You know you are TOTALLY into a book where you remain in the parking lot of a book store before an event so you can read the last 20 pages of your book before going in and becoming enticed by brand NEW books. Y’all, Venom by Fiona Paul was a book that I unabashedly loved. Look, I’ve seen some negative reviews and you can judge the hell out of me, but I freakin am not ashamed of my LOVE for Venom. For reals, this book is longer than 400 pages but I inhaled it and was caught up in the Venetian setting and oh my god THE DRAMA!
Venom opens on a rather somber note. Cassandra Caravello is attending the funeral of her young friend. After the funeral, Cassandra goes to the graveyard to say goodbye and that is when she realizes her friend’s body is missing. HOLY CRAP YOU GUYS IT HAS BEEN REPLACED WITH A COURTESAN’S BODY! And so, Cassandra must unravel why the heck another body is there while trying to avoid the crosshairs of the courtesan’s murderer AND ALSO navigate matters of the heart. You see, she’s leading a privileged lifestyle with servants and ball gowns and she’s engaged to this fabulously wealthy, studious guy named Luca who is hanging out in France. Cass meets this artist named Falco by chance, and you guys IT IS INTENSE IN TEN CITIES INTENSE between them.
Straight up, I liked Cassandra and did not find her insufferable at all. Girl has so much on her plate, even though she has fancy dresses, she still has to deal with a murderer. She’s so brave, too. Like, she sneaks out at night behind her aunt’s back. She comes up with excuses so she can investigate the murder. But she’s not that idiot who goes traipsing around dark hallways alone, except for just once but for good reason. Plus, Cassandra is self-sacrificing and as a selfish individual, I can recognize and admire that in a character. Like, there is OBVIOUS attraction and ugh, she can’t act on it because it’ll mess up the lives of those around her AND I JUST CAN’T RIGHT NOW WITH THE EMOTIONS.
If it wasn’t totally weird to clap over random things, I would be clapping my freakin hands off over the setting. Venom takes place in Renaissance era Venice, which makes me want to say YES PLEASE MORE OF THIS SETTING I AM SICK OF ENGLAND AND WANT THE RENAISSANCE ITALY. Can we make this a thing? Where this setting is used more. Like, there are gondolas and canals and art and graveyards and it is vivid and my imagination is all let’s do some cartwheels BECAUSE THIS IS AN AWESOME WORLD TO PICTURE. I really thought Fiona Paul just killed it with the world building and providing a sense of place.
Y’all, Venom is a tall drink of water. I mean, it has a romance that I was actually quite pleased with. I wasn’t like ugh, these silly teens and their silly raging hormones. Instead I was like, RAGE ON HORMONES, RAGE AGAINST THE DYING OF THE LIGHT ahahahaha. As I said above, Cassandra and the poor artist boy Falco have chemistry. And they engage in a fair amount of kissing and I am like OH HEY MORE KISSES THAN MOST BOOKS, DON’T MIND IF I DO. And then there’s a forbidden aspect. And then a potential love triangle that is actually not very annoying. And you guys there are certain pages where if you open up to them, you better get a towel for the steam that comes off the pages. FOR REAL.
If you want to read a book that passes at a glacial pace, then don’t read Venom. If you want to be bored out of your skull, don’t read Venom. However, if you are all about reading books that draw you in from the first page and don’t let you go, even when you are in the inconvenient place of the parking lot THEN read Venom. For reals, it boggles my mind how this book took me pretty much zero hours to read despite being kind of thick compared to 3-4 days for a book that is under 230 pages.
Straight up, I freakin loved Venom and am not afraid to declare my love and my ardor for this book. Y’all, I am chomping at the bit for the sequel, Belladonna and I might as well wave my arms around to further illustrate my excitement. I guess it all boils down to my taste, and you can judge me all you want but Venom rocked my world and was such a fantastic experience and read for me.
Disclosure: Received as a part of the Breathless Reads slipcase that I won from the utterly fabulous and superb Oblong Books!
Other reviews of Venom by Fiona Paul:
365 Days Of Reading – “Venom has everything I want in a historical novel”
The Housework Can Wait – “Much as I really wanted to love this book, I didn’t”