Hi! This post is for the Venom Readalong that I signed up for (and hopefully you did too!). I've had an ARC of this book AND Belladonna, the sequel, since November, and have yet to read either book. Thank you, Annabelle and Nikki, for having this readalong; otherwise, Venom and Belladonna might sit on my stack of books for a long time.
SO! Here are my responses to the second set of questions!
How do you think Cass felt so out of her element in Chapter 9?
I imagine it is so strange to be stuck in a situation with a bunch of half-naked women and lust-filled men. I would never want to volunteer myself for that! "Out of my element" wouldn't cover how I would feel!
Do you think Cristian rescuing Cass was a coincidence?
Well, they say the walls have ears... perhaps someone sent him. Someone must be watching out for her, whether meaning good or meaning ill towards her. I don't believe in coincidences.
Do you think the tossing of her stays symbolizes anything? Or is it just a fun scene (that totally made me grin!)?
Of course it does! Or it should. It represents Cass tossing away constraints that she feels are a part of her life - propriety, order, rules, etc. Whether she actually does toss those formalities, we shall see.
Who do you think was behind the falcon mask?
Can I not answer this? I don't know. My first instinct was Luca, and I am sticking with it. But I'm saying that now, and will probably feel extremely stupid if/when it's not him.
What do you think of the whispered conversation between Falco and his friends?
Well, I assume it's about Falco's real "profession", and possibly a warning to stay away from Cass, or not to get attached. I'm not giving that part much thought right now, though I know it will come up later.
What do you think of this twist of events at the end of this section? (Remember no spoilers!)
Like... the part with Mada? Poor Cass. Running away seems like a good option! The part with Falco? THAT JUST SUCKS. She jumps to conclusions, but then, he does not really explain himself and his reasons. I know this sounds so vague, but "no spoilers"!
In this chapter, Cass comes across prostitutes up close for the first time and finds herself enthrall we by the strangeness of it. How would you, as a sheltered high-class girl, have reacted?
Blergh. Not do it in the first place? If I did though, I would try and do it with dignity and poise, but also, I would try to stay in character. No lewdness, but less nervousness and anxiety.
It's obvious Falco is keeping secrets. What do you think they are?
He's an artist, but something else obviously. He could be in on the body parts thing! That's such a lame guess. I don't know!
Why do you think he's hiding the truth from Cass?
He probably does not want her to see what he is doing. Perhaps he wants to impress her, or he wants her to only see the best in him, the best that he can display. Everyone has secrets - and everyone has reasons.
What do you think of the found painting? Does it seem important or irrelevant?
Of Mariabella? Well, don't some serial killers collect, like, tokens of the people they murder? Like, treasures? Or, on a completely different side, it could be a portrait of her from the man of her life that she loved. One of Falco's artist friends? Speculation...
When Cass asks Falco, "Why should I trust you?" he responds, "Because you want to." Is that a good reason for trust? Why or why not?
No. I don't trust people like that. She, as a woman (especially in that time period, probbly should not either. Also, he assumes that. Perhaps she does want to trust him (I believe she does), but how does he know that for sure? It wouldn't be good enough for me.
In general, what do you think of the names used in Venom?
I love Italian names. I'm not a huge fan of Cass's nickname (Cassandra is nice, but I understand why Ms. Paul shortened the name to a nickname of "Cass"). I love the names Falco, Luca, Mariabella, and Sienna.
Venom has been (rightfully) accused of having dialogue and syntax that is too modern for its period. This was intentional, though I did try my best not to use anachronistic words. I messed up a couple of times at least--words like "okay" and "creepy" did not exist in the 1600s. Did you find the less formal dialogue helpful or distracting? Did it detract from the reading experience? Did you catch any other anachronistic words?
Haha, that was me that said that anachronism bit. It distracts me, obviously, since I pointed it out (maybe I wasn't the only one). Some phrases should not be used during the time period ("Deal", for example). I like when authors do a superb job of cleaning up anachronisms (I know Robin LaFevers, author of Grave Mercy, talked about that once). But, overall, I can get past the anachronisms, to read the text. But it bothers me enough to notice.
Cass is obviously a virgin, as all proper noblewomen were back then, and a subplot of Venom is her coming to terms with her first sexual feelings. Do you think the book would have been stronger in conveying that idea without the brothel scene? (Obviously some people found it scandalous, which is fine, but the inclusion of it was to use it sort of as a touchstone for Cass's increasing attraction to Falco).
I found nothing wrong with including the brothel scene. It shows how sexually inexperienced Cass is, as she is weirded out by the state of undress of the courtesans, as well as the sexual acts performed by men and women at the brothel. I think this scene actually strengthens the point that Cass is innocent, but slowly developing in her sexual nature.
What do you think about Cass's interactions with the man in the falcon mask? Does he seem crazy or just mysterious? What do you think about his statement that war can be beautiful?
Why does Cass wait so dang long to read Luca's latest letter, even though she takes notice of it almost every time she passes?
Errrr... weird. I wouldn't go as far as to say "crazy", but defintiely mysterious. I believe that war can be beautiful in its own way. War deals with people putting their passion for something on the line. Something is so important to a person, that it is worth fighting for. This makes war beautiful. As for the letter - I believe the presence of the letter bothers Cass enough as to not read it. It scares her, because it makes Luca more real, the wedding more real, and Falco more impossible.
And that's it from me for the week! I'll be posting Week 3's responses next Tuesday!