Nenia Campbell's Reviews > Poison

Poison by Sara Poole
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Mar 06, 14

it was amazing
bookshelves: publisher-st-martins-griffin
Read from August 15 to 18, 2012



If Poison Study had been written by Philippa Gregory and taken place in Renaissance Italy, you would get something fairly close to Poison. I've been searching for a book like this for quite a while, actually. It features some of my favorite fictional motifs: butt-kicking female protagonist, assassins, herbalism, court intrigue, and whodunnitry. In other words, pure awesome.



Francesca Giordano ends up becoming Cardinal Borgia's new poisoner/taste-tester when she kills off her competition in a dramatic display of her own abilities. Borgia, being a Borgia, is impressed, and hires her on the spot (while keeping her under guard at all times - because she is, after all, a poisoner). Francesca uses her position to find out more about her father's murder, so she can seek revenge on his killers. Her hatred only intensifies when they find her running errands in the city in disguise and rape her.



Is it a little cliche? Um. Yes.



I am grateful that Poole did not linger over the rape, or eroticize it, or any of that other crap that sometimes gets pulled in historical-fiction. Francesca reacted in a fairly realistic way: scared, sick, injured, and angry, and more determined than ever to kill them for being such disgusting pigf**ks.



Meanwhile, the Borgia family is experiencing some difficulties of its own. Somebody really, really does not want the cardinal to become pope, and has no qualms about using his own family against him as blackmail. Pope Innocente is quite mad, as are those who are in his employ (or just, you know, terrified senseless), and rivals Count Elizabeth Bathory in terms of f**ked-upedness. He suckles at the breasts of nursing mothers for strength, and drinks the blood of young boys because he believes it will give him strength.



As Francesca goes about doing her job, and trying to disentangle herself from these various mysteries, she is also caught between two very different men: Rocco, the gorgeous but humble glassmaker, and Cesare Borgia, her employer's son. I thought it was a little odd that Cesare was three years younger than her. Poole really made him over-sexed then, because when he was thirteen and Francesca was fifteen, he tried to sleep with her for the first time, and now he's sixteen and she's nineteen and they go at it like rabbits.



Don't get me wrong, their chemistry was definitely something else and the scenes were as tasteful and well-written as everything else. I just wish Cesare hadn't been so young. I don't want to read that stuff! It makes me feel like a pedocougar.

Despite this book's more disturbing moments, Poison is beautifully written and extremely addicting. Apparently Sara Poole is a pseudonym for a NY Best-Selling Author who decided she'd like to try her hand at writing historical fiction. Why are some of my favorite books written by authors with pseudonyms? I ran into the same problem with The Assassins of Tamurin by S.D. Tower.

TELL ME WHO YOU ARE. I WANT TO STALK YOU AND YOUR OTHER BOOKS. ;(





4.5 stars!
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Comments (showing 1-7 of 7) (7 new)

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message 1: by Lynsey (new) - added it

Lynsey   • The Demon Librarian Hmm, sounds like there's some slightly icky content in there, but I loved Poison Study so it's being added to my list. Thanks for the review :D


Nenia Campbell Lynsey (The Demon Librarian) wrote: "Hmm, sounds like there's some slightly icky content in there, but I loved Poison Study so it's being added to my list. Thanks for the review :D"

No probs! The sequel is a bust, though. Just pretend it ends with book #1. (:


message 3: by Lynsey (new) - added it

Lynsey   • The Demon Librarian Nenia wrote: "Lynsey (The Demon Librarian) wrote: "Hmm, sounds like there's some slightly icky content in there, but I loved Poison Study so it's being added to my list. Thanks for the review :D"

No probs! The ..."


Oh no! I hate it when that happens. (I kinda like to pretentd Poison Study ends at book one, too).


Steph The first lines of your review convinced me that I need this book in my life


Nenia Campbell Yay! Just stop at book #1. Book #2 was not very good. :(


Steph That makes me sad =(


message 7: by Sophie (new) - added it

Sophie Can't wait to get a round to this book!


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