Venom by Fiona Paul
Release Date: October 30, 2012
Genre: YA Historical Romance/Mystery
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Released today! Since I posted this 5 months ago I'm re-posting for the release day!
I must admit it took me a little while to get into this book. It is told in third person which made it difficult for me to connect with Cass at first. Also the first scene is a funeral so it was sad and slow. But have no fear because soon enough I met Falco and I was hooked! Cass just lost a close friend and at night she likes to walk around the graveyard. Weird, yes, but it is her way to have a little freedom and alone time, plus it's located right behind her house. She visits her friend's crypt and notices that her friend's body is gone and replaced with a courtesan girl. Cass plans to run to tell the Guard but on the way she runs into Falco again.
Falco oozes charisma and charm right off the pages. Plan to swoon all over yourself. The first line he spoke before I even knew his name and I was in love. Falco talks Cass out of going to the Guard because they are corrupt and useless. Falco suggests that they team up and investigate the murder themselves. Cass agrees wanting to know where her friend's body is and the other part of her wanting the excuse to see Falco again. They ended up making a very hilarious pair of spies. Each night they have a different plan of where to go and how to investigate. One night Cass dresses up as a prostitute and they go to a few of the prostitute houses to find out who the murdered girl is. That was not something Cass normally saw. Another night they attend a masked ball. They have amazing chemistry. Falco teases Cass a bit but you can feel how much he admires her. Falco brings out her free spirit that you can feel her wanting to release. When Falco wasn't on the page I was skimming ahead dying to know when Cass would see him again and Cass was always wondering the same thing.
I am not a historical reader at all but I loved the setting of this one. I was drawn to this book based on the fact that it took place in Renaissance Venice and I loved it! The descriptions were beautiful and realistic and I could always picture myself inside the book. I still cringe thinking about the whale bones and crazy contraptions Cass wore. I should also admit I didn't know what half of the things she wore were. I would have never been able to live in those times although I badly wanted to hop on a gondola with Falco and just ride around in the dark making out. lol I loved that Cass slowly opened up and rebelled. She slowly started to be who she wanted, even ripped off the whale bones at one point, but she also kept pulling back feeling an obligation to her aunt. I found her aunt to be rude but since she is all the family Cass has left, Cass doesn't want to disappoint her.
I wanted to report back that there isn't a love triangle but I'm afraid there is. Cass does have a fiancé but it is someone who she is promised to, not someone she picked for herself. She hasn't seen Luca in three years since he went off to school but he eventually shows. Luca was a jerk at first but then later I felt sorry for him. I won't get much more into him because he is a bit spoilery. I felt like he handled things terribly and kept lies that put Cass at risk. Not that Falco didn't have a few secrets but I just thought Luca should have came clean with some things sooner. Not to mention his horridly boring supposed love letters. I think he does care for Cass but I felt nothing between them but Cass feels a responsibility to keep their agreement. It weighs heavily on her mind throughout the story but seriously if she doesn't end up with Falco I'm going to beat my book to death with a whale bone.
Which brings me to the ending that was very open. While the murderer is revealed, there is a whole big other conspiracy going on that we must wait to learn more about in the next book. The mystery was still interesting enough and as I said I really loved watching Cass and Falco work to uncover it. I am happy that the romance was such a large part of the book because it was so fantastic. I was kind of hoping for something more to be wrapped up since it was a somewhat long book at about 430 pages but I'll try to wait patiently. Other than that I absolutely loved the story...okay I admit mostly I loved Falco ;-) But if you need more than just him to read then that is okay too because the mystery is fun and the historical parts are fascinating as well.
"How terrible it must be to be a member of the noble class. So many
rules. Such restraint. You must feel like a caged bird, battering its
wings against the sides of its golden prison."
"So fierce," Falco murmured, holding out a hand to help Cass to her
feet. "I'm beginning to enjoy picking you up off the ground."
"I know you want this as much as I do," he said. "You aren't going to
report me. And even if you did, I'm inclined to think a night with you
might well be worth imprisonment."