Saturday, 4 May 2019

An Affair of Poisons by Addie Thorley Book Review

This is a spoiler free review.

An Affair of Poisons
Written by Addie Thorley
Genre: Young Adult/Historical Fiction/Fantasy
Publisher: Page Street Kids
Release Date: February 26, 2019
Pages: 377
Source: Library
Places to Get this Book: Amazon Barnes and Noble Book Depository

Recommended Age: 13 and up!


No one looks kindly on the killer of a king. 

After unwittingly helping her mother poison King Louis XIV, seventeen-year-old alchemist Mirabelle Monvoisin is forced to see her mother’s Shadow Society in a horrifying new light: they’re not heroes of the people, as they’ve always claimed to be, but murderers. Herself included. Mira tries to ease her guilt by brewing helpful curatives, but her hunger tonics and headache remedies cannot right past wrongs or save the dissenters her mother vows to purge.

Royal bastard Josse de Bourbon is more kitchen boy than fils de France. But when the Shadow Society assassinates the Sun King and half of the royal court, he must become the prince he was never meant to be in order to save his injured sisters and the petulant dauphin. Forced to hide in the sewers beneath the city, Josse’s hope of reclaiming Paris seems impossible―until his path collides with Mirabelle’s.

She’s a deadly poisoner. He’s a bastard prince. They are sworn enemies, yet they form a tenuous pact to unite the commoners and former nobility against the Shadow Society. But can a rebellion built on mistrust ever hope to succeed?

(Summary from Goodreads)


An Affair of Poisons is Addie Thorley's debut novel which is set in the reign of Louis XIV, but with a twist of events. I saw this book in the library and I knew nothing about it but read the synopsis and was immediately hooked and had to read it. It is a brilliant debut that does not disappoint!


I really like the simplistic cover and how pretty it is. I think it is a nice cover to have for this book. I also like how it only includes two colors as well which contributes to the simpleness of the cover but also makes it fairly elegant.


An Affair of Poisons is a historical fantasy which is set in the reign of King Louis XIV, however it has a major twist of events. This is based on L'affaire des poisons which was a major murder scandal in France during the reign of King Louis XIV which resulted in 36 conspirators executed. I loved getting to know the time period and the world in which the book took place and it was fun to see so many well known places be mentioned.

Then there are the characters.


Mirabella is the daughter of La Voisin (who is the leader of the Shadow Society) and is a fierce and courageous
heroine. She is an alchemist who creates the poison that kills King Louis XIV (but is unaware that that's who she created the poison for). When Mirabella finds out that her mother is planning to reform France and control it with her Shadow Society, she is furious and escapes, running into Josse. Mirabella shows how fierce she is and how independent she can really be. She's also very smart and knows how to make many poisons and cures in her alchemy lab which I loved!


Josse is the bastard son of Louis XIV, but he is a servant in the palace. He resents some of his half siblings because they are treated better by his father. When Louis XIV is executed by the Shadow Society, he and some of the other royals go in hiding until they run into Mirabella. I really liked how brave he was and how much of a fighter he was. I also loved his dialogue as he was very funny and sarcastic. While he wasn't as strong of a character as Mirabella, he was very likable.


Mirabella has a complicated relationship with her family, seeing as her mother uses Mira to create poisons and then distributes them however she sees fit, often not informing Mira. Also, Mirabella's father is dead which is hard for Mira as well. Mirabella has a sister and a brother but she isn't always sure if she can trust them either as they also work for their mother who Mira soon learns can not be trusted.

Josse, also has a complicated relationship with his family. Since he is the bastard son of King Louis XIV, he works in the kitchen and thinks he's unloved by his father. He spends a lot of time with his younger sisters, though and I adored his relationship with them.


An Affair of Poisons is a historical fantasy which is set in the reign of King Louis XIV, however it has a major twist of events. This is based on L'affaire des poisons which was a major murder scandal in France during the reign of King Louis XIV which resulted in 36 conspirators executed. In this book, we follow two main characters with alternating POVS (Mirabelle and Josse). Mirabelle is the daughter of La Voisin (the leader of the Shadow Society) and she created the poison that killed Louis XIV as well as many other royals. However, she didn't know that she was killing the king or that her mother had a whole plot to take over France and reform it to her and the Shadow Society's desire. So, when she finds out, she runs away and that's when she bumps into Josse who is the bastard son of the King and on the run from the Shadow Society. Together they make an alliance in order to take down her mother and the Shadow Society.

I really enjoyed the plot and thought it didn't lag much at all and I flew through it pretty fast. It was very dark and atmospheric and the plot was fairly fast paced and tense which made me really want to find out what happened. Also, I love how it's a standalone and was done well so almost everything was wrapped up by the end.


The romance was so cute in this book and while it wasn't an enemies to lovers romance, it had a few of those elements. Mirabella is originally seen as the enemy to the royals and Josse however, she proves that she is on their side and then friendship and later romance blossoms.


Addie Thorley's writing was very immersive. Her descriptions were all lush and rich and she really paid attention to details which made the story that much more enjoyable. She was able to keep the plot intense and fast-paced without sacrificing the character's individual personalities and voices. I really can not believe that this is a debut novel as her writing already seems so developed.


An Affair of Poisons was a memorable debut full of intrigue, poison, Paris flair, romance and bits of history. I loved how she used a historical event and put a twist on it. I loved everything about this book and I highly recommend it to historical fiction lovers.

Quotes from the Book:

None Yet!

My Rating: 5 out of 5 Crowns

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