Saturday, 7 September 2013

Belladonna by Fiona Paul


Author: Fiona Paul
Pages: 352
Status: 2nd Book of the Secrets of the Eternal Rose Trilogy
Release Date: July 16th, 2013

Synopsis (from Goodreads)

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.

Two reviews in ONE day! I'm getting really tired of typing, but alas, I still have an English essay to write for Monday. *Sighs*. I REALLY didn't expect my teachers to give so much homework the first week back.

But anyways, let's get on with that Belladonna review. And I'll try not to put many spoilers, but I can't guarantee anything. So if you don't like spoilers, don't read on, and don't read the Venom review below either.

Belladonna was a REALLY action-packed and was the complete opposite from the first book. Belladonna had all the qualities of an AMAZING and compelling book.
The book starts off with Luca getting arrested. It's really weird for everyone-and for Cass- that golden-boy Luca would be arrested for such a big crime against the Church.
He tells her that Joseph Dubois (from book 1) was probably behind his arrest and that he wants the Book of Eternal Rose, which Luca 'claimed' he had. Cass then goes on a trip to Florence where she tries to find the Book, but finds herself in a city obsessed with killing 'vampires'.
When I got to the part of the book where they were talking about Florence being full of vampires, I was really upset- I immediately thought the book was going to take a turn into the supernatural genre. Then I realized that it was during the time periods of the books that Europe was pretty obsessed with witch burnings and erradicating the supernatural in the name of the Church, so I calmed down.
I was really in love with the pace in the book! Book 1 was a little slow (like many book 1's) but Belladonna had a good pace and a complexity to it that you usually don't get from sequels, which, I find, are mostly used as a filler for the next book. This book was used to fill in the gaps and answered questions left from the first book (like what is the Order of the Eternal Rose, and why Joseph Dubois and creepy Angelo de Gradi are all connected). In addition to learning more about the Eternal Rose, we also learn about Belladonna, the namesake of the book. She is mysterious, eerie and creepy, but is described by everyone in the book to be the most beautiful and youthful person in Florence- at the age of forty. I imagine her like Kate Winslet with the timeless beauty, but personality wise, she's much more self-centred, vain and cruel (which is what Kate isn't).
But the action, the mystery and the character devlopment was beautifully written.
I loved how Cass went from the meek, naive noblewoman and slowly came out of her shell in Venom, but in Belladonna, you see her grow a lot. I think her development may stem from the fact that this book revovled AROUND Cass and her task, and not Cass and her boys. Yes, you do see sexy Falco and Luca the Gentleman in the book, and yes, they both play an important role in the book (Cass's mission DOES revolve around her fiance), but for the majority of the time Cass was either on her own or with Mada, Siena or Feliciana.
But going back to the boys...I know very well that fans of either Falco and Luca are probably at war with each other. Luca wasn't in the book much (he was heavily featured in the beginning and the very end), but his spirit was very present throughout the book. I really liked how Paul was able to keep him alive. As for Falco. Falco, Falco, Falco...That boy is such a handful. He was much more distant in the book and played a much symbolic role throughout Cass's time in Florence, but he ended up breaking a lot of hearts in the end. I know that, for anyone that read the book, it seems like Cass made up her mind due to Falco's compromising scene near the end of Belladonna, but let me remind you: the book goes missing. THE BOOK GOES MISSING AND NO ONE KNOWS WHO TOOK IT! Let that sink in guys.
The plot was beautifull written and everything flowed well. I loved everything about the book, even it's tragic ending and mysterious epilogue.

It's arguable to say that there are A LOT of loose ends, but we'll have to wait till March to see what happens.

I would have to give Belladonna 4.5 out of 5 stars! It's DEFINITELY worth the read.

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