Author: Fiona Paul
Date of Publication: October 30, 2012
Formats Available: Hardcover, Paperback, E-Book
Buy This Book: Amazon
Synopsis: 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?
Beauty, love, romance, and mystery weave together in a stunning novel that’s as seductive and surprising as the city of Venice itself.
After seeing the high reviews and praise for Venom I was really excited to give this Venice murder mystery a try. Unfortunately while this novel wasn't necessarily awful I didn't find myself loving it nearly as much as I thought I would. Not bad, but amateurish, writing and characters filled the pages and made it difficult for me to become immersed in the novel.
I will say that Paul has potential, even though I didn't particularly like this novel I believe that in time she may have the ability to write a great story. The plot as a whole was interesting and well thought out and there were moments when I really did enjoy Venom, however there were far more moments when I was bored or annoyed by the story.
Cass was an annoying and whiny heroine; she constantly threw herself into dangerous situations with dangerous people and then whined about it. Similarly Falco was one of the most boring love interest's I've ever read about. He had a flat personality and other than being part of some sketchy situations he never really did anything interesting. Both of them threw common sense to the wind and blundered around the entire novel figuring out a mystery that would have been solved much faster with a little communication.
Even though the Venice setting was an interesting idea it just didn't quite work out. The dialogue felt much too modern for the historical-esqe setting and other than the occasional Italian word it was easy to forget where the story was set. Even though the idea behind the novel was interesting I found myself bored with the story, toward the end of the novel things picked up a bit but didn't redeem the novel enough for me to feel inclined to pick up the next one.
While Venom is by no means a bad novel it isn't a great one either. Fiona Paul definitely has the potential to write a good novel and maybe with more practice future series by her may be worth checking out. However, fans of mystery may want to skip this series or wait for the library to obtain a copy of this novel.