Dec 27, 2012

Review: Venom by Fiona Paul

Title: Venom
Author: Fiona Paul
Publisher: Philomel
Publication Date: 10.30.2012
Pages: 432
Genre: Paranormal, Historical
Series: Yes (Secrets of the Eternal Rose #1)
Source: ARC from BEA

Rating: B+

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 fiancĂ©, 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 fiancĂ©, or succumb to her uncontrollable feelings for Falco?

Delicious, decadent, and alluring, Venom is a thrilling, sweeping novel that takes you deep into the heart of Venice. Fiona Paul’s debut is a pulse-pounding success with mysterious characters and settings that entice and enthrall.

Cass is a complex character. She has the spirit of a twenty-first century girl while living in the constraints of the Renaissance time. Her role was defined by her station, her arranged marriage, and her family. I loved that Cass didn’t simply rebel against her title and the life that had predetermined for her. Yes, she disliked it and went against the social norms, but she also felt fear and guilt when she did it. She second guessed herself frequently, and that helped ground her character to me.

Falco was a bit more of a hard sell for me. There was something about him I could never fully trust and therefore never really accept. That made his romance with Cass a little hard to take. Falco seemed a little too slick and confidant, and while I understand the need for secrecy now, I couldn’t help but feel a little put off by him.

It took me a bit longer to read Venom than I would have liked, but I likened it to eating a triple-layer, death-by-chocolate cake. It’s too rich to down in one sitting. I had to let things digest and settle before going back for more. Paul does a spectacular job setting the scene and making me feel like I was walking along the roads of Venice from the smells to the feel of the cobblestone beneath my feet. Reading Venom is an experience, not just a ride. I can’t wait to see where Paul takes this story next.


  1. So you're not supposed to inhale triple-layer death-by-chocolate cake in 2 forkfuls? And then chase it with a cappucino and a giant cupcake? This is what I've been doing wrong :)

    Happy holidays. Thanks for the review :)

  2. *resists urge to post a second comment correcting spelling of cappuccino* *fails*

  3. Glad to hear that this is such a good read. I have 35 people ahead of me on the hold list at the library but it it's as good as it sounds it'll be worth the wait. Great review as always!
    -Kimberly @ Turning the Pages

  4. I have been eying this book for a little while now. Thanks for your review! :)

  5. Oooo I like the triple layer chocolate cake analogy Hannah! And now I want cake. Damn you. I'm curious to see what I'll think of Falco - I think some of his secrecy might be a bit off putting for me as well, but overall this sounds like a really great read. Plus, Venice. LOVE that this book is set there!


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