Author: Fiona Paul
Genre: Young Adult, Historical, Mystery
Source: HarperCollins Australia. Thank you!
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Cassandra Caravello is trying to forget Falco, the wild artist who ran off with her heart, as she grows closer to her strong, steady fiancé, 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 is innocent.Review by Nara
So begins her journey to Florence, a city haunted by whispers of corruption, secret soirees and clandestine meetings of the Order of the Eternal Rose. And home to Falco, who′s 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..
In the media release sheet included with my copy of Belladonna, this statement from Andrea Cremer was included as part of "Praise for Venom":
Venom renders the canals of Renaissance Venice frightening and irresistible in a sensual tale where no one can be trusted and passions kill.Well, replace "canals of Renaissance Venice" with "streets of Renaissance Florence" and BAM that statement pretty much summarises the awesomeness that is Belladonna. The mystery side of things was so interesting- what exactly is this "Order of the Eternal Rose", where is the "Book of the Eternal Rose" and what is this "fifth humor"?
There is so much intrigue- even more than the first book (which had its fair share as well). The pace is much quicker too. I suppose this is because in the first book, the pace was set on finding the murderer, whereas in this book, Cass is fighting to save Luca's life. And because Luca's life is more important to her than catching the murderer was in the first book, accordingly, the pace is faster. I suppose this also could be because, as a reader, I was more invested in the characters while reading Belladonna.
The love triangle in this series actually reminded me a bit of the one in The Infernal Devices series- passion vs security, a fiance, a person who's going to die- all are elements common to both love triangles. However, initially, I thought that the love triangle in this series was different because it wasn't so equal. Cass clearly prefers Falco in Venom. But then in Belladonna, Falco- WHAT THE HELL HAPPENED TO YOU?!? He was so awesome in Venom, but he is so damn frustrating in Belladonna. I seriously do not understand why he keeps lying to Cass and hiding things from her. GRRRRR. In terms of Luca, I think that he does grow on you. He's not as bad as you initially think in Venom. Even at the end of Venom it was still a bit "meh, he's average", but I suppose you grow to like him as Cass does too. (I have to admit that I'm still Team Falco though.)
I really love the excerpts from the Book of the Eternal Rose which come just before the start of each chapter (as they did in Venom). They look so pretty in paper form as well. Also, I have to say that the Aussie cover is amazing. (Although the curly script on the US hardcover is quite pretty as well).
DAMN THE CLIFFHANGER! It ensures that I'll definitely be the first in line for a copy of Starling. In any case, if you even remotely enjoyed Venom, you definitely will not be disappointed by Belladonna.