Thursday, November 1, 2012

Venom by Fiona Paul

Venom by Fiona Paul
Release Date – October 30, 2012
Publisher Website –  Philomel/Penguin
Publisher Social Media -  Twitter
Pages - 432 pages
My Rating- 4/5
**obtained from publisher via BEA for an honest review**

Here is the Goodreads synopsis
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.
Romance, a historical setting, fabulous masquerades and mystery. What more could you look for? Venom weaves these together to create a highly readable, and engaging story.

Rich, vibrant descriptions bring the setting to life. The lapping water, the smells, and even the fabrics all play a part in creating the scene. Fiona Paul’s strength is how much research went into getting the little details right, and as a result is able to transport the reader into the story.

Cassandra is a privileged young woman. A little naive, and sheltered when she first appears, but her character is quick to change. She ends up having a lot of drive, and is very curious. She is also quite intelligent and proves herself much more capable that she first appears.

Falco, the charming and mysterious artist that Cass meets is certainly enthralling. His motivations are never clear, and this makes him a captivating. Should we trust him? Should Cass? These questions kept me up late into the night turning the pages. His influence on Cass opens a whole new world to her, and it’s one she may not want to leave behind.

The other man in Cassandra’s life, her finance, Luca  is equally captivating. I immediately wanted to know more about him. He seems loyal, and much more progressive in his treatment of women than other males of that time. He, like everyone, has his own secrets, and I look forward to see more of them unravel.

The romance in this novel is lushly sensual. There are some blush worthy scenes, and quite racy descriptions. The attraction between the characters is instantaneous, but it is describe as such. Love doesn’t come into the picture, and instead we get to see a courtship take place. A gradual build of feelings that stems from a sexual attraction.

Creepy, and at times shiver inducing, the atmosphere is filled with chills. The set up of the murders, and the mysterious Eternal Rose society is wonderful paced. The clues are dropped exactly when they need to in order to progress the plot and keep the tension taunt. We learn enough to satisfy and yet enough is held back to make us eagerly await the sequel.

A complex mystery infused with realism, sexy chemistry and captivating characters make for an excellent start to a promising trilogy. The mysteries left to unravel will keep my head spinning until I get my hands on the second installment. Those who love a well researched novel will enjoy this immensely.


  1. I can't even begin to tell you excited I am for this book. It sounds SO FREAKING GOOD! I am all about the sexy chemistry, hehe. Great review, Kathy!

    Jess @ Gone with the Words - Check out my latest post: Review: Days of Blood & Starlight by Laini Taylor

  2. Ooh, this sounds good, I'll have to look out for it.

  3. Thanks for the lovely review Kathy. I remember meeting you BEA week thinking "I wonder if she read Venom yet? Oh God, she didn't mention it. Oh no, she must have hated it."

    So glad you didn't hate it :) And thanks again for being one of my guest bloggers.

  4. me wantz me wantz . gr8 review


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