Venom (Secrets of the Eternal Rose #1)
Author: Fiona Paul
Rating: 4 stars
Genre: ya historical fiction, mystery
Summary: 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.
It did take about 80 pages till I could really get into Venom. But once those dead bodies started showing up, I couldn't put it down.
The setting is different; Renaissance Venice. It's beautifully described, but realistically, not an ideal picture of the place, which made every scene that much more believable. With all the mention of different Pilazzos and the island she resides on, I did have a hard time mapping the place together. (also, I haven't been to Venice yet.) Maybe a map would have been good to have in the front of the book.
Yes. There is a love triangle. Thankfully that awful thing wasn't used much in Venom because one of the guys isn't really present until near the end. Unfortunately that might change in Belladonna. But who knows. I can say Cassandra's feelings and situation made her stand out from other love triangles I've scorned in the past. So I give the author kudos for that.
Besides the love triangle issue, guys this book is a murder mystery! And it has no supernatural beings!! Isn't that awesome? So rare nowadays. I love how Cass is superstitious, probably how I would be in her position. And Falco is all, don't be foolish, there are regular evil humans who exist. You have no idea how happy I am that this didn't turn into a paranormal. Historical fiction! One of the best ya hist-fic I've read.
My one concern is I can't really get a grasp of the ages of our characters. Was there a mention of fifteen early on in the book for Cass? It's sort of disorienting, and I don't know the time well enough when one girl would become engaged. Fifteen indeed, or more like eighteen? If anyone caught that, let me know.
I'm so glad I already own the second book!