by Fiona Paul
To be published by Philomel
on October 30, 2012
Source: ARC swap with another blogger
My summary: Cassandra "Cass" Caravello is sixteen years old and betrothed to a boy she barely remembers. An orphan, she lives quietly with her aunt in a villa on San Domenico, an island near Venice. Cass visits the town graveyard one night after the funeral of her friend Livi, and is drawn into both a murder mystery and a secret romance. While in the graveyard, she meets cute (or scary-cute?) with Falco, an aspiring artist. The two of them decide to investigate the death of a girl whose body Cass found in Livi's crypt, a decision that will lead Cass everywhere from artists' studios to a masked ball. When more murdered girls turn up, Cass begins to realize that while she's been hiding something from her aunt and her fiance, other people she thought she could trust have been hiding things from her too.
My take: My favorite part of Venom was -- without question -- the book's setting. I've never been to Venice, so I loved the contrast of the quiet (fictional) island of San Domenico with the all that Venetian glamour and decadence.
Decadence. This book is filled with it, as we watch a sheltered, naive girl explore Venice by night. Much of the plot involves Cass sneaking out of the house so that she and Falco can pursue the mysterious killer, chasing clues from an upscale whorehouse to a masked ball to the studio of a real Renaissance artist, Tommaso Vecellio. (This leads to an artist's model scene that's reminiscent of Jack and Rose in Titanic.)
Yes, Falco is clearly up to something and anyone who has studied any art history will probably figure out what that is. Still, it was lots of fun to wait and see if Cass would catch on or if Falco would 'fess up. And, yes, anyone who has read much historical romance will also know that a girl who is betrothed to an absentee suitor can expect a knock on the door before the book is over! But again, it was pretty fun to sit back and wait for the fireworks. Even after I finished Venom, I wasn't sure exactly where this love triangle was headed. I'm totally #TeamLuca, BTW. Falco seems kind of sketchy, and I think Luca has hidden qualities we haven't even seen yet!
While Cass and Falco think they have found the person responsible for the girls' murders, there are still plenty of unanswered questions to be tackled in Belladonna, the next book in this series.
Recommended for fans of historical fiction, readers who don't mind love triangles, and Italiophiles!
If you've already read and loved Venom, try Poison by Sara Poole while you're waiting for book two. This (non-YA) book also takes place during the Renaissance and follows Francesca Giordano, a young Roman girl whose father mixed poisons for the Borgias. She seeks to avenge his death by taking over his position. It's Venom meets Grave Mercy -- good stuff!
I am totally Team Falco, though I would agree that there is more to Luca than you think. I'm so glad you liked it!ReplyDelete
Yeah, you have to give Luca a chance. We barely get to know him....Delete
Team Luca! What?! Luca seemed like he might be a decent guy after all but Falco is so much sexier and more fun! He lets Cass loose to be the girl she wants to be. And while Falco had a bit of a morally questionable job...he was just trying to make money for a better life! lol While it was wrong he didn't confess Luca was keeping something extremely dangerous from her that put her life at risk! I loved the setting! All that whale bone corset talk I can only imagine how uncomfortable that would be. I would love to make out on a gondola though!ReplyDelete
LOL -- my draft of the review said "Ok, Jen M, come after me" or something like that because I knew you'd be outraged.Delete
Time will tell.....
I honestly wasn't very interested in this book because Italian history isn't really my thing but you do such a good job at selling me on books Jen! I really want to meet both of these guys and sneak around San Domenico and Venice with Cass.ReplyDelete
It's a fun story!Delete
This book sounds great! Who doesn't love a good masked ball? True story- while reading your review my eye caught the word Italiophiles and thought it said Falliopians. It must be the Frankenstorm crazies.ReplyDelete
LOL -- yeah, that happens to me. I see or hear a word and my mind goes all kinds of weird places!Delete
I wasn't very interested in this book until recently when I have been seeing really great reviews popping up. Thanks for the fab review hon!!ReplyDelete
Stay dry over there! This wind is getting scary!Delete
Wow, I thought I'd be the only one pulling for Luca. :) But it does seem like there's more to him than Cass sees at first. I'm in total agreement with Falco being sorta sketchy, too. He knows she's betrothed but he'd willingly risk her virtue and her honor? Pass. And thanks for that rec...it sounds perfect for me! I LOVED Grave Mercy...there's just something about poisons. :PReplyDelete
I knew I liked you :)Delete
And, yeah, neither one of them seem THAT focused on the mystery.
The more I hear and see this book the more I want it! I've been yearning for this book since I first heard about it after BEA last year. I've haven't read many reviews where they were on Luca's side but I'll definitely have my eyes open about those two. Great review :)ReplyDelete
IDK, Falco just didn't do it for me......Delete
So yeah, this sounds like my kind of book: art themes, Italy, and sketchy, yet swoony, love interests:) I have heard many reviewers say that the best part of Venom is the setting and I read an interview w/ the author describing her laborious researching of it (I LOVE researching, it would have been a labor of love for me!)ReplyDelete
I definitely want to give this one a try soon:)
Let me know what you think!Delete
Ooh, I really loved Grave Mercy so I think this book will totally grab me. Thanks for sharing :)ReplyDelete
Poison is the book that was sort of Venom meets Grave Mercy. And Francesca is a spunkier heroine....Delete
This sounds good with the setting despite the fact I usually don't do historical.ReplyDelete
Glad you enjoyed!
Brandi from Blkosiner’s Book Blog
Thanks for stopping by!Delete
I'm super psyched for Venom and thanks for the recommendation. Poison sounds awesome. I may have to get that as my audiobook download this month!ReplyDelete
What? Kate and Kim didn't let you borrow it???Delete
I wasn't blown away by the blurb, but I really start to like the sound of this book! The setting is just perfect :) Great review!ReplyDelete
You love historical stuff, right? Try it out!Delete
What?! You're team Luca?! I thought he got a bit crazy at one point and that pretty much turned me off of him. He seemed sweet, but yet there's some hidden anger problems or something... at least that's what I felt. I loved Falco! I think he's a good person even if he had to do some bad stuff. I really loved this book! And yes, what a fabulous setting!ReplyDelete
Uh, crazy that his fiance was sneaking out at night with some sketchy artist dude, perhaps??? I could be wrong about Luca -- we'll see!Delete
Kidding! Thanks for stopping by.
Team Luca?!?!?!?! lol I do like him, but he is not Falco, who I AODORE! I love this book SOOOOOOOO much! I am really looking forward to the Belladonna cover reveal tomorrow. :)ReplyDelete
IDK, count me in the group who just don't get the Falco thing...Delete
Glad you enjoyed it!
I love art history so much, so Venom seems likes good fit for me. I've heard a lot about Falco, I'm already suspicious.ReplyDelete
Thanks for an informative review!
If you love art, definitely check this out! And let me know what you think of Falco!Delete
I am not a historical fiction fan but, this book really interests me and I have seen so many great reviews of this one, and they mystery aspect really intrigues me!ReplyDelete
Kristin @ Young Adult Book Haven
It's very readable historical fiction -- don't be worried!Delete
Venom sounds absolutely amazing! Thanks for the review. (I know this is a generic reply but I haven't read it so I don't have anything to add to the discussion >.>)ReplyDelete
Definitely checking Poison out! I haven't read many Renaissance books so it definitely piques my interest. (Plus I loved Grave Mercy!)
I do not mind "generic" replies -- all comments are appreciated!!!Delete
Loved Poison too -- in fact, I kept getting the titles mixed up since they sound sort of similar...
Aww man. A love triangle? I just hope its a good one! But aside from that, Venom does sound really good! I love a good murder mystery! :)ReplyDelete
Lovely review, not a fan of triangles..but want to read it non the less..since i love historical fiction.ReplyDelete