Thursday, November 3, 2011

Book Review: Poison, by Sara Poole

Poison shocked me a bit. I knew there was corruption in the Catholic church, especially during the Renaissance, but I was unprepared for the blatant use of power and money to get what was desired.

And, in this case, what was desired was to be the Pope. Poole tells the story through the perspective of Francesca Giordano, who has taken over after her father's death to serve the position as poisoner to Cardinal Rodrigo Borgia. Francesca's only goal is to avenge her father's death, but as she becomes close to the Cardinal, the infamous Lucrezia Borgia, and the Cardinal's son, Cesare, she realizes that she must become much more involved since her father's murder is tied to the Cardinal's quest for the Papacy.

Francesca is a kick-ass heroine. She isn't perfect -- in fact, she's a murderer -- but I still felt compelled to root for her. She's confused about love, being attracted to the glass maker who helps her with her quest, but also becoming romantically involved with Cesare. Somehow, these imperfections make her more human and sympathetic.

The danger is palpable, and the filth at times, made me gag (the part about the moat, if you've read this one.) I read this one on my Kindle; the pacing was brisk, and I had no idea the book was over 400 pages. Historical fiction is always my favorite, and this book really hit the spot. While it's an adult book, I can recommend this to teens who have an interest in a fascinating mystery/adventure, based somewhat on historical fact.

Published by St. Martin's Griffin, 2010
eBook purchased for my Kindle
416 pages

Rating: 4.5/5

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  1. I really love a good historical fiction too. This book sounds really interesting based on your review. I love that the main character is a murderer but you still root for her! That's some great writing there! I'll have to pick this book up sometime soon now!

    Kristan @ Lost Amongst the Shelves

  2. Sounds like a fun read. Like Kristan, I love good historical fiction.

  3. Those Borgias were some crazy people, huh? :O I love that you said the pacing was so brisk you had no idea the book was so long. I'd only been putting this one off because I was intimidated by the page count. Now I can move it up! Thanks!

  4. Ok, I've since read this one now. Eewwww that moat scene was gross. The fact that Francesca recognized the danger of it make it seem even more disgusting for some reason.

    As corrupt as the Borgias were portrayed in this book, I felt like the author was trying to make them look as favorable as possible. They came across a lot better than they have in the non-fiction readings I've done on them (which, admittedly, is more cursory than in-depth).


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