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The Bent Bookworm

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Poison or Protect: A Delightfully Deadly Novella

Poison or Protect: A Delightfully Deadly Novella - Gail Carriger
She would not run if he offered her his body; she would if he offered his heart.

Well, wasn’t this a romp! I confess I was a little disappointed in the tamer nature of Gail Carriger’s last completed series, the Finishing School books – but as they were for a YA audience I understood it and thought she handled the romance aspects of that series with aplomb. This little piece brought back all the spice and sizzle of Soulless, with an intriguing flair for readers of the Finishing School series, as we’re already acquainted with the main character! This is quite a different look at Preshea, as you might expect. Not a book for the middle-school readers, ou-la-la. You d0n’t, however, have to have read any of the prior books to enjoy this one.

Poison or Protect is a novella, so the plot, while there, isn’t terribly exciting, and after all it’s a romance, straight-up. In fact, this might qualify for the “bodice-ripper” category of one of my reading challenges this year…not my usual cup of tea at all, but this is Gail we’re talking about. The prose is what I’ve come to expect from her – by turns sharp, witty, heart-melting, and hysterical.

“He smells like Christmas – fresh pine boughs and spices. What right has a man to smell so good?”

Knife-edged Preshea makes an appearance in usual form, but we get to see that flawless exterior crack (creek episodes not withstanding) here, despite her better judgment. And with a burly Scottish captain, no less. Scottish is definitely not what I would have pictured her with, but it definitely works. Works very well. I needed a glass of cold water after completing the read! The supporting cast is just as entertaining as can be and provide a wonderfully colorful background for the two main characters.

Preshea, unflappable though she might be, was flapped.

I am eagerly awaiting the next installment in this little side series, which I’m delighted will also be in a print version at some point. For what it is, it gets 4/5 stars. It doesn’t have the pretense of being anything other than a romance set in an already established world, and for that it does very, very well.

Then there’s the impending release of Imprudence, which I’ve also had pre-ordered for oh, what, a year? It feels that long, at any rate!