Review: POISON DANCE by Livia Blackburne

poison danceTitle: Poison Dance
Series: Midnight Thief #0.5
Author: Livia Blackburne
Release Date: September 24, 2013
Format: eBook from Author
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 approximately 14,000 words, or 54 printed pages.



My Review:


The story in a nutshell…

James is a deadly warrior of sorts and part of the once prestigious and influential Assassin’s Guild. But now the Guild seems to be falling apart and James might finally get a chance to leave this life behind. And then he meets Thalia, a dancing girl who may or may not hold the key to that chance. When she asks him to teach her how to kill a man, a nobleman at that, their lives get entangled in ways none of them would have imagined.


What worked for me?

The setting and the kind of world that author Livia Blackburne has offered readers in this book is really intriguing and I wanted to know more, about the Assassin’s Guild, the intricate balance or imbalance among people of different social status, the political undertones. This story just sucks you in its world and you can’t help but be fascinated.

I really love James and Thalia and especially James. He’s so compelling as a character. He makes his living as a hired blade but you know he still follows a moral code. I enjoy reading his interactions with all the other characters, be it his friends in the Guild or the villains in the book, and of course, his interactions with Thalia.

I also love the subtlety that Livia Blackburne employs when it comes to telling the story. I love reading all the undertones and the kind of restraint she has when it comes to some of the scenes that makes the readers think instead of just giving them every single detail out front. I love that this makes me think, make me want to know more, offers me bits and pieces and lets me arrive at my own conclusions.


What didn’t work for me?

I really enjoyed this story and I would have wanted it to be longer but alas it’s a novella and a prequel of sorts. I would have read a full length novel about James.


My over-all take on it?

Poison Dance is a great introduction not just to their world but to Livia Blackburne’s writing as well. And now I can’t wait for MIDNIGHT THIEF, the full length novel in this series, to come out.


My rating:

4 stars


DisclaimerI received an eARC/digital copy of this book from the author/publisher in exchange  for an honest review. Yes, these are my honest and personal thoughts on this book.



About the Author:

LiviaBlackburne-300x20010 Things About Me:

  1. I write fantasy.  Most often YA fantasy, but sometimes I branch out.
  2. I was born in Taiwan, raised in Albuqurque, and spent my twenties in Boston, where I studied biochemistry at Harvard and neuroscience at MIT.
  3. I started my debut novel Midnight Thief in high school, because writing a novel was the only way I could get out of the mandatory camping requirement.  I finished about 60 pages.  They were 60 awful, awful pages.
  4. I finished Midnight Thief 12 years later, because writing a novel was the only way I could keep my sanity while conducting my doctoral research.  This time, I got to 370 pages, and they were much less awful than the initial 60.
  5. I write a blog about psychology and neuroscience for writers.  You can check it out here.
  6. Like every good Asian kid, I played the piano as a child.  I don’t do that as much anymore, but I still love to sing and dance.
  7. I’m horrible at any sports involve fast moving projectiles, and I dislike most sports that involve highly repetitive movements (running, swimming, biking, etc.).  This leaves basically dancing and martial arts.
  8. When I wanted sweets as a child, my mother would give me one M&M.  I thought that was normal, and to this day, have very low tolerance for sweets.  One bite of chocolate bar, half a scoop of ice cream is about all I can take.
  9. If I had to choose one author with the biggest influence on my reading and writing development, it would be Tamora Pierce.
  10. Some of my favorite books:  Graceling by Kristen Cashore, The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins, Plain Kate by Erin Bow, Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein, Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor, The Lies of Locke Lamora by Scott Lynch.

Connect with Livia Blackburne:

Website  |  Facebook  |  Twitter




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