Novella Review: Poison Dance by Livia Blackburne

January 3, 2014 Review 22 ★★★½

Novella Review: Poison Dance by Livia Blackburne
Poison Dance by Livia Blackburne
(Goodreads | Amazon | Book Depository)

Publisher: Lion's Quill
Source: Author
Pages: 84
Release Date: September 12th, 2013
Series: Midnight Thief #0.5
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult
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.

I received this book for free from the source listed above in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.


Many of you know I usually do not read novellas unless they are from a series I am heavily invested in but when Livia came to me about POISON DANCE, the prequel to Disney-Hyperion’s July 2014 Release MIDNIGHT THIEF I could not resist. Fantasy is my favorite genre and when you add assassins and romance to the mix, the book had to be a winner.

James, our protagonist, is a fantastic narrator. There are few young adult novels out there with a realistic male narrator and this one of them. Along with James, there are some other very interesting characters that had very unique personalities and original voices.

My largest problem with a novella is usually the length-there is just not enough time or detail to truly invest in the story or characters but POISON DANCE does not have that problem. It is somewhat easy to get into James’s mind and see his motivations. However, the length did hinder the story when it came to the romance. I prefer a slow build, spanning the length of a novel, and this relationship developed quickly.

Overall, this book does a great job grabbing a reader’s interest and hyping up MIDNIGHT THIEF, which comes out in July of 2014. I will certainly be checking it out.


Don’t forget to add MIDNIGHT THIEF to your TBRs!

the midnight thief

Growing up on Forge’s streets has taught Kyra how to stretch a coin. And when that’s not enough, her uncanny ability to scale walls and bypass guards helps her take what she needs.
But when the leader of the Assassins Guild offers Kyra a lucrative job, she hesitates. She knows how to get by on her own, and she’s not sure she wants to play by his rules. But he’s persistent—and darkly attractive—and Kyra can’t quite resist his pull.

Tristam of Brancel is a young Palace knight on a mission. After his best friend is brutally murdered by Demon Riders, a clan of vicious warriors who ride bloodthirsty wildcats, Tristam vows to take them down. But as his investigation deepens, he finds his efforts thwarted by a talented thief, one who sneaks past Palace defenses with uncanny ease.

When a fateful raid throws Kyra and Tristam together, the two enemies realize that their best chance at survival—and vengeance—might be to join forces. And as their loyalties are tested to the breaking point, they learn a startling secret about Kyra’s past that threatens to reshape both their lives.

In her arresting debut novel, Livia Blackburne creates a captivating world where intrigue prowls around every corner—and danger is a way of life.

Rating Report
Overall: 3.6

22 Responses to “Novella Review: Poison Dance by Livia Blackburne”

  1. Joyousreads

    I’ve never heard of Poison Dance but the novella might be a good way for me to know whether it will be a “joy read” or not. That’s the thing about novellas, isn’t it? The tease just might do you in.

    Lovely review, Alise!
    Joyousreads recently posted…Back from the Dead

  2. Tanja

    I totally agree with you about this one. I’ve read it not so long ago and I was so surprised how many twist was in spare of few pages. I’ve got the feeling that The Midnight Thief is gonna rock the show and I cannot wait to see that. Great review :)
    Tanja recently posted…Oppression by Jessica Therrien

    • Alise

      It was definitely surprising in one of the best ways possible! I agree, plus the writing is very easy to fall in to. Thanks!

  3. A Canadian Girl

    I don’t normally read novellas because I find them too short but I like that this one lets you get invested. It sounds like it does a great job of promoting Midnight Thief, which I’m really looking forward to reading too. I love fantasy, especially when it involves thieves or assassins :)

  4. Cait

    I agree! It was definitely a neat book, particularly the characters. I wasn’t keen with the plot though. It didn’t really “connect” with me, you know? I think I’d rather have read Midnight Thief first and THEN go the prequel. Would it make more sense? One day I’ll find out. ;)
    Cait recently posted…10 Things I Never Want To Read Again

    • Alise

      Yeah, that makes sense! I did like it this way a little though because it gives you a feel for the writing before you invest in the actual book, you know?

  5. Sunny

    I didn’t realize this was a novella, but I’m glad it doesn’t make a difference, that it really fleshes out and it’s so great. Yay! Disney-Hyperion for the win. Can’t wait to read this series :)

  6. Sydney (Utterly Bookish)

    I’m really particular about my novellas. I’m the same as you — I’ll only read them if they’re a part of a series I’m truly invested in, or that author is one I’m loyal to. I just hate spending the time reading a less than 100 page book about a series that I’m not even that into. I do love when authors I’m loyal to make novellas available in a hard copy form! That makes me all sorts of giddy.

    It’s disappointing the romance didn’t build in this in the way you would have liked. I’m not much for instantaneous romance, and one that happens within 84 pages is sure to be a bit of a let down. I’ll have to check out this series since I’ve never heard of it!
    Sydney (Utterly Bookish) recently posted…This Week In Review — Jan. 4

    • Alise

      I absolutely love that too, especially if they put all of them in a collection like the Iron Fey novellas :)

      Romance is hard to pull off anyway but add in the length challenge and it could easily go wrong. Thanks for stopping by!

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