sábado, 23 de novembro de 2013

Poison Dance, Livia Blackburne

My thoughts: Poison Dance is a prequel novella for Midnight Thief, the author's YA debut scheduled for July 2014. It tells the story of James, an assassin working for the Assassin's Guild who finds himself wanting the leave the Guild, and Thalia, a dancer who can facilitate the means to his departure, if only he helps her on a mission of vengeance.

I'm a big fan of high/epic fantasy, so I was definitely intrigued with Midnight Thief's premise. And Poison Dance was the perfect way of quenching my thirst, yet having me yearning for more. James and Thalia are such interesting characters, and I was engaged in their tale.

James is an assassin for hire, but as the Guild's leadership changes, he finds that he isn't very eager to work for the new leader, and makes plans to leave the city. His backstory, his motives to become an assassin, his group of friends and his cool-headed, clever personality helped to flesh out his character and made me want to get to know him better. It's pretty obvious who he is, reading Midnight Thief's description, and Poison Dance was a good way to understand how he came to be in that position.

Thalia, though, was the star of the story for me. Driven by revenge, she mourns the loss of a loved one. She is focused on one purpose only: she wants a chance to get close to her mark, and she asks James for help in order to achieve it. Her story broke my heart, and made me wish for a different ending than the one I suspected was coming. I admired her stubborness and her drive to achieve her goal, and I kind of wanted more scenes with her and James, because their relationship was just full of possibilities.

The only problem I had with this novella is one I personally have with many short stories and novellas: I wanted more. It's hard to walk the fine line between captivating the reader's attention and keeping the story short, but I think the author did a decent job in that aspect, though.

What I missed the most was a bit more of worldbuilding. There are only a few things about the Assassin's Guild and how the city works, and it wasn't enough for me to get a good mental picture of this world. But I understand worldbuilding is the hardest part to introduce in a short story, so I'll just wait for Midnight Thief to get my fix.

The secondary characters were developed sufficiently to get me invested and keep the story going, and I would like to meet again James' friends in the sequel. The writing was good enough to keep me engaged, but I'll defer to Midnight Thief to give me a, say, better picture of it.

The ending, well, wasn't really a surprise for me, since everything pointed towards it, but I don't think that that was the point... it was, though, emotionally poignant, and knowing what would happen didn't soften the blow for me. I did want to see James's reaction better explored, to painstaking detail even. (What can I say, I like to suffer with the characters.)

Long story short (ha!), Poison Dance was an interesting prequel, one that kept my interest and introduced me satisfyingly to this world. I loved to meet the characters, and I was left begging for more. I will be eagerly anticipating Midnight Thief's release.

I received an electronic review copy from the author in exchange for an honest opinion of the book. This has in no way affected my thoughts on the book.

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