Friday, February 1, 2013

Book Review: Venom (Secrets of the Eternal Rose #1) by: Fiona Paul

Release Date: October 30, 2012 from Philomel
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Source: Huge thanks to ARCycling for this book!
"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."

My Thoughts:

So this is not the type of book I would normally pick up but can we just look at that cover, it just screams “read me!” I just want to take that cover and pet it and love it but anyway moving on. I am so incredibly glad that I read this book, because it is fabulous. I devoured this book! All I can say now is that I am dying for more of this story!

Cassandra, or Cass, is the kind of character that I can easily admire. She feels trapped and suffocated by the world she lives in, but all she really wants is to be in control of her own life. She is strong and stubborn, but still a bit restrained by the rules of society. Cass wants to break out of her shell but its not so easy in Renaissance Venice. She reminded me a lot of Eleanor from Something Strange and Deadly, and we all know how much I loved that book.

Falco is a character that girls will easily fall in love with. I know I fell for his wit and charm very quickly. He doesn’t always say the proper thing, but I think I love him all the more because of that. It really is a very endearing trait. Falco makes Cass see a different side of life and a different side of herself. With him she can be herself because he has no care for the rules. This is a couple where they bring out the best in each other.

As for the plot, it was quite addictive in a slow buildup kind of way. It moves at a slower pace, but it doesn’t drag; it just builds up the anticipation. While I was able to figure out some of the plot as far as the romance goes, when it came to the mystery aspect I was truly stumped until right before the villain is finally revealed. I kept trying to piece it all together but I just couldn’t make it fit together in my head. This is one of the reasons I kept turning pages until very late in the night. The lack of sleep that resulted was totally worth it.

While I devoured and loved this book, some things irked me. For one thing, that ending! I was left with a good amount of questions especially concerning one huge plot point. Not too thrilled about that. Hopefully that will be answered in subsequent books. Also, I wasn’t a big fan of the love triangle that snuck its way in at the end when her fiancé comes back into the picture. Cass’s relationship with Falco was fiery and passionate and I could clearly see the connection. With her fiancé Luca, it feels forced and I guess that is how I am supposed to feel. I just couldn’t completely buy into her new feelings for Luca. Then again, we all know that once I pick a guy I don’t sway from that choice. I just think Falco brought out the best in her.

All in all, Venom is an addictive and thrilling read. Like I said, I lost sleep because of this book, but I cannot bring myself to regret it. In this case, what is inside the book lives up to the gorgeous cover.


  1. I'm with you - that cover is gorgeous!! I wasn't sure about this one; but aside from the ending leaving you with unanswered questions, this sounds really good! Wonderful review!

    1. It was really good in a very surprising way! It was also a change of pace for me.

  2. Yes, I loved it too! And it totally reminded me of Something Strange and Deadly :D
    I had similar feelings about Falco and Luca, but I can understand Cass' sort-of-decision very well too, considering the customs of her society. I read the first chapter of the sequel, Belladonna, somewhere a couple weeks ago and now I'm PINING >.<
    Great review, very thorough without spoiling :)

    1. I understand her sort-of decision too, but I dont really like it haha. I am DYING to Belladonna. I tried to get an ARC but no such luck. Guess I'll just suffer lol. Thanks for stopping by!

    2. I don't really like it either :P And my ARC-requesting had the same result, sigh :(
      I have a prequel though because I pre-ordered the book. I am now wondering why I haven't read said prequel yet o.O Would you like me to *cough* send it to you?

    3. WHOA WHOA WHOA there is a prequel?!?!?! How did I not know about this? I would greatly appreciate it is you could send it to me! That would be awesomesauce!

    4. Emailed you :) I hope your program didn't put it into the junk folder...

  3. Dying for more of the story!! Oh my!! And that cover really does draw you in! I like the sound of the characters, and the story sounds interesting!! Ugh, the love triangle is going to probably make me mad... do not like.. BUT since you liked it so much, I'm going to have to check it out!!!


    Magen Corrie

    1. just look beyond the triangle to the pretty Falco!

  4. I've heard great things about Venom. For some reason, I'm not sure that I would enjoy it. I'm glad you liked it, despite the parts that bothered you. The cover is gorgeous.

  5. Glad to hear that is an overall addictive and good read, though the ending sounds frustrating.
    Happy reading,
    Brandi @ Blkosiner’s Book Blog

  6. WOOHOOOO....FALCO!!!! How incredibly sexy is that name!!!??? I can't wait to read this book. The story sounds great, the characters sound amazing and that cover is gorgeous! How can I not pick this up??

    I really love the idea of this book...but love triangle....(kill me now!)...Who the hell does this fiancé think he his, barging into what could have been a better book had it not been for his face (not that I know what it looks like. -_-) showing up!!!!!! frustrating, why are all the passionate relationships ruined because of no-do-gooder nosy past boyfriends!! *deep breath* I really could go on about this a-hole....why oh why, can't we get a little peace in YA books???

    Okay, okay...I need a breather/........ :s

    Anywho....I'm glad you enjoyed this (and Falco!! not you know who.... -_-)! I can't wait to pick it up!

    FANTABURRIFIC review! :D

    ~ Maida (usually your happiest camper, now a little bit [okay A LOT] pissed at Mr. Fiance nosy pants!)

    1. see I have a theory we complain about these no-good fiance's coming in to ruin passionate relationships all the time, but secretly I think we like the angst (shhh dont tell) Its true, some peace would be nice. Although I read a fluffy book recently and I kept going where is the trouble and heartbreak?!?! I'm a conundrum!


  7. Great review! I started reading this one a while ago but haven't had the time to go back and finish it lately. Will definitely be finishing it at some point because I was enjoying it. I liked that the story was taking the time to build up to everything.

    1. I loved the slow buildup too. It doesn't work with every book but it fit with this one.


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