Review of Poison Dance by Livia Blackburne

Poison Dance: A NovellaPoison Dance
By: Livia Blackburne
Release Date: September 24th 2013
Publisher: Lion’s Quill Press
Source: Electronic copy

An electronic copy was provided by the author in exchange for an honest review.

My Rating:

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.

My Thoughts:
I’ve always been a fan of assassins because I feel that this character type offers a tremendous amount of ambiguity and room to create a personality that tip-toes good and evil. I am intrigued by their ability to straddle killing for hire versus their morals (if they have them). When seeing that this novella was a prequel to the upcoming Midnight Thief I was thrilled to be able to read it. If you’ve seen the cover and read the summary you’ll understand my excitement.

For a novella, I think this accomplished its goals beautifully; I was introduced to the world and left wanting much more. Reading this small glimpse into Blackburne’s world has me eager for the upcoming book though I did feel that aspects of this novella were lacking. My biggest complaint was that, like so many novellas, events felt rushed. I’m not a big fan of reading short stories typically because I’m greedy and want much, much more. I found it difficult to connect on a deeply emotional level though I enjoyed the characters and felt that they were well written.

I felt that the world was lightly touched upon but I can clearly see that in the upcoming novel it will be thought out and dense. I can’t wait to see what Blackburne will do with this setting, James (star of this novella and supporting character in Midnight Thief) and the Thieves Guild.

Final Thoughts:
Poison Dance would not be considered essential reading, but I recommend it to fantasy fans wanting to get a glimpse of the world and writing style while waiting for Blackburne’s novel to release. In essence, Poison Dance was successful in making me even more impatient to read Midnight Thief.

Poison Dance is available now and look for Midnight Thief from Disney Hyperion July 8th 2014


  1. says

    I’m a huge fan of assassins for the same reasons. You put the word “assassin” in the summary for a book, and I’m pretty much guaranteed to read it. I really liked this peak into this world, too, and it’s got me even more excited for Midnight Thief!

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