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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.

Blurb and cover from Goodreads

5 out of 5 stars

As soon as I read the premise of this book, I knew I had to have it. I have a certain fondness of novellas, a soft spot for assassins, and an infatuation with high fantasy. I downloaded this and read it within a few days. When I got to the end, I probably should have cried or been upset or something, but I couldn’t because it left me…stunned and just a little bit numb.

The plot:

There wasn’t a whole lot of world building, just enough so we understand what’s happening and the implications of certain people doing certain things, etc. The story moves along quickly, without any “drag weight” and it ended far sooner than I would have liked. I do hope the author doesn’t villainize James too much in her first full-length novel coming out later this year just because I’ve started to think of James as one of “my babies” (a hypothetical collective of fictional characters who I take a special interest in and wish I could protect).

The characters:

The whole book with the exception of a single chapter and the epilogue is told from James’ perspective. The author did a splendid job of making him…I want to say “adorable,” but that’s not the right word. Perhaps “lovable” is, though she still did not let us forget that he is a killer for hire who is very good at his job and has a plan to off just about everyone. Thalia was definitely a match for James and they were beautiful together in a broken, damaged way.

Normally, I would go into a little more detail on the rest of the character cast, but since this is a novella, I’ll just skim over it. The bad people are definitely bad and it is just a little shameful for me to admit how triumphant I felt when I read the epilogue.

This story broke my heart, but did so wonderfully. If anyone loves a good fantasy and a tale about love, intrigue, and revenge, they should definitely give this a shot.

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