Book Title: Venom
Author: Fiona Paul
Number of Pages: 435
Genres: Fiction, Murder Mystery, Romance
Books like it: Falling Kingdoms, My Super Sweet Sixteenth Century
My favorite quote:
“You should be more careful, you know."
"Careful?" she managed to croak. "You're the one who knocked me over."
"I couldn't resist," he said, and he actually had the nerve to wink at her. "It's not often I get the chance to put my hands on such a beautiful woman.”
Brief Synopsis from Goodreads:
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.
Take a step back into the past as you enter the Renaissance Venice. Cassandra Caravello (aka Cass) is one of the richest maidens in the land, and she has the life of a dream come true, full of riches, and gowns, and jewels. But she feels like a caged bird, trapped inside a golden cage with no way out and no allowance for freedom.
“How terrible it must be to be a member of the noble class. So many rules. Such restraint. You must feel like a caged bird, battering its wings against the sides of its golden prison.”
Ever since she was a little girl, her fiancé was chosen for her: a man named Luca. Though he does have a way with words, and he does have the looks, the one thing he doesn't have is her heart. Then, something extraordinary and strange happens that changes Cass's life forever.
She finds that her late friend's coffin has been replaced by someone that is not her friend. It is a girl with an X carved across her chest. Terrified, Cass wants to go to the police, but a street painter named Falco, who runs into her at the graveyard, convinces her that the police are drunken men who cannot help and that they must do investigating on their own.
As Cass is spending more and more time with Falco, she finds herself falling in love with him, even though he is a commoner and she has already been promised to Luca. But both men have secrets that they are not telling her, and it makes her decision harder to choose the man who will have her heart forever.
As she and Falco set off on a hunt to find the killer, Cass finds out that sometimes investigating can be dangerous. Especially if the killer is determined not to be found.
I must admit, the only reason that I picked this book off the library table is because it the cover was gorgeous. After reading the first few chapters, I grew slightly bored, and the ending was a bit page turning/on the edge of your seat. This book was actually really good and was written well. I really only had two and a half problems with it, and these are them:
The first problem was that the synopsis was misleading. They say don't judge a book by it's cover, ha. Don't judge a book by it's synopsis on the back of the book, that's what I say. When I read the synopsis I thought it was going to be a thriller-chiller action packed novel, and that is why I picked it up. I was like, yes! A murder mystery! I'm not saying this isn't a murder mystery, because it is. All I'm saying is that I expected it to be A MURDER MYSTERY. Now, you're probably like, Sarah has gone nuts. Well, yes, I have gone nuts, actually, but that's not the point. Since this was a murder mystery, I expected it to be running from the crazy killer, adrenaline filled scenes. Nope. I actually thought that the whole point of this book wasn't even the mystery, it was a 15 year old girl falling in love with a guy. And we all know how much I love romance. (If you did not get that right then was sarcasm you are now allowed to slap your own forehead.)
The second problem with this book was that I had heard it all before. I mean, seriously. Forbidden romance. Love triangle. Commoner loves noble. Does that sound familiar? Love triangles are everywhere, and forbidden romance? Twilight. Matched. Delirium. Take your pick. And of course every where we look it is princess and the pauper. Fine, I will say that this book was unique because it combined murder and love, which is not a common combination. But Falco, most of all, bugged me because he was such a suck up Romeo. He was constantly telling Cass how beautiful she was. And flirting with her. I hate characters like that who go after women by hitting on them. So, Falco was my half problem of the two and a half problems with this book. Basically, I was rooting for Luca the whole book even though we didn't meet him until almost the very end.
Examples of Falco's attempt at charm:
“I know you want this as much as I do," he said. "You aren't going to report me. And even if you did, I'm inclined to think a night with you might well be worth imprisonment.”
“Come on," Falco said. "I'll see you safely home to your fancy sheets. I'd say you need your beauty sleep, but it looks like you've been getting plenty.”
Yes, I know what you are thinking, my favorite quote was one of those attempts at charm. But I laughed aloud at that one, and it still makes me laugh, and is therefore my favorite quote.
I am making this book sound terrible, but it was a pretty good read and I enjoyed it. My favorite character was Luca, and I am very excited to learn more about him in Belladonna, which is coming out next month. This was an average read but it had some good parts and even though I was very disappointed that it wasn't a thriller, I think that it was okay in the end and the mystery still had some good twists. I just really hope that Falco never appears in the series ever again.
Overall Review: 3 stars
Cautions for Parents: There are murders in this book, and some scenes that might be a little scary for some younger children. The kissing scenes are intense sometimes.