Thursday, July 4, 2013

Belladonna by Fiona Paul

Expected Publication: July 16th
Publisher: Penguin/Philomel
Barnes & Noble

The Synopsis:
In Renaissance Italy, love, lust, intrigue and secret societies converge to stunning results!
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.

I'm not going to explain to you guys how much I love historical fiction because I feel as if I've explained it enough in past reviews.  There's just something about the wonder and magic of historical fiction that enraptures me in its pages.  In Paul's writing, the incorporation of mystery and danger along with the historical accurateness of Venice and Florence, Italy is spellbinding.  It was fantastic!

Cass certainly has changed from the girl readers knew in Venom.  She's vulnerable without Falco, her personality is colder, her determination and hatred of the Order of the Eternal Rose has intensified.  She's matured.  There definitely isn't this reckless trait in her anymore.  However, that doesn't mean that this made her character less interesting.  Her character growth from the first to the second book was believable and interesting to read about.  Still, she bravely ventures all around Venice and Florence, but this Cass knows what to do and is better prepared for the horrors that lay beneath the bustling surfaces of the cities.

Sadly, I felt that now much went on in the book until the very end to keep readers excited and anxious for the next installment.  Don't get me wrong, I loved the book, but it's just that things were pretty evenly paced throughout the entire book until the very end, where it spiked.  There was plenty of mystery and such to keep me interested, but maybe a more definitive climax in the story would have made the story that much more enjoyable. 

So things get pretty interesting in this one when Luca gets thrown in jail and it seems that her only way of getting him free is to find the Book of Eternal Rose.  So I was wishing there was a bit more interaction Falco, but in the end, I suppose it was all right.  I'm curious to see what Paul plans to do next, but it's all part of the big idea with these trilogies.  And if you were wondering, I am Team Falco. 

Belladonna reveals that there is more to the Order than what Cass and Falco thought.  The book is filled with mystery and wonder.  Enticingly dangerous midnight parties, intense midnight chases, and secret midnight meetings ensue.  Lets just assume that the entire book takes place at midnight, alright?  But it was fantastic!  Just glorious, and it was great to read about Renaissance Italy.  The image painted by Paul of Italy was beautiful and enchanting.  Fans of mystery, historical fiction, and of the beautifully dangerous will enjoy Belladonna, but first ya gotta read Venom first, if you haven't already!
Four Splashes

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