Secrets of the Eternal Rose

I believe it’s time for some reviews! I am really excited for the third book in the Secrets of the Eternal Rose by Fiona Paul so I thought I’d post my reviews for the previous two books, Venom and Belladonna.

Venom [read in January 2013]
4.5/5!
It’s been over a year since I read this book, but I still think about it fairly often. For a good reason: I really, really enjoyed this book! Venom was pretty much everything I wanted it to be. At the time of reading, I hadn’t read any YA for quite a while and this book had such a nice, refreshing concept in the world of young adult books that is riddled with paranormal fiction. 
Set in Renaissance Venice and focusing on 15 year old Cass, Venom has a few murders, some romance, an historical setting and a murderer on the loose, with Cass being the next possible victim. We’re introduced to Cass’s fiancé Luca whom she has been betrothed to since she was a small child. However, Cass’s main love interest throughout the book is the artist in training, Falco, who introduces Cass to the world of the commoners of Venice. Cass who is from a noble family is enthralled with Falco and the exciting parts of the city he takes her to that she would never see otherwise. 
I loved the time in which Venom was set and loved the mystery of the story. I didn’t guess who the killer was until the end and I got to a point where I just couldn’t put the book down, which is always nice There were a few great, unexpected twists at the end which only added to the excitement. My only issue was that I I didn’t particularly see the appeal in Falco, and much preferred Cass’s betrothed fiancé, Luca. 
When I finished Venom I really didn’t know how I would wait six months until the second book, especially as it ended on a great cliffhanger.

Belladonna [read in November 2013]

3.5/5!

As previously mentioned, I really enjoyed the first book in this series, Venom and was VERY excited to read the second installment. This book didn’t grab me the same way Venom did though. It took me a lot longer to get into this book and consequently, a lot longer to finish reading it. Belladonna was a good 100 or so pages shorter than Venom but it took me until about halfway through the book until I started enjoying it as much as I did Venom. However, once the pace did pick up, I devoured the second half and I’m super excited to read the third and final book in this series. What I particularly liked about Belladonna was the notable absence of Falco. As mentioned in my review of Venom I really didn’t like Falco too much, which is awkward as he is meant to be the main love interest and is therefore mentioned a LOT. Luca was much more prominent in this book, which was great. 

Following on from the ending of Venom, Belladonna starts off once again, in Venice. However, it’s not too long until Cass and her entourage are on their way to Florence. This is a nice change of scenery, but I think I preferred Venom‘s Venetian setting. Luca is arrested very early on in the book (seriously, about 10 pages in), so the story revolves around Cass trying to find ways to rescue him, which includes finding out about the order of the Eternal Rose and its members. Once the pace picked up, the book was just as exciting as Venom.

There was however, a startling death towards the end of the book that I was NOT expecting at all! You broke my heart, Fiona! I’ve pre-ordered my copy of Starling and am really looking forward to reading it. Fingers crossed Cass ends up with Luca and Falco falls in the canals of Venice and we never see or hear from him again!

I’m very much looking forward to finishing this series! Not long now :)

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