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!