Published by Penguin Australia on July 23, 2014
Genres: Historical, Young Adult
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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.
Set in 1750 Venice, Masquerade is a sweeping, atmospheric story filled with love, drama and mystery during the month of the Carnevale. It features multiple points of views from seven teenagers, including a mysterious newcomer, aristocrats and servants, offering a varied viewpoint within a beautiful historical Venetian setting.
Masquerade needs to be read slowly to absorb the beauty and detail of Venice during the 1750s. The population celebrates Carnevale during the course of the novel, and seeing people walk around with masks and extravagant ballgowns during the festival is the norm. The novel is a treat for the senses, as its characters will attend extravagant balls with masks and ballgowns, visit an island of glass blowers, experience the theatre from the private booth, travel on gondolas and more.
While the setting is certainly extravagant and accurate, the novel takes a while to get off the ground and I had trouble connecting with the high number of characters throughout. There are seven characters in the novel and I must admit, I had trouble recalling who they were as they were mentioned. The third person perspective could be the cause of this, as we mostly related to the characters through the people they interacted with.
Of the ones I did connect to, I found the newcomer Orelia to be the most relatable, as she arrives in Venice with a hidden past. As she explores Venice in search of her deceased mother, it was Orelia’s secrets throughout the novel that were fascinating. I also liked Veronica, the older daughter of an aristocrat who is a gifted painter. She has a creative way of avoiding marriage by blackmailing her suitors with paintings of their secrets, which I thought was quite clever and admirable. Bastian was also an interesting yet cliche one, as he courts Orelia based on a friend’s bet and finds himself falling for her. Each character will have their own story and secrets set out during the course of the novel.
Masquerade is a dramatic, extravagant historical account of Venice in the 1750s. It’s reminiscent of a play or an opera filled with different acts, with each character having their own secrets and stories revealed spiraling into an epic, final conclusion. While it’s not without it’s flaws, due to a high volume of characters, the beauty of the novel is in its amazing setting.
Historical fiction has never really been my thing, but for those who enjoy it, definitely pick up Masquerade.
Rating: 3.5 out of 5
I received a review copy from Penguin Australia in exchange for an honest review.
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