Thursday, August 8, 2013

Book Review: Belladonna by Fiona Paul

Pages: 352
Genre: YA Historical Fiction
Pub. Date: July 16, 2013
Source: Netgalley
Series: Venom (Book #1)
My Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Goodreads says, "In the second in the stunning Secrets of the Eternal Rose series, Cassandra Caravello is trying to forget Falco, the wild artist who ran off with her heart, as she grows closer to her strong, steady fiancĂ©, Luca. But Luca seems to have his own secrets. When he’s arrested by soldiers in the middle of the night, Cass’s life is once again thrown into chaos. She must save Luca, and that means finding the Book of the Eternal Rose—the only evidence that will prove he’s innocent. So begins her journey to Florence, a city haunted by whispers of vampirism, secret soirees and clandestine meetings of the Order of the Eternal Rose. And home to Falco, who is working for the Order’s eerily stunning leader, the Belladonna herself. Can Cass trust her heart to lead her to the truth this time Nothing is as it seems in this seductive thriller, where the truth may be the deadliest poison of all."
Cassandra finds herself in a precarious situation once again in Belladonna, book two of the Secrets of the Eternal Rose series.  Her fiancĂ©, Luca, is unjustly imprisoned for "speaking out against the church." Obviously, this is a set up and Cassandra must get down to the bottom of it before Luca's execution date. In Venom, readers figure out that Cass' parents were involved with the Order of the Eternal Rose and she is starting to wonder if this group has something to do with what is going on.  Cass is determined to clear Luca's name and heads to Florence to investigate the situation; however, she runs into even more problems and secrets.  She even encounters Falco, her former flame, there as well as the possibilities of vampirism!  Belladonna by Fiona Paul is an entertaining follow-up to Venom; fans of the Renaissance and historical fiction will love to be lost in Cass' world.

Cass is the kind of herione that I really enjoy.  She's feisty, determined, and a bit of a romantic at heart.  When readers find her heading off to Florence to ultimately save Luca, I liked her even more than in Venom.  I wasn't a big supporter of Falco from the beginning and I liked that she became closer with Luca in Belladonna.  Readers will learn more about Luca in this book and will get to see them interact more, even if it is through the bars of a prison.  

There's a lot of action in Belladonna, specifically when it comes to Cass trying to find out what is going on with the Order of the Eternal Rose as well as saving Luca.  Yes, there are some scenes and coincidences in Belladonna that felt a little too convenient, such as Falco just so happens to be in Florence, etc. That's the only thing that bothered me and obviously it didn't deter me from finishing Belladonna.

Everyone knows I love historical fiction, so I was completely enthralled with the settings of Venice and Florence during Renaissance Italy. As I said before in my review of Venom, I thought Paul did a great job bringing the settings to life and in Belladonna she really created an eerie atmosphere, especially since there's talk of vampirism as well as a crazy doctor (he freaked me out!).

I know many critics and readers have issues with this series not being one-hundred percent accurate for the time period (like lack of a chaperone in Renaissance Italy and the use of modern dialogue), but once again, it didn't bother me. I was totally sucked into Cass' journey and I was rotting for her to save Luca from the horrible prison. What can I say? I just like to be entertained!

Overall, I enjoyed Belladonna. By the end of the book, readers will learn more about the secret society, Order of the Eternal Rose, and will be looking forward to reading the final book in the trilogy, Starling, which comes out in March.  

12 comments:

  1. I've had VENOM on my shelf for some time now, but I never seem to get around to reading it. It sounds as though the second installment is really solid though, and learning more about the world we're offered in book one is definitely a strong case for me to begin the series! Wonderful review, Christina :)

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    1. Thanks so much, Melissa. I hope you get to read it soon!

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  2. I am very excited for this! I loved Venom. And honestly the historical inaccuracies weren't something I noticed while I was reading - just things I thought of afterwards. And as long as you're enjoying it while you're reading that should be all that matters right? It is fiction after all.

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    1. I completely agree! Thanks for visiting, Christa!

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  3. I love this series! Cass really comes into her own in this sequel. I'm dying to get my hands on Starling. Great review!

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    1. I agree. I liked Cass more in Belladonna than Venom. Thanks for visiting, Sara.

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  4. I wanted to read Venom when it was published but I just haven't gotten around to it. Your review makes this sound like a series I'd enjoy.

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    1. I do think you would enjoy it, especially since we have the same taste in historical fiction. Thanks for visiting, Christina!

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  5. Yikes, poor Luca. But, I'm glad to hear that readers learn more about him in this book. I really wanted to see more of him in VENOM!

    Fabulous review :)

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    1. Yes! I felt for Luca--not a good situation! I wanted more of him in Venom as well! Thanks for visiting, Lea!

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  6. Venom was one of my favourite books last year and I have been eagerly waiting for this next installment. I'm like you, even though there are some historical inaccuracies, the story just draws me in so much that I don't even notice! I'm really excited to learn more about Luca in this one! Can't wait!

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    1. I was definitely happy to learn more about Luca in this book as well. I hope you get to read it soon! Thanks for visiting, Andrea!

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