantic, suspenseful, mysterious, all the things a good teen novel should have. I'm all for Falco and Cassandra! The ending made me cry though, can't wait for the sequel!!!Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted February 1, 2013
Historical Fiction <3 with twists and characters who you don't know thoroughly until the end-which is a good thing because I had no Idea where this was going to end. I hate the stereotypical endings/love happiness live happily ever after crap- the main character showed some back bone and traversed great scenery throughout this book :) Who doesn't want to see Venice?Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted January 21, 2013
Posted January 15, 2013
“Venom” by, Fiona Paul
Cassandra Caravello is part of the wealthy class living in Venice and she has everything a girl could want including a fiance. Even with all these things Cass finds that she is not happy and she longs for something different. When Falco, a lower class artist comes into the picture Cass finds that her life quickly changes direction. With bodies going missing and danger around every corner Cass is going to have to use all of her wits to find a murderer before he finds her.
Venom is a murder mystery set in historical Venice, but that isn’t all it is. In this book you will find romance, danger, a wonderful setting, and interesting characters.
When I first started reading Venom I worried that I wasn’t going to like Cass because she seemed a little bratty to me. As I continued reading I saw how she grew to realize what was important to her and she won me over. I think that Cass felt in this book like we all have at one point in our lives (trapped, lost, frustrated, etc.). Who hasn’t wanted to just run away from themselves and have an adventure, I know I have. When Cass runs away she realizes that without the people that love her, the world can be a very harsh place.
Next we have Falco, the bad boy who tempts Cass away from the safety of her structured life. I must admit that I’m usually a sucker for the bad boy but I really struggled to like Falco. He wasn’t a bad guy in the story but he did a few things that bothered me. I think I’ll have to wait and see what happens with him in the second book.
Then we have sweet, strong, mysterious Luca who I loved even though he wasn’t in much of the book. I’m not really sure what it is about him, but I felt drawn to his character. I hope that he has a much bigger part in the second installment of this series.
Overall I found Venom to be an interesting story and a series that I am happy to keep reading.
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