Release Date ~ October 30, 2012
Philomel ~ Penguin
ARC received from Penguin Canada for review
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.
- 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!
- 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.
- 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!