From the moment I first heard about Venom by Fiona Paul, I had a feeling I would like it. The premise seemed to carry all the things that I find attractive in a book: a strong main female character, a bit of intrigue and mystery, a foreign historical location. Oh, and of course, a cute mysterious boy as well. I mean, with things like that, how can you go wrong? Well…you can as has been proven before but luckily for me this time it didn’t go wrong. It went oh so right!
From the beginning, I enjoyed seeing things through the eyes of the main character Cassandra Caravello, or Cass as she is usually referred to. Cass is a smart character albeit a bit spoiled and naive at times due to her upbringing. She refuses to be a push over, and I’m really all for that especially in a young adult novel notably when there is room to grow. She is a girl who on the outside appears as if she has everything. She is from the elite part of the Venice society during the Renaissance era but, she finds herself attracted to the things that she knows that she shouldn’t be. Things like mystery and intrigue and danger. Oh, and artists! There is this artist named Falco, who Cass winds up teaming up with to find a murderer, and the attraction between them is INTENSE! And of course a hint of danger always pushes intense feelings and attractions to the limit. AHH! I was a fan of this. There is also another boy named Luca who Cass hasn’t seen in years but to whom she is promised to, and when he returns to Venice things get more than a little bit interesting. So many feelings!
Venom is intense and fast paced and so beautifully written. It starts off with a bang and refuses to give up! The scenery is descriptive to a point where you can imagine the scene but it doesn’t feel like it is over powering it. You are literally transported into this world of secrets and mysteries, courtesans and killers, and the elite and the artists. Yes, some of it may be a touch in accurate I understand but, I still enjoyed it. Like I really wanted to go back in time and go visit the places that were being described. I loved the feelings that this book gave me, and the experience which it took me on.
“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.”
I loved, loved, LOVED the class distinctions in this book. They were drawn out in a way that easily understood by the reader but not thrown in your face in an overdone manner. The comparisons that were made between the way that Cass was used to living her life, and the way that Falco was forced to live his made their relationship even more appealing to me. I liked the way that this brought up Cass’s narrow minded outlook on the lives outside of the one she was used to because it helped formulate some growth for the character. Also, the fact that Cass always felt like there was something missing from her life as a member of the elite class was intriguing to me as a reader as well. I know I’m not necessarily voicing my opinion right regarding this (I honestly can’t figure out the words to say) but I did want to bring it up because I felt that it was important to me, and important to the story as well.
Overall, Venom was a very enjoyable read that refused to let me down. I’m very interested to see what will happen next in this trilogy. I honestly am not quite sure where Fiona Paul may take us after Venom but I cannot wait to find out. I truly want to continue with the story of Cassandra Caravello and learn more about the secrets of the hidden worlds of the Renaissance.
Disclosure: Received ARC from BEA 2012
Other reviews of Venom by Fiona Paul:
Forever 17 Books: “Beautifully seductive and enchanting, Venom by far surpassed my expectations…”
The Book Smuggler’s: “Unfortunately, Venom was an overall tasteless experience…”