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Poison Dance by Livia Blackburne: Novella Review

Poison Dance: A NovellaTitle: Poison Dance 
Author: Livia Blackburne 
Publisher: Lion's Quill Press
Buy This Book: Amazon / Book Depository 

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. 

The author emailed me to ask if I would be willing to read and review her novella. She sent an excerpt and after reading it I was really intrigued. I had also had my eye on her new novel, Midnight Thief, for a while too and was excited to read this prequel novella.

After finishing, I am still certain that I will pick up and read Midnight Thief, but I wasn't completely blown away by Poison Dance. I think it's because I love full length books so much and how much they can provide you with in terms of character development, world building and plot. It's really hard to give you enough character development and a taste for the world and storyline within only 50 or so pages.

I do want to comment on the fact I found it hilarious that that our main character is called James. Not because of the name, it's my boyfriends name but just because of how strange it sounded next to all the other names in the book. Practically every other name was really unusual, for example: Thalia, Gerred, Bacchus, Rand & Clevon - and then James.

I thoroughly enjoyed the writing and the action and really liked James as a character. I am looking forward to seeing more of him in the next book and how the events of this book shaped him as a person. I just found the ending a little too rushed, which can't be helped as it is a very short novella. There were a few events that I think could have been a tiny bit longer so that I could have had more detail and explanation. Thalia was quite a complex character and had her fair share of secrets and intrigue. I would really love to be able to get to know her better and find out more about her because she has such great potential as a character. I would happily have read a full length novel about those two and their relationship.

I will definitely still be picking up Midnight Thief and try to get over the fact it isn't from James' point of view. I definitely recommend this if you are looking forward to Midnight Thief or just want to get a taste of the authors writing style. It doesn't disappoint and it is fast-paced and full of action from beginning to end.

3/5 Stars

Thoroughly enjoyed it, but wasn't completely blown away. Will definitely be picking up Midnight Thief now. 

*I received a copy of this novel from the author in exchange for a free and honest review and received no monetary compensation for this review.


  1. Yup, I had the same sort of thoughts! It's totally made me want Midnight Thief, but I didn't "get" a lot of it. I feel like if I read it AFTER Midnight Thief, the characters would mean more to me. *shrugs* Maybe? It was a very tasty sample, though. :)

    1. It was really good but yeah, definitely didn't "get" most of it. I do really want Midnight Thief now though which is good :)

  2. I'm not a big novella fan, pretty much for the reasons you mention. There's just not enough time to get emotionally invested in the characters and obviously not a lot of time for anything much to happen plot-wise. But if reading it made you want to read Midnight Thief, it probably did its job! :) ~Pam

    1. It definitely did it's job then. I really don't get novellas all that much, if I'm honest. I much prefer a full length book :)


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