‘Secrets can be as powerful–and deadly–as poison.
Cassandra Caravello has everything a girl could desire: elegant gowns, sparkling jewels, invitations to the best parties, and a handsome, wealthy fiance–yet she longs for something more. 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 the body of a murdered woman–with a bloody X carved across her heart–she’s drawn into a dangerous world of secret societies, courtesans and killers. Soon, she finds herself falling for Falco, a poor artist with a mischievous grin…and a habit of getting into trouble. Will Cassandra find the murderer before he finds her? And will she stay true to her fiance or succumb to her uncontrollable feelings for Falco?
Beauty, romance, and mystery weave together in a novel that’s as seductive and stunning as Renaissance Venice itself.
I am not quite sure what century this book takes place, so it is hard for me to categorize it for my purposes on this blog. All I know is that this story takes place in Renaissance Venice and there is really nothing to pin down a specific time period. The only clue that the author gives the reader is that it sometime around the time of Shakespeare and the invention of the printing press. The time period isn’t essential to this story and the story moves quite well without knowing the exact time the story occurs. Don’t think that it something that you have to know in order to enjoy this book, by any means, it is a minor detail.
I don’t typically read Young Adult fiction. It’s not really my genre, but I saw historical fiction and a murderer running amok and the cover is quite beautiful and I decided to branch out and try something a little different. I really enjoyed the setting of Venice in the springtime. The author portrays the ancient city with elegance and it makes me want to go there so bad. It sounds quite divine and since I can’t afford to go to Venice, this book makes an excellent substitute for the time being.
Cassandra is your typical teenager. Trying to find herself and rebelling against society’s constraints and learning about life and love. I am sure a lot of Young Adult readers can relate to this book, more so than I can as a woman in her mid-twenties. It’s kind of like a ‘been there, done that’ type of feeling that I had when reading this book. Now I know there are adults who read nothing but YA and that’s cool and all, it’s just not really my forte.
I will now tell you the things I disliked about this book. Sometimes Cass is a little slow on the uptake. There’s a murderer running around Venice and Cass doesn’t quite catch onto some major clues. Sometimes I thought a five-year-old could have figured this mystery out faster than Cass. Talk about banging your head against the wall type of reactions. This book was a little longer than necessary, but I guess that’s because it took so long for Cass to figure things out. Also, Cass’ teenage rebellious attitude was a little over the top for me, but it could just be an age thing. The plot focuses more on Cass’ love life more so than the mystery aspect and I could have done with some more of that and less of the romance.
What I loved about this book, is that the actual book is beautiful. The pages were lined with beautiful scroll like drawings and the pages before the chapters were absolutely stunning. I took some pictures to show you guys because the artistic detail of this book is just exquisite. I don’t think that I’ve come across such a pretty book. Words simply cannot do it justice, one really needs to see this book in person to see how beautiful it really is.
This book leaves some of the mystery unsolved and the reader is left quite hanging for the next installment of the series. I loved that because it clearly sets up the next in the series quite nicely and leaves the reader begging for more. I will be reading the next in the series, which aptly is named Belladonna. Not quite sure at this time when it will be released, but I have to say that I’m drawn in. I just need Cass to be a little smarter and not so naive and then this would be the perfect book. A good read if you can deal with the teenage point of view and enjoy reading about a serial killer set in lovely historical Venice.
Overall Rating: 3.5
Disclaimer: This book was selected from the library by myself and I reviewed this book without compensation of any kind. All thoughts and opinions are solely mine.