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Heartwarming and Seductive: A Review of VENOM by Fiona Paul

Posted by on November 3, 2012
Venom (Secrets of the Eternal Rose, #1) VENOM
Fiona Paul
432 pages
Publisher: Philomel (Penguin)
Release Date: October 30th, 2012
Source: ARC from Publisher
Rating: LOVED

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.

   Venomous, dark, and thrilling, Fiona Paul’s VENOM is a must-read.

   Set during the romantic era of the Renaissance in the streets and canals of magical Venice, VENOM is filled with lavish dresses, artisans, and murderers. Yes, murderers. That’s the one problem in Cass’s perfect world. A murderer is on the loose – and she might be his next victim.

   Cass is a headstrong girl who finds nothing more comforting that writing in her journal in the graveyard beside her aunt’s house. And when Cass steps into the crypt of a friend who was buried early that morning, she finds the lid open – and another body, bloated, inside. So begins the breathless debut of Fiona Paul.

   When I see a novel getting all the buzz on Twitter and Goodreads, I set my expectations to the lowest, because I usually end up being disappointed. With VENOM, however, the buzz was true – it’s unbelievably good. It’s no wonder Penguin chose it as one of the five Breathless Reads of 2012 – VENOM certainly tops my list of must-reads for this year.

   For fans of historical fiction and mystery-lovers alike, Fiona Paul’s debut has moments of both chilling and thrilling darkness. It’s seductive at its darkest and heartwarming at its lightest. The novel is the first in a series, but VENOM, thankfully, ends on a note that closes it as a standalone – so there’s no cliffhanger to worry about. All in all, you’ll want to pick this one up.

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  1. This book has been on my “to-read” list for a while now! How exciting that it's finally out. I hope to read it soon, especially after I just went to Venice this summer.

    Another good review! Thanks for your thoughts.

    ~ Kristi

  2. I'm so glad you loved this one! Hype always worries me too. But it's a delight to know that Venom deserves it! I didn't plan on buying Venom but now I might have to. :)

  3. I'm glad that you loved it! That was smart of you to set your bar low, I set it too high and ended up disappointed. I agree that there is no cliffhanger (because you know how much I like my standaones ;) but I still think there are so many unanswered questions! I wish the Book of the Eternal Rose was actually introduced.

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