Book Review: Poison Dance by Livia Blackburne


Title:  Poison Dance
Series: Novella (0.5 Midnight Thief)
By: Livia Blackburne
Author Info: Website | Twitter | Goodreads
Age Group: Young Adult
Genre Type: Fantasy,  Romance
Publication Date: September 24th 2013
Pages: 86 pages
Source: Author
Publisher: Lion's Quill Press

James is skilled, efficient, and deadly, a hired blade navigating the shifting alliances of a deteriorating Assassin’s Guild. Then he meets Thalia, an alluring but troubled dancing girl who offers him a way out—if he’ll help her kill a powerful nobleman. With the Guild falling apart, it just might be worth the risk. But when you live, breathe, and love in a world that’s forever flirting with death, the slightest misstep can be poison.

Poison Dance is a novella that takes place in the same fantasy world as Livia Blackburne’s highly anticipated new young adult series the Midnight Thief due to release in July 2014 by Disney-Hyperion. It’s a brief, but great introduction to the writing style of Livia as well as some interesting world-building. Most importantly it gives an intimate look at James and the Assassin's Guild.

Poison Dance gives us a firsthand look at the deteriorating and shifting alliances in the Assassins Guild that threaten James as well as its other members. I was impressed with how well I was able to get a good sense of this medieval world and its characters in such a brief novella. The taverns, bar fights, dancing girls, traders and Wall Huggers (Nobleman) were all easy to envision. I also appreciated the back history of James and the explanation on how he ended up being recruited and trained as an assassin. The story features a young dancer named Thalia who brings a mystery and murder with her, and James must decide whether to help her or not.

A brief and enjoyable read, Poison Dance really wets our appetite. It gives a sneak peek at James and the Assassins Guild and leaves us wanting to know much more about this world and James. As an important supporting character in the upcoming release of the Midnight Thief, this story is really about James. It answered questions about how he came to be the character he is and how he got that way. It helped answer the questions on how James came to power at such a young age, and what was behind his hatred of the nobility. Cool and confident, James is a bit of an enigma and I can't wait to read more about him in the Midnight Thief. A great behind-the-scenes peek into James and the Assassins Guild.

My Rating: 4 stars. I really liked it.

PLEASE NOTE: A courtesy review copy of this book was provided by the author Livia Blackburne in exchange for my fair review. Thank you Livia for the review opportunity!