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A Gift of Poison

(The Kingmakers' War #1)

3.89  ·  Rating details ·  1,361 ratings  ·  112 reviews
As the orphaned niece of a cruel lord, Briand is the scapegoat of the castle. She has few friends and even fewer options, and every day is a struggle to stay ahead of trouble caused by malicious guards and irritable castle servants.

Briand is set to be banished to the wildlands, a death sentence, when she accidentally unlocks a hidden power and involves herself in a rebel p
Paperback, 1, 286 pages
Published October 24th 2014 by Createspace Independent Publishing Platform (first published October 12th 2014)
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NoNo JoJo There are hints toward a romantic relationship between two characters, but they don't get together in this book. There are a lot of implications of se…moreThere are hints toward a romantic relationship between two characters, but they don't get together in this book. There are a lot of implications of sexual assault, though (stable guys and other random goons leering at/attacking the main character).(less)

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Average rating 3.89  · 
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Sylvia Mercedes
I'm running a giveaway for this amazing book and the next two in The Kingmakers' War series. If you'd like a chance to win, be sure to sign up for my reader group!

 photo GiveawayBanner_zpsateukkmv.jpg

I’ve been seeing Kate Avery Ellison’s name and books around for a while now, but FINALLY decided to pick up book 1 in The Kingmaker’s War. It looked like it might be the kind of epic I would enjoy, and I do love a scrappy heroine.

Briand definitely falls into the “scrappy” category. As an orphan living with a awful uncle, she’s
Kirsty (Amethyst Bookwyrm)
Thanks to Xpresso Book Tours for giving me this book to review.

Briand is the orphan niece of a cruel lord, she has very few friends and everyday her life is tormented by malicious guards and servants. Just before she is sent to the wildlands, practically a death sentence, she unlocks a hidden power and becomes involved in a rebel plot and her life changes forever. She is held by a group of rebels led by the enigmatic Kael, who want her to do the impossible and call up the sleeping dragons. With
Jessica (The Psychotic Nerd)
This and other reviews can be found on The Psychotic Nerd

I received an ecopy of this book in exchange for a honest review

I adore Kate Avery Ellison's books and she's one of my favorite indie authors, so I was quite happy to read another one of her books!

This book is about a girl named Briand. She lives with her uncle in his castle, and he hates her. In fact everyone seems to hate her and she's always getting into trouble. If she causes any trouble, she'll be banished and sentence
Nov 27, 2014 rated it did not like it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Catherine Mehra
Nov 17, 2014 rated it really liked it
I loved this book. Great characters and loved the chemistry between them all. I did feel the ending was a bit rushed and I do hope that in the following books, more history of the land will be revealed. Definitely an author to follow - cannot wait for more of her books, in particular, the next story Briand!
Jul 16, 2018 rated it did not like it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
NoNo JoJo
Jan 02, 2020 rated it it was ok
Shelves: arc
Preface: I received a free copy of this novel in exchange for an honest review.
Actual rating: 2.5 stars
Tl;dr: I would not recommend purchasing this story.

This book ain't good. I tried to give it the benefit of the doubt, as I'd already read another book by this author and didn't enjoy it, but ultimately that attempt fell through. This book has a lot of issues.

1) Briand is consistently mistreated by everyone around her for no real reason (or at least none that is explained). Her uncle hates her,
Miscellaneous Allie
I won't star rate this because it's legible and I DNFd at 3% so I can't say I gave it enough of a chance to rate it. But I was so bored. I didn't care about this rude bitch. The protag commits dire crimes that are portrayed as cute Lil Dennis the Menace joshing and then you're supposed to be shocked that everyone hates her. Well, I hated her too and couldn't be arsed to keep going because it's generic and unlikeable.
Somewhat entertaining, but I won’t be continuing on with the series.
Feb 13, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: fantasy
I received an e-copy of this book in exchange for an honest review, as part of the Read It and Reap Program. This book was quite frustrating to read, because you can tell the author is on the right track to creating a wonderful, fantasy world, but she doesn’t quite get there. Our main character is Briand, a tomboyish orphan who lives in her Uncle’s castle and is reviled by everyone(which we never really find out WHY everyone hates her so much). Briand is discovered to be a dragonsayer, someone w ...more
Allison Grace
Dec 14, 2015 rated it liked it
Actual rating: 2.5 stars. Thank you Xpresso Book Tours for the review copy- and sorry for the late review!

I was supposed to have this review up by December 4th... it's the 14th- OOPS. In my defence, I finished the book before that, but finals and exams ruined my entire sleeping, reading and eating schedule indefinitely, and I'm just getting my life together.

The story was good for the most part. I think the highlight for me was Briand's character. She was likeable, but wasn't entirely terrible. A
Feb 04, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: hidden-gems
This book was right on the edge for me. In the beginning we meet our MC Briand who is an orphaned niece of a very cruel uncle. His and her back-story was a little confusing as we really have no idea why he dislikes her so much, except that he was in love with her mother. What that little bit of information is supposed to tell us, I don’t know. The guards and servants of the castle do not like Briand at all and treat her like a dog. There is also no explanation to this except for maybe the fact t ...more
Heather M Jones-Lancto
Aug 31, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy
Kate Avery Ellison, who is the author of the Frost series now has a series is called The Kingmaker's War. In the first installment of the Kingmaker's War, A Gift of Poison", our heroine, Briand is an orphan, living with her cruel Uncle, and barely getting by on her own. She is viewed as the castle troublemaker and has earned the nickname "Guttersnipe". Briand's actions get her banned from the castle, on the verge of being sent to the woodlands, when she discovers her cousin is involved with a se ...more
Tiera McMillian
Decent start to what seems like is going to be an epic adventure. The first half of the book seemed to drag a little. Also, I have major beef with how the other characters treat the MC. I mean for Briand to be treated this way not just by her uncle but EVERYONE is just crazy. There is really not much back story describing what she could possibly have done to make everyone in her whole area hate her and act accordingly. She doesn’t try to complain and most of the time doesn’t even try to explain ...more
I read a few reviews before reading this. I knew what I was in for with some of the stuff. I agree with other reviewers about the abuse in this. Briand comes around too fast to the ones that tormented her. I get what the author was trying to do but I think she might have been better off with a different approach. Being ignored, no one really caring. People openly trying to hurt or kill her was a bit much. For a girl who had to fight to survive, she didn't seem all that adapted to protecting hers ...more
Dec 02, 2015 rated it did not like it
Shelves: ya-na, fantasy, just-awful
This review contains spoilers!
The setting/premise of this book was ... weird. But not in a bad way. It was a motley of airships, dragons, thieves, usurper princes, betrayal, and lots and lots of horseback riding. Unfortunately, I think there was so MUCH going on that the plot kind of fell by the wayside. I liked the steampunk vibes I got from the airships and the electricity wired in homes, but it was a bit hard to picture with the rest of the setting.

The good: The world building in this piece
E Varady
Apr 22, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Some disturbing themes

Not thrilled with the abuse themes in this book and how everyone around Briand blames her for the abuse. That's seriously twisted and wrong, but never gets addressed. I also had a hard time with her lack of fighting back; it wasn't a statement of strength, but almost an acceptance of her victimization. Also twisted. I also think abuse victims gain some survival skills out of necessity so I expected her to read people better and have more of an instinct for avoiding traps an
Jessica Donegan
Good Reads recommended this book to me based on my previous reads and I enjoyed it.

It holds many of the same positives from the "Tree of Ages" series and the "Dragon Ridden" chronicles. They include: a strong female lead, a large eclectic ensemble cast, reclaiming old magic/tech many consider myth, and all of them are available through Kindle Unlimited. All of these series are great reads for readers of any age.

"The Gift of Poison" appears to be self-published and like any independent work it h
Jul 04, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The start of something grand.

I’ve been on a bit of a Kate Avery Ellison binge lately. Which somewhat surprising, but in a good way. Usually I can only read one or two of the same author in a row before needing a break. However, Ellison is able to craft a narrative that cannot help but draw the reader in. And it appears she has a habit of leaving stories with the reader wanting to know what comes next. Ordinarily this would be annoying (and probably is if you have to wait months for the next inst
Apr 07, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jul 31, 2018 rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Good book

This was a good book. I love how Briand has a strong personality despite the way she is treated. I like the way the characters are introduced to us. It did however lack a certain character development. Maybe that will be something for the next books in the series? Like I said, it was good and I would like to find out more, but I was not completely sucked into the book. I will read the next book in the installment though because there were some elements that piqued my interest. I got a h
Christina Weigand
Feb 12, 2018 rated it really liked it
A Gift Of Poison

By: Kate Avery Ellison

If you love dragons, magic and rebel missions this is the book for you. Briand will take you on a journey from nobody to savior of the world as she knows it.

The characters were well developed, although a little more backstory as to why they were where they were would have been nice. Briand appears to be a bad girl on her way to banishment from the only home she has ever known. An ability to speak to dragons is discovered just as she is on the verge of leavin
Dene Kelly
Characters with no redeeming qualities

Same themes you get in tons of fantasy books, corrupt leadership evil men and poor innocent girl, but in this case no depth or redeeming characteristics in either the heroes or the villains. Thin plot, including the made up card game that was described in enough detail to clearly show no skill required but only luck, yet winning was a mark of intelligence. Very disappointing in all aspects, kept waiting, hoping there would be something, anything, to like.
May 19, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: ebook, scifi-fantasy
This was a fun and easy read. I didn't care much for Briand at first but she got better towards the end of the book. I mean it seemed like she wanted people to like her but she kept getting into trouble and being defiant so that no one ever would. I got really sick of the word "guttersnipe."

There were enough typos that I took notice of them. I am forgiving of one or two but more than that is just bad editing.

I liked the journey the characters go through and the camaraderie they finally achieve
Dec 02, 2019 rated it it was ok
I was kind of surprised to find that I had quite a few of Ellison's books, so clearly I'm drawn to her ideas. The execution was a bit of a disappointment. The book could have used a stronger editor, or at least one more round of copy editing to fix typos and such. Mostly, I just couldn't wrap my head around why the main character was so mistreated. No explanation is ever given, and all the men in the story treat her like dirt, so, not exactly a girl power vibe going on. I mean, her main triumph ...more
Jennifer Kellie
Genre: young adult, fantasy, steampunk

Summary: Briand is ignored and disrespected by her Uncle and his staff. Left to her own devices she wanders the streets getting into fights. That all changes when she encounters a snake and discovers that she is more than she appears to be.

Review: Starts off as a pretty typical YA/steampunk novel, with a street-rat girl MC that resists all training, just to decide that she CAN be more. Later, it moves to a LOTR style fantasy. The twist was pretty good, and
Maria Jennings
This book was hard for me to finish. The only reason I stuck with it was because the rest of the series has a great review. I really wanted Briand to stand up for herself and find her voice. I also didn’t like how immature and impulsive she was. I prefer books were women embrace their strengths and this books wasn’t like that. I also had a hard time understand exactly what Briand was supposed to do for the real prince. I would have like a little more background and explanations.
Amelia Nichole Defield
Jan 20, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: fantasy lovers, dragon fans
I finished this story in one sitting, not because it is small, but because it is amazingly wonderful! I love each of the complex characters who have their own burdens, the character growth, the mystery!! Briand is such a great scrappy character who is constantly underestimated and misjudged, but learns to earn the trust of those around her. That twist at the end nearly gutted me. I couldn't believe it. I almost wanted to start reading this book again right after I finished it!
Feb 02, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The author lays a solid foundation for this captivating series. Strong female characters and equally strong men... Softness belies strength and the reverse is equally true. Well written, excellent character development, clever twists and turns in the story, romance and intrigue, and most importantly.... A knife-weilding female lead who can call dragons. If this one doesn't hook you, give the sequel a go. You'll be at book 7 before you know it.
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I've been making up stories since I was five years old, and now I'm thrilled to be able to do it as a full-time job. I have an obsession with dark fantasy, dystopian futures, and Pride and Prejudice-style love stories full of witty banter and sizzling, unspoken feelings. When I'm not writing, I'm creating digital art, reading funny blogs, or watching my favorite shows (which include TVD and BSG). ...more

Other books in the series

The Kingmakers' War (10 books)
  • A Bed of Blades (The Kingmakers' War, #2)
  • A Kiss of Treason (The Kingmakers' War, #3)
  • A Circle of Flames (The Kingmakers' War, #4)
  • A Shield of Sorrow (The Kingmakers' War, #5)
  • A Court of Lies (The Kingmakers' War, #6)
  • A Reign of Thieves (the Kingmakers' War, #7)
  • A Knife of Oblivion (The Kingmakers' War, #8)
  • A Crown of Ash (The Kingmakers' War, #9)
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