Starling by Fiona Paul | Book Review

Starling by Fiona Paul | Book ReviewStarling by Fiona Paul
Series: Secrets Of The Eternal Rose #3
Published by Penguin on 2014-03-20
Genres: Europe, Love & Romance, Mysteries & Detective Stories, People & Places, Young Adult
Pages: 336
Format: ARC
Source: Gifted
Buy on Amazon

In the stunning conclusion to the Secrets of the Eternal Rose tirlogy, there is nothing more dangerous that a secret closely kept... Cass and Luca are fugitives, on the run from the law and the deadly Order of the Eternal Rose. As they separate to pursue the only evidence that could save them, their worlds—and their romance—are torn apart by spiteful friends and murderous enemies. When Cass finds herself ensnared in the Order’s twisted plot, Falco emerges once again as her only hope for freedom. But it turns out Luca has a shocking scheme of his own. From ancient mercenaries to sly magicians, from clever courtesans to vengeful killers, no one can be trusted. In the breathtaking conclusion to the Secrets of the Eternal Rose trilogy, Cass must confront the Order and once and for all decide her destiny. Who will fly beside her when she finally finds her wings? This historical romantic thriller is perfect for fans of Philippa Gregory's The Other Boleyn Girl, Anna Godberson's The Luxe, and Libba Bray's A Great and Terrible Beauty and The Diviners.

I feel like busting into song, more specifically that So Hard To Say Goodbye song by Boys II Men. Seeing as how most of you who read this are around my age, I know that you will know the song and the lyrics and how it totally speaks truth to power. And right now, that song is representing my feelings for Starling by Fiona Paul, the last book in her Secrets Of The Eternal Rose trilogy. It seems like just yesterday I was clamoring for a copy of Venom, the first book in the trilogy, back when it still had that cover with the awesome mask on it. I mean, don’t get me wrong, I don’t hate the new covers at all, but that old cover just really got my attention. Anyways, enough about covers. I know you’re hear because you want to know how Starling lives up to the rest of the series and how it wraps everything up.

NOTE: THERE ARE TOTALLY GOING TO BE SPOILERS WITH THE PLOT, you see, this is the third and final book of the series and I want to talk about what happens in the third book and I definitely cannot do that without spoiling the first two books. You have been warned, friends. Okay, so this book, Starling begins right after Cass has busted Luca out of prison and they’ve escaped from the clutches of Belladonna and her Order Of The Eternal Rose, the people trying to figure immortality out by searching for the mysterious fifth humor. So yeah, Cass comes back home with Luca only to discover that Aunt Agnes is dead. Which sucks. Sorry that’s totally not a spoiler because it happens in like the first twenty pages. In order to clear their names and set things to rights, Cass and Luca must take down the Order. To do this, they have to find the Book Of The Eternal Rose and leak it to someone in power, so that all listed in the book get investigated. Okay, also remember Falco? The other leg to the triangle of love? He makes a few cameo appearances too.

YOU GUYS YOU GUYS I AM REALLY GOING TO MISS CASS, so much so that I needed to type all of that in caps, that’s how much I’ll miss her. She’s such a cool main character. Like, she doesn’t treat the help badly. She’s discovering her um, womanly charms. She is bold. She is occasionally kind. She really cares deeply for the people in her life and risks everything to save them. She can be blind to her privilege and status, yet she gets called out on this and it is glorious. Also, she really loves her cat named Slipper and even though I am not a cat person, I am 100% into people who are great pet owners, and she is a great pet owner. Also, over the course of these three books we actually see Cass mature and come of age and go from make terrible life choices to good life choices and you know, pausing for thought and consideration. I kind of really love that.

Of course the thing that really drew me into Starling and this series and originally Venom was the promise of ROMANCE. Like, yo you cannot look at the covers and not think, hey this is totally going to be a kissing book. So anyways, the love triangle consists of brooding artist Falco who is intense to like level 10 and Luca who is Cass’s fiancé and who is steady and solid. I will tell you that there is kissing and maybe even a wedding. The promise of romance is totally fulfilled with this book and I am like 100% satisfied with the conclusion. Depending on your team for the triangle, you might be satisfied too. Even if you chose the losing team, the way that Cass and Fiona Paul explain why she makes that choice is very sensible and right and just, perfect.

I’ve said it before and I will say it again, Fiona Paul does a fantastic job of painting historical Italy. She draws Venice in such a way that you can’t help but be pulled in by the gondolas. Seriously, it’s all about the gondolas. She has the whole world building packages. There’s society with all it’s intricate expectations and rules. There’s the actual place and setting itself, and yes when I read it, I felt like I was there. There’s some “magic” in that people think that Cass’s blood will make them immortal. I love it.

Friends, I really, really love this trilogy and could flail about all day when telling you how much I love it and how into pretty much everything about it I am. Instead though, I am going to say goodbye to Cass, Luca, and Falco and absolutely insist you read this last book, Starling because it wraps everything up perfectly. No bizarre, loose, dangling threads. Just a perfect, all encompassing ending, the way I like it.

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April is in her 30s and created Good Books And Good Wine. She works for a non-profit. April always has a book on hand. In her free time she can be found binge watching The Office with her husband and toddler, spending way too much time on Pinterest or exploring her neighborhood.
About April (Books&Wine)

April is in her 30s and created Good Books And Good Wine. She works for a non-profit. April always has a book on hand. In her free time she can be found binge watching The Office with her husband and toddler, spending way too much time on Pinterest or exploring her neighborhood.


  1. I absolutely LOVED Venom (it was such a gorgeous book – and yes, I agree with you about the covers as well! I wished we could see what they would have done with the covers for Belladonna and Starling) and I’m SO glad to hear that Starling was a perfectly satisfying ending to the trilogy.

    I think that’s my greatest fear with series (especially love triangles) that they won’t end in a way that feels… complete? I really want that feeling of resolution, and so often they fall short so I kind of get scared away from continuing a series and that’s exactly what happened to me after Venom despite my love and adoration.

    Brenna from Esther’s Ever After

  2. gah I can’t read this review because I do plan on getting to this series eventually. Historical isn’t usually my thing (but I’m reading Brazen right now and omg so good), but I love the author and apparently Art of Lainey is amaaaazing. I obviously I trust that this will be too.