Series: Secrets of the Eternal Rose #1
Published by Penguin on 2012-10-30
Genres: Historical, Love & Romance, Mysteries & Detective Stories, Young Adult
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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.
Going into this book I didn’t really know anything except that lots of people loved it, there was a guy named Falco, and it was some sort of murder mystery. I wish I had known how long the book would feel or that it would take me more than a week just to finish. I had been so excited to read it but it just didn’t do much for me. There was a lot about this book that annoyed me. I wasn’t a fan of Cassandra, the main character. The writing was good but also dragged a bit in places. And there was a love triangle. Ugh. But there were moments of romance and suspense and mystery that I really enjoyed. Overall, however, Venom was just okay for me.
I think the thing that annoyed me most about this book was the love triangle. I was good when Falco was around and when Cass would go back and forth with Falco, that I understood. But when Luca shows up and brings the love triangle up front, I just started rolling my eyes. The more I read the harder it seems to be for me to accept love triangles. Whether they are true triangles where the MC has actual feelings for both or if there is just something tying them all together or whatever, I’m getting less and less patient and understanding with them. They must really make me believe that there is a reason for the MC to feel for both interests and this one just didn’t work for me. If anything at all with this triangle, I would lean more toward Luca than Falco. I just wasn’t that drawn to Falco and didn’t really believe either of their feelings for each other would be something lasting. But I’m pretty sure that isn’t the popular feeling. So proceed with caution, if love triangles drive you insane, this might not be the book for you.
Along the same lines as the love triangle, I wasn’t a huge fan of any of the characters. Cass was a little wishy-washy and the boys treated her like she could do nothing on her own and couldn’t be trusted with information. I know this is historical fiction and women were treated this way then, but regardless, this is fiction and I want an MC that’s going to take action and kick some butt. I want an MC that feels confident in her choices and isn’t swayed by whatever boy might be standing next to her. And that’s the sort of feeling I got from Cass.
As far as the writing goes, it was really good. It was descriptive and suspenseful and beautiful and definitely romantic in places. It gave me a sort of Daughter of Smoke and Bones feeling. But it also dragged a bit for me, mostly in the middle when Cass was waffling on her feelings for Falco and the mystery seemed to stall a bit and I wasn’t exactly sure why we cared about what was going on. I wanted more action and to be swept away in emotions but it just wasn’t there for me. I would definitely read books by this author again, though I think I will skip the rest of this series.
Overall, Venom was only okay for me. I probably won’t continue with the series unless I hear some amazing things about Belladonna. But otherwise, I’ll wait to check out her contemporary fiction The Art of Lainey that comes out in May 2014. I just don’t think I can continue with the love triangle and reading about characters that I just don’t really care about. I will say that many people love this book and I think that if you are a fan of historical fiction, enjoy descriptive writing that focuses on setting, and can handle a love triangle, you might really enjoy this book.