Publisher: Penguin Australia
Release Date: July 23, 2014
Genres: Drama, Historical, YA
Source: Received in exchange for review
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It's the Carnevale of 1750 and Venice's ballrooms, theatres, palazzos and squares are filled with delicious gossip, devilish fun and dangerous games. In this glittering masked world, everyone has a secret...
Set in an age of decadence made famous by Casanova, Masquerade uncovers the secrets of seven teens, from the highest aristocrat to the lowest servant – their dreams, desires, loves, loyalties ... and betrayals.
All the world's a stage.
Let the show begin.
After all the positive 4-5 star reviews that started rolling in for Masquerade, I definitely was expecting something that was going to blow me right off my feet. I think, I set myself up for too much because after reading this book, I felt rather underwhelmed. However, this is not to say I didn’t enjoy Masquerade–the setting and plot line were brilliantly written.
Masquerade centres around 7 teenagers in Venice of the year 1750 during the Carnevale. For the 335 pages this book was, 7 central characters was just too much. I found myself only really engaged in 3 people’s story lines, all the others just didn’t interest me as much and didn’t leave such a great mark. For me, Orelia was more of the main character here–she was also the one whom I connected best with. She is the first person we hear from a she is just arriving at Venice. Her parents have died and she had no one to turn to–apart from an uncle who probably doesn’t know Orelia exists. Her uncle does take her in and gives her sanction at his home and soon, we are whisked into a world of masquerade balls, theatres and acts loyalty and betrayal.
The atmosphere of the Carneval in 1750 was created marvellously. I could feel the glamour and the sophistication right off the pages and you can tell the author has done a lot of research. To me, the setting was one of this book’s greatest highlights. It takes you back, transcending time, to where there were ballrooms and theatres and palazzos were full of life.
I’d like to point out how much I loved the absence of what I call “pointless drama”. For instance, before Orelia arrives in Venice, her cousin is infatuated with the Doge’s son, Bastian. She plans on having the first dance with him on the first night of the Carnevale but after a sequence of events, when Orelia arrives, she ends up having the first dance. Her cousin, Angelique, does get jealous but there’s none of that girl on girl hate or drama that you’d expect would normally ensue. I was so happy about this, many points to the author here. In fact, there’s no girl on girl hate at all in this book.
Honestly, I wasn’t actually that invested in the romance. Perhaps it’s my lack of care with many of the characters, but I just didn’t feel the chemistry between Bastian and Orelia. I actually disliked Bastian for most of this book because of his rash decisions and how he handled his affairs.
And a note about the ending–I loved it. It didn’t go for the sappy and corny road and took the realistic version which definitely surprised me because not many books decide to leave a romance like that. That being said, I still want a sequel. I feel as if these teenagers’ stories are not totally complete and I know a lot of people want something closer to a HEA.
An atmospheric read, Kylie Fornasier’s debut is one that totally surprised me. If you love the glamour and sophistication of this era, I highly recommend Masquerade.
~Thank you Penguin Australia for sending me this copy!~
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