Reviews for An affair of poisons : no one looks kindly on the killer of a king

Kirkus
Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

A teenage alchemist and a disgraced royal bastard scheme their way through a magical reimagining of pre-Revolutionary Paris.Mirabelle is a provisional member of her mother's Shadow Society, an underground group of nobles working to overthrow Louis XIV. A talented alchemist, she can create potions to ease suffering or cause horrific death. Unbeknownst to herand to her horror and dismaythe Society uses her skill to assassinate the king. Josse is one of the Sun King's illegitimate children, resentful of his half brother the dauphin, and in the chaos caused by his father's death, he flees Versailles with his siblings. Told in alternating perspectives, Mira and Josse try to stay alive, to quell the chaos plaguing Paris, and to use their strengths and abilities for good instead of ill. An author's note discusses the real-life Affair of Poisons and Catherine Monvoisin, called a "Duchess Among Witches" and portrayed here as a sinister, heartless villain. There's enough in here to interest readers with a taste for fantastical historical fiction, alchemy, and political machinations, but flat characterization and a flatter romance keep this from a broader appeal. Descriptions of mysterious illnesses, deadly smoke creatures, and villainous nobles liven the story but can only carry the uninspired writing so far. Two minor characters are described as brown-skinned; others are assumed white.Based on true events, Thorley's debut is somewhat forgettable but shows promise nonetheless. (author's note, additional reading) (Historical fantasy. 14-18) Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.


Horn Book
(c) Copyright The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

After seventeen-year-old alchemist Mirabelle unintentionally helps assassinate King Louis XIV, she renounces the uprising led by her mother's Shadow Society to brew curatives for the impoverished masses in secret. Meanwhile, Josse, the king's bastard son, must flee to the sewers of Paris to protect his beloved younger sisters and decidedly not-beloved half-brother, the crown prince. An exciting debut novel packed with poison, rebellion, action, and romance. (c) Copyright 2019. The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.


Book list
From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission.

Thorley's debut is an imaginative historical fantasy rooted in the very real Affair of Poisons a seventeenth-century plot to assassinate France's King Louis XIV. Mirabelle, an alchemist, and Josse, Louis' bastard son, narrate from opposite sides of the growing unrest between Paris' gentry and commoners. Mira brews and distills tinctures for the Shadow Society run by her mother, La Voisin. This secret organization cares for the city's poor, but its mission becomes considerably more grandiose when Mira is instructed to create a potent poison intended to help the society overthrow the monarchy. As the plot is put into action and the king murdered, Mira rejects the society's violence and Josse secretly escapes from the castle with his royal siblings. Alienated from their respective communities, Mira and Josse form a reluctant alliance to aid the commoners. Thorley pulls magic and monsters into this exciting historical episode, but the corrupt and powerful (on both sides) are quickly revealed to be the true monsters. An author's note with background on the actual Affair of Poisons enhances this intoxicating read.--Julia Smith Copyright 2019 Booklist


School Library Journal
(c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Gr 9 Up-This debut novelist manages to set the tone, introduce the characters, and kill the King of France all in the first chapter. Seventeen-year-old Mirabelle has followed in her father's footsteps, as the Alchemist for the Shadow Society (a group led by her mother that brews curatives for the people of France). But when Mirabelle is tricked into making a deadly poison for King Louis XIV, her world is turned upside down as her mother makes a play for the throne. After his father is poisoned, Josse, the king's bastard son manages to help his siblings escape and go into hiding. In alternating chapters, readers follow Mirabelle's journey to righting the wrong she never meant to commit and Josse's path to finding out where he fits into the royal family. Teens will appreciate this historical novel with a hint of magic about a time period that has not been overly explored. Though a bit gory at times, Thorley's descriptions do not go over the top, but leave readers with just enough detail to set the scene. Even the obvious romance that develops manages to add to the plot and doesn't overpower it. VERDICT This fast-paced and refreshing page-turner is recommended as a first purchase for all libraries serving teens.-Elizabeth Portillo, Easton Public Library, CT Copyright 2018. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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