Tuesday, January 6, 2015

venom (secrets of the eternal rose #1) by fiona paul: review

Goodreads rating: 3.75
ARC, 435 pages
Published October 30th 2012 by Philomel
Series: Secrets of the Eternal Rose #1
Source: advance reader's copy from ALA
Genre: YA historical romance

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.

INITIAL REACTION: Really enjoyed this one!!! I'm also kind of happy I started the series after all the books came out.

I tried to start this book once before really getting into it, and it's funny because it was to read another historical romance, Clockwork Princess. But they are such completely different reads. It was really cool that this novel takes place in Venice, although I wish I'd been there in Cassandra's time, rather than now because it was SO crowded when I was there this summer. I could definitely catch onto the charm in Venice that the novel does a fantastic job of presenting us. This book is so steeped in mystery and murder and intrigue and some downright creepiness, and Venice was the perfect place to have it all unfold. I literally would've gotten lost a thousand times over without using Google Maps; I don't know how anyone did/does it without portable GPS. There were also some very creepy dead ends when I was there, and it freaked me out just like it did Cass. I kind of wish I'd read this while I was there because it would've made it that more magical... or maybe it just would've freaked me out more. Yeah, probably that. Needless to say, the setting was phenomenal and really gave the story that dark-magic feeling.

The romance... well, Falco was certainly mysterious and swoon-worthy. There's something about the down-and-out artist that has to steal and paint girls almost-naked that really draws you to them (no sarcasm). It's interesting because, while I was falling for Falco, I couldn't help wondering about her fiance, who comes into play at the end. But mostly, Cass is restrained by society's rules since she's a young girl, as well as an over-protective aunt. This book was somehow very gothic, including specters and the like. There were definitely parts of this novel that I couldn't put down, especially since it seemed like Cass was getting into trouble all the time. The author also kept you guessing about whether Falco was bad or not, and who's really after her and how powerful are they? Definitely enough mystery to keep me interested. And I'll be especially interested to see how the author does the love triangle, which I can clearly see is forming. I hope to read the second book soon, but we all know how those TBR piles go! Still, I'm very excited to read the sequel.


Readers of historical fiction, YA or otherwise.

Something Strange and Deadly trilogy by Susan Dennard
The Cahill Witch Chronicles by Jessica Spotswood
The Infernal Devices by Cassandra Clare

1 comment:

  1. I read this book when it first came out and I really need to finish up the series!


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