Cara's Reviews > Poison

Poison by Sara Poole
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's review
Mar 20, 2011

liked it
bookshelves: 2011, book-club

** spoiler alert ** I’m on the fence about this book. I want to like it. I think the premise is intriguing: a daughter taking on the reins of her father, a Poisoner for Cardinal Rodrigo Borgia (during a period where women really had no place outside the hearth) and her hopes to avenge her father’s murder. I must have missed why I should care about this girl, her father or the Borgia’s.

The boldness that Francesca’s story begins with, poisoning the Spaniard so she could assume her father’s position, gave me the impression that she was capable of great things, and she was on a mission. And, I think Francesca held up pretty well in the first half – up thru the Pope’s death. She was settling into her new job, realizing the responsibilities she now had…it seemed a good start. One lucky break later she succeeded in her first big task. I was good with the first half.

Then it all fell apart for me. Each plot twist was predictable based on an earlier setup. Francesca was in over her head, admittedly so, and I lost my faith in any prowess I thought she had with Poisons. Luckily, she had very good instincts (Epiphanies? Spidey sense? Lucky guesses?) when it came to being a detective, that always led her to Morozzi, and to finally to catch up to him. I almost think the main character in this story was Luck.

Apparently Francesca’s story is to be part of a series, which should help with all the loose ends from the first book (revenge on Morozzi , the Rocco/Cesare debacle that is sure to come, the mystery of the Lux), but it really bugs me that Francesca’s blackouts weren’t more defined by the end of the first book. I can’t tell if they’re helpful or allow her evil side to take over. Perhaps Francesca will redeem herself in the next part of the series, which is due in 2011: The Borgia Betrayal: A Novel

Considering the research that Sara Poole went through to try to make the book as historically accurate as possible, I’m surprised there isn’t very much about the Borgia characters or the shape of their world. I do wonder if I knew more about the historic timeframe and the Borgia’s, if I might have enjoyed the story more or if it would have made more sense.

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