Venom by Fiona Paul | Review

Venom by Fiona PaulVenom by Fiona Paul


October 30, 2012

Series: Book one in the Secrets of the Eternal Rose trilogy

You all know that I’m not the biggest fan of historical fiction. I think it has something to do with the fact that history class at school has never been much of a success or exciting environment in general, which leads to my boredom in YA historical books. But somewhere along the way, I learned that I do like historical fiction– only the European kind. Especially the Renaissance time period. So of course, seeing Venom by Fiona Paul, I had to get my hands on it. Luckily, this book was perfect for me: with an incredibly vivid setting of Venice, an unpredictable murder mystery, and a heart-stopping romance, Venom turned out to be a thrilling read that I couldn’t put down.

The strongest part for me in this beautifully written novel was the setting: Venice. It was so easy to lose myself in the city that Paul so eloquently illustrated. I could feel myself in the grungy alleyways, dark rivers, and even in the cozy room of Cass’s villa. I was immersed in the world and this helped keep me captivated with the story, as well as the feeling of being connected to it. Perhaps it was the ball gowns and lace dresses, but I think that Paul really captured the time period really well and the general feel of the water canals in Venice.

From the beginning, Cass, the main character, knows that she is already engaged to Luca, a boy she knew since she was a child. Later on as the story progresses, Cass meets a new character, whom she slowly but surely falls in love with. I think that this particular romance was incredibly sweet, if not a little mysterious, since Cass does suspect this boy to be the murderer at one point. I have to mention the love triangle– but wait! The love triangle isn’t what you think; the love triangle appears somewhat later in the book, and it wasn’t annoying in any way. Essentially, the romance was done very adequately.

As previously mentioned, this story is predominantly about a murder mystery. The way that Paul weaved it in with everything else was really quite compelling because the setting and mood were very near perfect for a mystery. Personally, the mystery was unpredictable and page-turning. Clues were dropped frequently, but the way Cass doubts from people to people makes the reader wonder along with her. The uncertainty of the murder mystery added to the already thrilling novel for sure.

So clearly, I proved myself very wrong: I can love a historical fiction novel. Venom had a unique mix of genres that I haven’t stumbled upon until now, and it was an irresistible bunch: romance and mystery, all set in Venice. Not only was this a remarkable story in itself, the conclusion was great as well, leaving the readers with questions for book two, but also with some answers, well, answered. Overall, I highly enjoyed Venom and recommend it to romance junkies, mystery nerds, Renaissance lovers, or all of the above!

rating system 4 out of 5


7 thoughts on “Venom by Fiona Paul | Review”

  1. I completely agree, I'm not very keen on historical fiction at all but I have to say. The cover really pulls me in. I'm a sucker for masquerade masks and vintage looking covers. So I think this is right up my street. Venice sounds so beautiful as well, if its written as good as you said. Lovely review, Jen! 🙂


  2. I would read this one just because it's set in Venice Jen! What a cool city to have as the setting for a murder mystery – I can see all the canals and alleyways playing a part in the overall tone. Glad you said the love triangle isn't of the annoying variety, my patience for love triangles is at an all time low, but I can deal with them if they're well executed. So glad you enjoyed this one, I can't wait to give it a try!


  3. JEN! I seem to have been out of the loop on your moving to your own blog – though I feel as if I knew and just forgot to add your new blog to my blog roll and then my busy schedule made me completely forget? Either way, I'm so sorry to have been missing your reviews all this time! I'm really glad you loved VENOM, though. I've heard mixed reviews and am not sure it's for me, but I love the covers on this series. I hope Book 2 is just as good, if not better, for you. Lovely review, Jen!(:



    Yeah, that was just a whole lot of exclamation points. So happy you liked it as much as I did! Yay!
    xx willa (ramble ramble ramble) 🙂


  5. I always think that I'm not too keen on historical fiction either, but I actually end up loving most of the books that I try. I've read very few set during the Renaissance era, though. I love the sound of a Venice setting! I'm glad this turned out to be a pleasant surprise for you, and I can't wait to read it myself. Lovely review, lovely Jen! 🙂


  6. Oh, I do so love the Renaissance Period, as well! Though I can't say I read many books set in that time.So that's definitely a plus in this book's favour! I also love that it's a really well done mystery because it's been a while since I read one of those in YA! So glad this excursion outside your comfort zone into histfic went well for you, Jen! Very nice review.


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