Review * Venom by Fiona Paul

October 25, 2012 Reviews 23 ★★★★★

Review * Venom by Fiona PaulVenom by Fiona Paul
Series: Secrets of the Eternal Rose #1
Published by Philomel on October 30, 2012
Genres: Historical Fiction, Mystery, Young Adult
Pages: 432
Format: Hardcover
Source: BEA
Add to: 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 Thought…

  • I almost missed out on this book at BEA and that would have been a tragedy! There is so much good stuff I don’t even know where to begin!
  • I didn’t really know what it was about when I picked it up so I was surprised by how creepy it was. Cass is all wandering around in graveyards and Venice at night, sometimes by herself and it’s definitely creepy. Especially the graveyard scenes.
  • Venom is historical fiction and I don’t read a lot of that. I really liked the way it was written. I know some people might not agree with me on this, but I liked the fact that the language had a modern feel to it. I didn’t catch any obvious slang that didn’t make sense for the time period, but I appreciated that it was written without the nuances of the past.
  • Cass was very naïve, but that’s not really her fault. She lived a very sheltered life. Her parents have died and she lives with her aunt away from the city and is pretty much not allowed to go anywhere or do anything. She’s also already engaged to be married, but is discovering that she (gasp!) might have feelings. Cass’s naivety and trusting gets her into trouble a couple times.
  • Despite (or maybe because of) Cass’s upbringing she did the craziest things! She was constantly sneaking out in the middle of the night to not so great places. She was pretty fearless about it too.
  • Cass’s best friend Madalena was a little annoying at first. She’s fairly self centered, but that is somewhat understandable given her upbringing. She was less annoying towards the end of the book.
  • There are two guys. I know! Another love triangle! You can decide for yourself who you think Cass might end up with, but I am totally team Falco. Falco is the artist Cass runs into in the graveyard. He’s dangerous and mysterious and a little bit funny (and a little bit over the top, but I was ok with that). He’s also a little suspicious as all his activities don’t exactly seem to be on the good side. Luca is Cass’s fiancé. He doesn’t appear until about 3/4 of the way into the book and he is not who you think he is either.
  • There were so many characters and so many secrets! At times it was almost hard to keep them strait. People are hiding all kinds of things, both small and big. It’s a little frustrating cause you can’t just tell who people really are.
  • The killer wasn’t who I thought it would be, but that’s pretty normal for me. It didn’t end at all the way I thought it would and I can’t wait for the next one.
  • Venice was sooo pretty, but I loved how Fiona Paul didn’t gloss over the canals like you find in some books. A lot of books portray the canals of Venice as clean when in fact they are not. I’ve never personally been there, but I know people who have and they say that the canals are dirty and have a smell. I appreciate that Paul acknowledged that in her book.
  • Despite the fact that this is a YA book it was not a very fast read at all. That’s not a bad thing, it just took more time than normal for me to read it.
  • My one complaint about Venom is that in the beginning Cass is kind of an idiot. She’s wandering around in the graveyard, stumbles upon the body and then runs into Falco and she was all “Falco can’t be a murderer. Not with that smile.” Um, actually, yes he can! You just ran into a strange guy that you don’t know in the middle of a graveyard in the middle of the night. He could totally be the killer!
  • Seriously, this is a really, really good book! I hope everyone has the chance to read it!

Notable Quotes

“How terrible it must be to be a member of the noble class. So many rules. Such restraint. You must feel like a caged bird, battering its wings against the sides of its golden prison.”

“The human form, it’s a symphony. Tiny interlocking movements that join together in song.”

* I received a copy of Venom at BEA in exchange for my honest review. I was in no way compensated.


23 Responses to “Review * Venom by Fiona Paul”

  1. Hollie

    I never thought that this would be my kind of book, but the more I read about it, the more determined I am to get a hold of a copy! I’m really happy to see that you loved this one, especially as you don’t read a lot of historical fiction (I don’t either). The two quotes you shared are amazing too. Brilliant review!

  2. Jenny

    I love when a book totally takes you by surprise and makes you feel so lucky to have had the chance to read it. This one does sound intriguing.

  3. Fiona Paul

    Thanks for your review! While it was my every intent not to write in super-formal historical language like “Fair maiden, thou shalt come hither to my bed chambers upon whence I shall embrace thee,” (because I also don’t read a lot of historical because that sort of talk makes me crazy) there are a handful of too-modern words I didn’t catch until it was too late. “Creepy” comes to mind, but for realz, guys. How am I supposed to write such a creepy book without using the word “creepy”? It’s one of my favorite words :) I don’t think I’ve ever made it through a whole day without calling something creepy. Or creepalicious! But both the editorial team and I are really going through book #2 looking for words that don’t belong. We might still miss a couple, but we’re doing our best, I swearz. Hopefully this won’t detract too much from anyone’s reading experience.

    PS if you find a word that really jars you, send me an email. I finally found a definitive etymology website (every bit as boring as it sounds, but helpful) and I can look it up and make sure it stays out of future books

  4. Bittner

    Wow, I feel a little odd writing a comment after the author leaves you such a long comment! What if she comes back and reads the comments to see what other people have to say about your review???

    I think this book sounds great! I love historical romances and can’t wait to get my hands on it. You wrote a totally awesome review Kim! Thank you so much for sharing!

    *every time I glanced over the author’s name I read it as Fiona Apple! Every Time!

    • Fiona Paul

      Eep sorry :) Maybe that should have been an email. I think I just got geeked out because someone said they liked the less formal tone. But trust me Bittner, we authors learn fast and furiously that if we go perusing the webs re: our books we might run into stuff we wish we hadn’t seen. It’s all part of the job :)

      PS I would totally read a book by Fiona Apple

  5. Aman

    I have already pre-ordered this book, and can’t wait to read it. Two guys, huh? I’m not a love triangle fan, but if it’s done right, then it’s great. And I love when the bad guys turns out to be a surprise. Great review!

  6. Christina

    Wow, glad to hear someone liked this one. I’ve seen a lot of two stars and it made me sad since I have a copy, though I might not get to it for a while. I have hope again!

  7. Jenn Renee

    Loved this book! yes Cass was a bit naive in the beginning but it is because of her upbrining. I loved the fact that she didnt let things deter her from finding out the truth, even if she may be getting involved with a murder. And for the record Cass, many serial killers have been know to have nice smiles. Great review.