About This Book:
Book 2 in the Lady Slayers series, about French murderess and fortune teller Catherine Monvoisin
In 17th-century Paris, 19-year-old Catherine Monvoisin is a well-heeled jeweler’s wife with a peculiar taste for the arcane. She lives a comfortable life, far removed from a childhood of abject destitution—until her kind spendthrift of a husband lands them both in debt. Hell-bent on avoiding a return to poverty, Catherine must rely on her prophetic visions and the grimoire gifted to her by a talented diviner to reinvent herself as a sorceress. With the help of the grifter Marie Bosse, Catherine divines fortunes in the IIle de la Citee—home to sorcerers and scoundrels.
There she encounters the Marquise de Montespan, a stunning noblewoman. When the Marquise becomes Louis XIV’s royal mistress with Catherine’s help, her ascension catapults Catherine to notoriety. Catherine takes easily to her glittering new life as the Sorceress La Voisin, pitting the depraved noblesse against one other to her advantage. The stakes soar ever higher when her path crosses with that of a young magician. A charged rivalry between sorceress and magician leads to Black Masses, tangled deceptions, and grisly murder—and sets Catherine on a collision course that threatens her own life.
*Review Contributed by Olivia Farr, Staff Reviewer*
POISON PRIESTESS is an intriguing YA historical fiction that follows Catherine Monvoisin, a fortune teller and infamous master of poisons. Catherine was born into poverty and longed to be free of all the chains that hold her down. As she grows older and marries, she finds her own version of freedom with her married facade. However, when she learns that her husband's debts will land them in ruin, Catherine decides to take matters into her own hands. She begins by making money as a fortune teller, and when her fortunes become prophetic, she rises to the level of the court.
As she becomes embroiled in the world of the wealthy, Catherine must redefine who she is and what she wants. Her fear of poverty and search for stability make her susceptible to the intrigue and dangers of politics and power. At the same time, her intensity carries her through to new heights of her own power.
What I loved: The plot was really intriguing, and there were some interesting themes about politics/power and socioeconomic divides. I appreciated the inclusion of an LGBT romance, though it was mostly background during the book. The powers that she has and those of others, real or fake, were intriguing, and I would have loved to dig deeper on them.
What left me wanting more: I would have liked to dive deeper in Catherine's character and really understand more of her past than the little bit that we see. Similarly, we only understand a little of the decisions she begins to make later, some with dangerous consequences. A deeper dive into the characters could have added more intensity and deeper emotions to the read. I also would have loved additional context to the romance, as we know that it exists and the letters and so on that they send, but it mostly happens off-page.
Final verdict: Intriguing themes and a fascinating historical character make POISON PRIESTESS an interesting YA read. Would recommend for people who enjoy a fast read about a delightfully dangerous woman.
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