Monday, February 25, 2013

Fighting Against Your Circumstance

"Madness weakens the mind
and disease weakens the body,
but nothing destroys the spirit
like the loss of true love."
--Fiona Paul, Venom

Genre: YA Historical Fiction/Mystery
Publisher: Philomel, 432 pages
Publication Date: October 30th, 2012

Goodreads Description

Cassandra Caravello is one of Renaissance Venice’s lucky elite: with elegant gowns, sparkling jewels, her own lady’s maid, and a wealthy fiancé, she has everything a girl could desire. Yet ever since her parents’ death, Cassandra has felt trapped, alone in a city of water, where the dark and labyrinthine canals whisper of escape.

When Cass stumbles upon a murdered woman—practically in her own backyard—she’s drawn into a dangerous world of courtesans, killers, and secret societies. Soon, she finds herself falling for Falco, a mysterious artist with a mischievous grin... and a spectacular skill for trouble. Can Cassandra find the murderer, before he finds her? And will she stay true to her fiancé, or succumb to her uncontrollable feelings for Falco?

My Thoughts

After reading the synopsis of what Venom was about I knew I wanted to read it immediately. Venice? Renaissance Venice?! Seriously?!, okay! Like I needed more to go off of than that. And the cover? Hello, masquerade ball!! When I was in Venice I bought a handmade mask and it is one of the most beautiful things I have ever bought. Seriously. Obsessed with it. And Venice is one of my all-time favorite cities in the world. Anways. 

The writing of this novel is perfect. I could see Venice, feel Venice...smell Venice...not the best at some parts but still, the descriptions are amazing. If you've been there or not, after reading this book you feel like you have. I could picture the canals and the gondolas and the Grande Canal...I had a bunch of warm fuzzies. So  many good memories of the amazingly beautiful city! And the visualization of the dresses?! I die. I, like Madalena, love pretty things. So reading about the different dresses and jewel was equally amazing. I love historical fiction and all the corsets and bindings and stockings. I just ador reading about this stuff.

I also love reading about women who strive to break beyond the constrictions of what is "proper" society. The comparison of Cassandra's life to a bird in a cage was equally honest and raw as it was beautiful. It was just too perfect of an analogy. I could feel Cass' suffocation at the life in front of her and wanting to make her own choices. I cannot imagine living a life where everything is dictated for me and literally having no way out. I picture that scene in Titanic where Rose says she feels like she's standing in the middle of a crowded room screaming with nobody even caring. I felt like Cass was thinking the same thing...

...but then she meets Falco. An artist. A peasant. A boy. A boy who you know inevitably steals her heart. I was itching for more scenes of them together. Their secret late nights, the desire to solve the mystery...oh yeah, there is a mystery in there isn't there? I was distracted by the boys and the dresses and the canals. My bad. So girls are mysteriously dying in the city with big X's marked into their chests. Falco and Cass deem it their mission to try and find out who is behind this. These scenes are so entertaining, I just loved them. 

There is so much more that happens in this book I have only cracked the surface. But I cannot say any more because I do not want to ruin any part of the plot if you have not read it. But I will say this. The plot continues to turn. Characters are always in question. I start suspecting one person KNOWING that I'm right but then oh, wait, more is revealed and I'm back to square one. I love that the reader is part of the mystery as well and trying to figure out the killer right along with Cass. I am usually so good at figuring out the villain before it is revealed but this book had me guessing until the very end...and then some after...Where is Belladonna?!

I would definitely recommend if you love reading about different cities, different time periods, mysterious killers that go bump in the night, or pretty dresses :) And just for fun, I've also included some pics from my time in Venice :)


  1. I literally just finished Venom, and I loved it. Great review; you really captured what was amazing about this book! The pictures are so pretty!

    Annie :)

  2. Oh, I love your pictures! So glad the descriptive passages brought Venice back to you :) Thanks for the review. I'll be starting a contest to win an ARC of the sequel on March 1st on my blog. Maybe I'll see you there!

    1. Oh you are so welcome!! I loved it and I cannot wait for Belladonna!! I will definitely check out your blog! Eep! :)

  3. "...oh yeah, there is a mystery in there isn't there? I was distracted by the boys and the dresses and the canals. My bad" hahah! I imagine I will have the same reaction. In fact most of your thoughts and feelings for this book sound eerily similar to experiences I have had! I loves stories with a rich setting as you've described. Can't wait to pick this one up!

    1. Nice! Great minds think alike! I hope you enjoy it when you get to it! :)

  4. This book was on my FALL TBR. I don't even know why I haven't read it yet, because it sounds so intense and creepy and oh, hi VENICE. (Still haven't been, still desperate to go, LOVED your pics.) So this needs to be read soon. It sounds like just my type of book!


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