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Tuesday, September 02, 2014

Book Review - A Touch of Poison

Time for another book review! I received A Touch of Poison by Aaron Kite from the LibraryThing Early Reviewer's program.



Here's the summary from Amazon:
Gwenwyn is the most miserable princess ever, and for good reason. Merely brushing up against her or touching her exposed skin is enough to cause painful burns, or worse. And if that wasn't enough, she's just discovered the singular reason for her existence - to act as the king's secret assassin, murdering neighboring princes with nothing more than a simple kiss.

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I'm finding myself sort of on the fence about what I thought about this book. On the one hand there wasn't anything I truly disliked about it. On the other it wasn't something that was able to really catch my interest. I'm sitting somewhere in the middle, I guess, thinking that it was okay. It's not something I'll likely read a second time, but it wasn't a bad book, either.

I think the problem is that the book never really found its plot. There was so much potential for this to be interesting- I found the idea of a poisonous protagonist to be novel and intriguing, but the book never really panned out and reached what it could have been. If this becomes a series with later books, then the framework that the author built for the main character and her love interest could be enough to expand upon. Here, though, it just felt too simplistic.

The story became repetitive rather quickly, which was my biggest problem with this book. The two antagonists continuously foiled the protagonist's plans, which works in theory and can create good conflict, but... it just didn't work here. It felt like the same thing over and over and I'll admit to skimming paragraphs to get past this. This was kind of a shame because the author's writing style and descriptions are good and the story itself is pretty well written. (Well, I wrinkled my nose a little at the instances of the word "anyways" in the narrative, but other than that the writing style was fine.) Unfortunately I found myself repeatedly losing interest whenever the protagonist was interacting with her father and his lackey.

That was another thing that left me wanting more: the lack of characterization. The antagonists were very flat. The main character had a little more personality, but I don't think she was enough to carry the rest of the characters who didn't. There was potential for the love interest, but by the time he entered the story it was too late to really help. There was also potential to have more characterization with the protagonist's best friend, but she didn't really get enough page time to grow as a character, either.

I did enjoy the last quarter or so of the story. Once the love interest arrived and the plot involving the protagonist's best friend kicked in, the story started moving along at a much better pace. It was unfortunate that this was as the story was resolving because it meant the more interesting part was rather rushed. I'm thinking this book could have been improved if some of the repetitiveness of the beginning had been trimmed down and this action moved earlier into the book and expanded upon, but the end did resolve itself nicely.

I'm going to give this book three stars. It's not bad by any means, but it doesn't stand out, either. I did like the author's style of writing and the general ideas behind the story, so I'll likely read more by Kite in the future.

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