Review: Poison Dance

Poison Dance: A Novella by Livia Blackburne
Release Date ~ September 12, 2013
E-copy received from author for review

Goodreads Synopsis:
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. 

Midnight Thief (2014) is a book that has already caught my eye, just by way of its description. (Come on, TELL ME that doesn't sound like the perfect book for me?!) Livia Blackburne contacted me with information about the prequel novella she had released for Midnight Thief, and I jumped right on board.

The feature I find so interesting about this series is that Midnight Thief is categorized as a YA book, but the prequel novella is definitely written for a slightly older audience. Because Poison Dance is the story of a secondary character from Midnight Thief, I can already tell that this is a series that is attempting to build a strong world and cast of characters. Two things I absolutely love to see in fantasy books.

  1. Strong start to a new series:

    Poison Dance provides us with background information about some events leading up to Midnight Thief; importantly, this includes the background story about one character in particular, named James. I'm curious to see how this will enhance or impact my reading of Midnight Thief later on but I'm optimistic that it will give me a greater appreciation of the world Livia is creating in her series.
  2. A grittier fantasy story:

    Since Midnight Thief features an Assassins Guild right in the description, I was anticipating it to be a darker YA book than average. And while Poison Dance doesn't feel like a definitive adult fantasy, it's a bit of a bridge between the two - lines are blurred here. Sexual relationships are a bit more pronounced, and violence has an important role. This is essentially what I would like to see NA become as a category - books that simply feature characters in this twenty-something life stage, but features much more than romance. 

A common problem I have with novellas is that I often feel that they're too short. I'm looking forward to seeing more of James in the next books, but there was so much plot in this novella it felt like it could have been longer than it was. That can leave me aching for more, as a reader.

A prequel novella should make me even more excited to read the book to which the novella is a precursor. That is exactly what Poison Dance accomplished for me, by bumping Midnight Thief even higher on my list of highly anticipated reads in 2014. There's plenty of action and excitement to make this a very quick read, one that certainly highlights the strength Livia has as a writer and the direction we can expect to see Midnight Thief take.

You can also visit Livia's website for more information and read an excerpt from Poison Dance

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