This is the second prequel novella I’ve read lately, and it was great. Poison Dance is a prequel for the Midnight Thief dualogy by Livia Blackburne, which I recommend with all my heart. If you’re interested in the series, you can read my Midnight Thief review here https://mollyeyablog.wordpress.com/2015/05/21/midnight-thief-livia-blackburne/ and my non spoiler review for the second book, Daughter of Dusk, here https://mollyeyablog.wordpress.com/2015/05/24/daughter-of-dusk-midnight-thief-2-livia-blackburne-none-spoiler-review/ . Like the books, this novella did not disappoint. I give it ten stars! I already love the world and enjoyed diving back into it, the plot was awesome and the charterers were the best. It’s narrated by James 🙂 This is recommended for fans of Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard and The Young Elites by Marie Lu. Keep in mind that although this is a prequel for a YA series, the novella itself is borderline NA. It’s free on kindle for a limited time, so if you’re thinking about getting it you should get it now. You’ll thank me later.
Summary (Goodreads): 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.
Non spoiler review: As I was saying, this was AMAZING. James is my favorite character from Midnight Thief and Daughter of Dusk, and I was so happy when I found out this existed. You can read this novella before you read the books or after; it can stand on its own. I read it after, so for me it was about reconnecting with old characters. I wish there were tons of books about James! He’s such a complex character with tons of action going on in his life, and did I mention I’m in love with him? If you haven’t read this yet, I really don’t know what you’re waiting for.
Spoiler review: My only complaint about this is that it was too short. I would have loved a full series about James, but I am still grateful I get this.
I can see why James falls for Thalia. If I had to make a type for James, I would describe her. She’s a tough, bad-ass assassin, just like he is. I liked her, maybe even more than I liked Kyra (But it has been a while since I’ve read about Kyra). I was a little sad we didn’t get to see their love story really develop, but I feel like we really got to know Thalia in only 86 pages. I already knew James, but I still swooned every time he opened his mouth. One of the things I liked about the series is that all of the good guys and the bad guys are questionable. It’s the same here. James and Thalia are trying to kill someone. I’m not saying the man they’re trying to kill isn’t a bad person, because he is, but that doesn’t excuse murdering him. We’re basically reading a story about two villains that force us to sympathize with them because of their terrible childhoods, but in reality they’re just as bad as the man they’re trying to kill. I thought about why we don’t hate them when they clearly admit to being assassins. and I think it’s because we’re reading their thought process, and that little voice in their heads that justifies themselves is convincing us too. So kudos to Livia Blackburne for creating characters that feel real even in almost surreal circumstances.