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Poison Dance

(Midnight Thief ##0.5)

3.69  ·  Rating details ·  876 ratings  ·  227 reviews
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 fo ...more
Paperback, 86 pages
Published September 24th 2013 by Lion's Quill Press (first published September 12th 2013)
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Asteropê I believe it's intended to be a prequel/intro to the series, so before book 1 should be fine. It was released before book 1 was published, so presumab…moreI believe it's intended to be a prequel/intro to the series, so before book 1 should be fine. It was released before book 1 was published, so presumably it'd be fine to read it before book 1. Though I'm sure you could read it any time during the series. (less)

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Average rating 3.69  · 
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Start your review of Poison Dance (Midnight Thief, #0.5)
Sep 22, 2013 rated it it was amazing
***Review posted on The Eater of Books! blog***

Poison Dance by Livia Blackburne
Publication Date: September 12, 2013
Rating: 5 stars
Source: eARC sent by the author

Summary (from 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 ri
Livia Blackburne
Aug 23, 2013 added it  ·  (Review from the author)  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: books-by-me
ETA: I've been getting a lot of questions about preferred reading order for Midnight Thief vs. Poison Dance. You can see my official recommendation here.

I originally conceived of James as a supporting character in my novel Midnight Thief, and I quickly fell in love with him. As the enigmatic leader of the Assassins Guild, James was cool, competent and intriguing. He was the type of character who invited questions. How had he come to power at such a young
Faye, la Patata
Dec 04, 2013 rated it really liked it
Get a chance to win up to $100 in Amazon giftcards here! You can also buy the book for $0.99!

I was first approached by this author after I added The Midnight Thief to my To-Read list on Goodreads. The summary hypnotized me from the get-go. Assassins in a medieval-like fantasy backdrop has been one of my favorite settings in fiction. There's just something really intriguing about it because I always associate this kind of set-up with politics and conspiracies, internal or outside of the assassins
Mogsy (MMOGC)
4 of 5 stars at The BiblioSanctum

When I first saw the intriguing description for the upcoming book Midnight Thief, I just knew I had to check it out. But with a release date of summer 2014, it was going to be quite the wait. So it was a pleasant surprise when I was contacted by the author and asked if I would like to read and review the book's prequel novella, Poison Dance. Needless to say, I eagerly accepted; I hadn't even known there was a prequel, and
Emily Anne
Oct 14, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Fans of Tamora Pierce and Cinda Williams Chima:D
Wow! Poison Dance was an amazing novella that left me salivating for Midnight Thief. The story is one you don't want to miss!

For those of you just hearing about this novella, Poison Dance is a novella surrounding James, a supporting character in the upcoming Midnight Thief. Also note, the novel Midnight Thief will be published by Disney-Hyperion in Summer 2014, so you can read this novella now to excite you about the release and get a early look into the world Livia Blackburne has created.

High F
May 14, 2014 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ya, fantasy
A story about an assassin written by an author who has a PhD in neuroscience from MIT?

Is it just me or does that sound like the coolest thing ever?! I mean, it’s not like I expected the whole neuroscience thing to come into play at any point in the book (and let’s face it, my brain is allergic to science so it’s not like I’d understand it anyway if it did), but still, I just think it’s cool.

Poison Dance is actually just a sort of tie-in novella to the author’s debut book, Midnight Thief, in whi
Minni Mouse
I wanted to start a light and Young Adultey new series, and this one did the trick just fine. It's hard to rate short stories but this one was entertaining enough. In eighty-six pages, we got a decent go at a medieval-like setting for assassin guilds, quests for revenge, blink-or-you'll-miss-it romance, and brief intrigue. It's almost like reading about the male version of Celaena from The Assassin's Blade.

In other news, look at that girl on the cover. Doesn't she have the nose of Natalie Do
Jessica ❁ ➳ Silverbow ➳ ❁
This novella is pretty excellent, but it's also incredibly misleading.

1. It's written as NA, and therefore has a much more mature feel than the book itself, which is firmly YA, and has even been described more than once, as feeling almost middle grade.

2. The entire purpose of this prequel is to give you background information on a central character from the book, but once you've read the book, the novella was pointless, b/c it absolutely did NOT accomplish what it intended (which in my opinion
Kira Simion
Nov 13, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: got-for-free

Thank you Aneta for telling me about this free offer! I love free things, especially books!

The blurb sounds pretty wicked (in a good way) and I can't wait to give it a try.

Edit: 4.5 stars!

Once again I am proven wrong! This novella was action packed, sad, and makes me want to read Midnight Thief even more. I never felt that short stories would be as good as long ones because they miss details (not like not needed ones, but more adventure and excitement and a climax that has been built
Kirsty (Amethyst Bookwyrm)
This and my other reviews can be found at

Thanks to Livia Blackburne for giving me this book to review.

James is one of the best in the assassin’s guild but with the new leader feeling threatened and out to get him, he just wants to find a way out. He finds an opportunity in a troubled dancing girl Thalia who will aid him in exchange for him helping her kill a noble man. With the guild falling apart, will James be able to help Thalia and escape before it is
Dec 27, 2013 rated it it was amazing
The nitty-gritty: A short but powerful introduction to Midnight Thief, with a compelling and very focused story that made me ache for more of this world.

He handed her a stiletto the length of her hand and molded her fingers around the handle. Her hands were slender and her nails were delicately rounded, though her palms were calloused. The two of them stood in the cramped space between his bed and the window, holding the blade between them.

Poison Dance is a prequel novella to Blackburne’s upcomi
Jan 02, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Poison Dance by Livia Blackburne is a prequel novella to her upcoming novel Midnight Thief. It tells the story of a certain Assassin’s Guild member that I’m hoping we come to know in Midnight Thief and convinces me further that I need Midnight Thief IMMEDIATELY. Poison Dance manages to pack world-building, character development, feels, and “OMG what just happened??” all into one little novella; I’m impressed! Also I don’t normally read novellas, so hopefully that tells you something >.>.
Note: I
Aneta Bak
Dec 28, 2013 rated it it was amazing
"The rumors are right. Your guildleader is dead."

Poison Dance is the prequel to Midnight Thief. It's about James, a young and skillful assassin. When he hears news that his Guildleader is dead, he knows that the Assassins Guild is falling apart. And when a mysterious dancer named Thalia asks for his help, he has to decide whether to fight and become the new leader, or flee away from the possible danger.

This novella was way better than I expected. I absolutely love characters like James! He's ho
Jan 20, 2014 rated it really liked it
Poison Dance, a the prequel to the highly anticipated book Midnight Thief, is a short story about an assassin who tries to help out a dancer get her won revenge.

"If you can't rely on strength, you rely on stealth. Surprise is your strongest asset, so make sure the first time kills."

It's my first time reading a book set in a medieval era and based on an assassin. And I'm very disappointment that it was so short. The story achieved to reach my interest with mysterious characters, some funny plot
Rashika (is tired)
*This mini review has also been posted on Tangled in Pages

This novella is good. Great in fact. The problem is that I feel no connection. I felt detached the whole time I read this. There was no connection between me and the characters, hell that ending didn’t do anything for me either.

Which is why I am confused. The atmosphere is dark. The world building incredible. But the characters. I can see them for the strong people they are but there is no connection there. I can admire them and apprecia
Feb 08, 2014 rated it really liked it
Poison Dance is a very brief introduction to the beginnings of a war between a guild of assassins and a group of noblemen who use their station to get away with all manner of misdeeds, giving us an all-too quick glimpse of something we can’t wait to know more about. Reading this novella is like looking through a telescopic lens at a fixed point – our view is narrowed to a specific moment time and place, but we know that just beyond the periphery lies a much larger word full of shadows and villai ...more
Nov 21, 2013 rated it it was amazing
This review can also be found at my blog, There were books involved...


When I recently heard about Midnight Thief , I was immediately super excited. I've been in the mood for more YA fantasy, and this new series sounds like exactly what I love: thieves and assassins and knights and capers! It sounds give-it-to-me-now fantastic. So when Livia Blackburne emailed me, saying she saw that I'd added Midnight Thief to my Goodreads shelf and would I like to read the pr
Dec 17, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
(This review can also be found on my blog -Spare Reads-)

Poison Dance is the first self published work by Livia Blackburne. This novella serves as a prequel to Blackburne's upcoming novel Midnight Thief, which has been scheduled to release in July 8th 2014 (publisher: Disney-Htperion). I must thank Livia for giving me such a wonderful opportunity to read her work. It has been an absolute joy and I was thoroughly intrigued. I know many of you are skeptical towards self published novels, but Poison
Apr 13, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy, young-adult
The only bad thing about this novella is the cover: in the story, James is dark and rugged, a cold and ruthless assassin, who is yet capable of depth and feeling - much different than the eager, blonde, high school water polo player pictured on the cover.

The cover aside, this is something I've been longing to see: a well-written, no fluff, fantasy story set in an older time period, starring roguish characters fighting against a corrupt nobility. There are too many George R.R. Martin imitators o
Elisabeth Wheatley
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 certai
Dec 01, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: egalleys
4.5 out of 5 stars

So, assassins are cool, right? Well, when I first read about Livia Blackburne's upcoming release, Midnight Thief--which is about assassins--I knew I wanted to read it. Lo and behold, Livia has written a short prequel novella to help tide us over, since Midnight Thief isn't out until July (!!!). This novella, awesomely named Poison Dance, more than just tides you over, though. Upon finishing I NEEDED Midnight Thief and I needed to see James and how he turned out.

You wouldn't thi
Dec 21, 2013 rated it really liked it
I haven’t reviewed a novella in quite a while so it’s nice to get back into the swing of things. The author was really nice in giving me a chance to review this too. Hehe. So, since this work is of a shorter length, my review, also, will be of a shorter length.

Poison Dance was a great introduction to the author’s debut novel that will release later next year, Midnight Thief . Her writing is very strong, giving us character insight, description, and plot build up without wasted space of filler
Jun 14, 2014 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Poison Dance is a prequel novella, and it's about James and the Assassin's Guild. It's a bit difficult to say if you ought to read it before or after The Midnight Thief, but I read it after and it worked pretty well.

James is a young assassin in the Guild in this novella and it gives us a bit more of insight into his character and how he became the man that we meet in Midnight Thief. Things are unstable in the Guild and the seeds of the organization as it is on Midnight Thief are all in here.

Teresa Mary Rose
More Reviews Here: Readers Live A Thousand Lives

This was a super quick read and one I really enjoyed. It is the perfect set up for the upcoming Midnight Thief series. It introduces the reader to the world and sets up all the danger and intrigue that is to come. I was excited for this series to begin with, but now I really cannot wait to get my hands on the first full length novel. This seems like exactly my kind of series.

James and Thalia were interesting characters and they worked well together
Dec 04, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I was kindly sent this eBook novella by the author in exchange for an honest review. many thanks L.B.!

this didn't let me down at all! I loved it! this is the first time I've read a prequel novella before I'd read at least the first book in the series, and I was a little nervous about how I'd feel about it. I was able to fall right into the world, the characters were immediately engaging and lovable.

my copy also featured a first chapter preview of midnight thief, which was amazing as well! I se
Christina (A Reader of Fictions)
As you probably know, I’m not much for novellas, but I will read them if I can get them for free one way or another. In this case, I was actually offered a review copy ages ago but I was indecisive until it was too late to respond. Then I was getting ready to start Midnight Thief and my brain was all “what about that thing?” so I went to look it up on Amazon. Lo and behold, it was available for free, so away I went. All told, Poison Dance is very much a novella and not super heavy on the plot, b ...more
Jan 02, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: novella, fantasy
I'm never sure if it is a good idea to read a prequel before the actual book. In some ways, you might get a glimpse in to the world and the characters lives before the story happens, but in other ways, it can just mess up the actual main book for you. Such is the case with this one. I liked this story, and I liked the character of James. He is a person that I was sympathetic to and wanted to do well.

This is a slight problem when coming in to the main book, Midnight Thief, because I have many as
Jessalyn King
Jan 16, 2014 rated it it was amazing
This was good. Reminded me a bit of the lowlife in the Tamora Pierce world. I thought she did a decent job of writing a male character, although what do I know. At least he didn't necessarily sound like me (see my complaints from Beautiful Creatures series). Looking forward to the full-length books.
La La
Jul 16, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: on-my-kindle
I rated this three stars, but it is more like 2 1/2. The writing was too plain in descriptors and dialogue. To me it read like and un-fleshed out draft. I just don't know. The first chapter of Midnight Thief was included with this prequel novella, and it didn't grab me either, so as it stands right now I won't be reading Midnight Thief any time soon, if at all.
Sep 21, 2013 rated it it was amazing
This is a great short story! I can't wait for Midnight Thief to come out. I'm so glad I read this, it was amazing!
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New York Times bestselling author Livia Blackburne wrote her first novel while researching the neuroscience of reading at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Since then, she’s switched to full-time writing, which also involves getting into people’s heads but without the help of a 3 Tesla MRI scanner.

She is also the author of MIDNIGHT THIEF (an Indies Introduce New Voices selection), DAUGHTE

Other books in the series

Midnight Thief (2 books)
  • Midnight Thief (Midnight Thief, #1)
  • Daughter of Dusk (Midnight Thief, #2)

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