Review: Venom

Venom (Secrets of the Eternal Rose #1) by Fiona Paul
Release Date ~ October 30, 2012
Philomel ~ Penguin
ISBN13: 978039925725
ARC received from Penguin Canada for review

Goodreads Synopsis:
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.

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.

  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! 


Judith said...

I really want to read this book and your review made me even more excited :) Historical YA CSI? Awesome!

Amber Elise said...

These are GREAT reasons to read! It looks like Falco it 3-dimensional and not just a pretty face which I just LOVE.

Thanks for your review!

Amber Elise @ Du Livre

Christina said...

I hear such varying accounts of this one as to puzzle me exceedingly. I'll definitely be checking it out at some point, since I have an ARC (oops), but I'm not sure when I'll get to it. Sadly, probably not this year. :/

Fiona Paul said...

Thanks for the lovely review :) Feel free to check out the first chapter of Belladonna here: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/belladonna-fiona-paul/1113599154

Andrea @ Cozy Up said...

Yes, this book was awesome, though I did love the cover :) You were so right about the ending too, such a beautiful story and I can't wait to see where it goes! Love the review :D

Sara @ Forever 17 Books said...

I LOVE this book. The setting was great and I adored Falco. Can't wait for more! I love your comparison to a YA CSI. lol Great review. :)

~Sara @ Forever 17 Books

Daniela said...

This sounds like such a good book!! And the trailer is awesome! Falco sounds like a worthy guy too, I'm just itching to read this one now :)

ChristasBooks said...

You're right, the cover totally doesn't do this book justice. But I loved everything inside. Especially Falco *fans self*.

And I agree there was a lot of little details that were clearly set up for the rest of the series but that just made me more excited for the next book!

Anonymous said...

Historical YA + Venice + Swoony Romance = I'm going to read this book!

Thanks for the review!

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