Saturday, 19 January 2013

Review- Venom by Fiona Paul

Title: Venom
Series: The Secrets of the Eternal Rose 

Author: Fiona Paul
Published: December 6th 2012
Book 1

(Sent by HarperCollins Publishers) 
Cassandra Caravello is an upper-class teenage girl residing in Venice with her aging Aunt. She is surrounded by wealth, fortune, fabulous gowns and anything she could have hoped for. But she yearns for something more-- Freedom. Freedom from all expectations, freedom from her commanding tasks and most of all, freedom from her premature engagement. While her fiancĂ©, Luca, is away studying in Paris, she meets the charming and audacious artist named Falco. Cassandra stumbles upon a body with a bloody X carved into its chest. She and Falco work together to uncover the truth, while in the process, Cassandra receives a death threat from the killer. She is drawn into another world of secret societies, courtesans and killers. 

I really enjoyed this novel, especially the setting. The vivid descriptions of Venice and its scenery are full of depth that flows so easily, it feels like you are right there on the journey with Cassandra. The characters were likable and they were developed reasonably well. I especially loved Cassandra in the sense that she is not what you would expect a wealthy, upper-class person to be because she is kind to the maidens, gardeners and the cooks which only adds to her personality. The author writes this novel as though she has written many others but I was surprised to find out that this was her debut novel. I know now that I will definitely be keeping my eyes out for more of her books.

I really loved the mystery in this book. Each body that was found seemed to be linked together. It was the same with the clues found at various stages of the novel. It got me thinking about how someone could create such an amazing story and it is obvious that Fiona Paul is extremely talented to create something like this. I absolutely LOVE the cover of this novel. It reveals the setting of Renaissance Venice in the background which I think contributes to the cover really well as it provides an insight of what is to come. The protagonist is also portrayed really well. She is clutching a mask in her hand which, apart from other obvious reasons, implies that she has something to hide, or wants to hide her identity from prying eyes. I think that it defines the novel really well and it also looks great. 

The novel was a little slow paced at one stage during the start of the book, but then events started unfolding it was nothing but fast paced. I also would've liked to see a lot more of the secret societies mentioned in the blurb, rather than only being evident towards the end of the novel. I know that it was mentioned towards the end of the novel because it would lead up to the next but I still would've liked to see more of it. 

Overall, this was a great read that I recommend for people who like Mystery and I will definitely be awaiting the next novel in the series. Fiona Paul has obvious talent for writing and I cannot wait to see how everything turns out. 

Rating: 4.5/5

Wednesday, 2 January 2013

Review- Scent of Magic by Maria V. Snyder

Title: Scent of Magic
Series: Healer 

Author: Maria V. Snyder
Published: December 18th 2012
Book 2

(Sent by Harlequin Publishers) 
The Review for Touch of Power (Book One of the Healer Series) can be found here.
Avry is a Healer on a mission. Believed to be dead by friends and enemies alike, she must embark on a mission to stop King Tohon's evil deeds and repair the bond between her sister and herself. She and Kerrick must go their separate ways in order to save the Fifteen Realms. Avry intrudes on Queen Estrid's army in with a new name, look and title. She teaches the army forest skills, while at the same time, learns as much as she can about Tohon and his army of the undead. Close bonds are made between Avry and her fellow battle mates, war is brewing and betrayals are revealed, coming alive in the midst of trusted moments. 

I absolutely loved every single moment of this book. There was a new perspective introduced in the book which I thought only provided more depth to the characters and provided a new outlook on events taking place in the book. Avry seems more developed in this book than the first. She seems to be taking more risks, making her own decisions and doesn't back down from a fight easily. She has grown into and excellent character who allows the audience to relate to what she feels and does. The Death and Peace Lily's prove to have excellent use in this novel as it creates a MASSIVELY unexpected event to happen. It was excellently written and I have to commend the author on the many unexpected events, cliffhangers and developments made in this novel. 

The only thing more that I would've liked is to see more of the other types of magic in use rather than just seeing Avry's healing and Kerrick's forest magic. I also would've liked the first 50 or so pages to be a little bit more fast paced or to have a little more action included in them. Apart from that, the novel was a great read with an excellently written plot which the author allows the audience a personal link with each character. This book ended with the BIGGEST CLIFFHANGER EVER!!! All I can say is that the wait for the third book is going to be a hassle. Maria V. Snyder is an extremely talented author with an obvious passion for writing and I believe that this novel is one liked by many.

Overall, I cannot wait until the next book in the series as I am sure it will be just as great as its prequels. This book has a blend of everything you could wish for. Mystery, betrayal, war, magic, paranormal and much much more. I am sure most people loved it and are also eagerly awaiting the next book.

Rating 5/5