History, romance, murder, intrigue, and art collide in the YA thriller Venom by Fiona Paul — a tawdry romp through Renaissance-era Venice, Italy.
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.
While protagonist Cass may ignorantly suspect the work of vampires or demons when she discovers a murder, Venom refreshingly steers away from the paranormal in this deliciously scandalous thrill-ride through historical Venice.
Paul has clearly done her homework for her novel. Venom is packed with details about the world of Renaissance-era Venice — from the city’s landscape and architecture, to the detailed nuances of the characters’ clothing and accessories. (“Chopines” sound even more painful than stilettos!)
Paul also excellently layers her murder-thriller with an unfolding forbidden romance and other puzzling mysteries. Frustratingly, much of this mystery is left unresolved — and while Venom is the first in a series, I wish there had been more for me to sink my teeth into. By the end, I felt a little disappointed and uncertain whether to continue when the next book comes out.
Still, if history, romance, and intrigue are your cup of tea, then grab a mug and settle down with Venom— in stores Tuesday, October 30th.