Author: Fiona Paul
Series: Secrets of the Eternal Rose #1
Genre: Young Adult, Romance, Mystery, Thriller
Cassandra Caravello has everything a girl could desire: elegant gowns, sparkling jewels, invitations to the best parties, and a handsome, wealthy fiancé – yet she longs for something more. 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 – with a bloody X carved across her chest – she’s drawn into a dangerous world of secret societies, courtesans, and killers. Soon, she finds herself falling for Falco, a mysterious artist with a mischievous grin…and a habit of getting into trouble. Will 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 stunning as Renaissance Venice itself.
First Sentence: Man falls down before the Angel of Death like a beast before the slaughter.
I was so looking forward to reading Venom. It might have been the size of the book that attracted me (although I don’t really like the cover itself), the way the side of the pages are ripped, or even that Venom takes place in Italy during the Renaissance. However, Venom didn’t live close to my expectations. How can a book about Italy during the Renaissance with a perfect blend of murder not be good?
Venom promised to be a thriller, more specifically a thriller with “a dangerous world of secret societies, courtesans, and killers.” However, we never got any of that. There is absolutely no thrill in Venom because of how Fiona Paul wrote it. Her writing makes the scenes that were supposed to be horrifying and suspenseful be slow and bland to the readers. It also didn’t help that the whole murder mystery took a backseat for the romance.
I don’t get why Falco is a love interest for Cassandra. Every time we see him, he’s either knocking Cass over, pressuring her to do things she doesn’t want to do, degrading her, or ditching her in moments where she might have gotten killed. Some love interest we have there. -Paste an unattractive snort here-.
Like every other character I’ve read about except for a select few, Cass lets her heart (and okay, hormones) take over her actions instead of using her mind. She suspects that Falco could be murderer, but instead of staying away from him and investigating whether or not he could have killed all those women, she hangs out with him, unprotected, listening to him like a lovesick puppy. What is it with young adult books these days that makes girls turn brainless just because a hot guy appears and pays attention to them?
Not to mention that the identity of the killer was so darn obvious that I knew who he was when we first met him. (Hint to all authors: If you want to write a murder mystery that works, please don’t make it so obvious when the main character first meets him. The main character meeting someone new in mystery novels after the situation is revealed is bad enough because it screams NEW CHARACTER ADDED. OBVIOUSLY SOMETHING IS UP -NUDGE NUDGE-.)
It’s such a shame that I didn’t enjoy reading Venom (I read up to page 148 and skimmed the rest) since the cover of the sequel, Belladonna, is breathtaking. I would buy Belladonna for the cover alone, but now that I’ve read Venom, I doubt it.