Venom by Fiona Paul

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?

Description taken from Goodreads. 

This was my first book from Fiona Paul and there were things I liked and didn’t like.

First of all, insta-connection with Falco. *cue internal screaming* The minute they get more than five seconds to talk, he starts flirting with her–in a graveyard, no less. And you know what’s funny? Or rather, really not funny… Cass’s want to know (healthy desire to know) what exactly Falco is doing in a graveyard in the middle of the night dissipates as she spends more and more time with him, the clues all saying that Falco has secrets he should probably be telling Cass. I also wish that Cass had focused more on the fact that, she is ENGAGED. Emphasis on the ENGAGED.

On to some of the things that I did like about this book–the Luca and Cassandra dynamic. I really do hope that Cass can come to like Luca as well, because I was not a fan of Falco. Falco’s just this wishy-washy half-character who’s always popping up everywhere and drawing things and keeping secrets from Cass. Going on with the good things though, I also enjoyed how the plot line was easy to follow. I wanted to come into this book and find a complex mystery, but I was pleasantly surprised to see that I actually enjoyed the straightforward prose and plot. Things were fairy realistic and I did appreciate the historical setting. I didn’t always think Cass was a realistic heroine fitting the setting she was in, but I did like many aspects to her personality such as how she learned quickly, didn’t waste time and wasn’t all charmed by Falco.

I did like this book. It really wasn’t quite as… anything, really, that I thought it would be. It was entertaining, but in an entirely different way than I had imagined. It is a book that I would recommend for 15+ historical fiction fans. Overall, it was a good read. Not as good or bad as I imagined. Different. While Falco and Cass annoyed me at times, it had good writing and all in all, a good story. I’m looking forward to reading the next book. Everything seems like it’s coming together… 3 stars.

pg count for the hardback: 435

Series: Secrets of the Eternal Rose


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