Sixteen-year-old Evie Greene thought her horrific apocalyptic hallucinations were a sign that she was slowly losing her mind. But when her visions come true, decimating the world around her and killing everyone she loves, Evie is forced to accept that she was seeing the future.Fighting for her life and desperate for answers, she turns to wrong-side-of-the-bayou classmate, the gorgeous and dangerous Jackson Deveaux for help. As Jackson and Evie race to find the source of her visions, they meet others who have got the same call and discover that Evie is not the only one with special powers. An ancient prophesy is being played out, and as the battle between good and evil intensifies, it is not always clear who is on which side…
Hardcover, 384 pages
Expected publication: October 2nd 2012 by Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers.
Three stars: A promising start to a dystopian series with magic and danger.
Evie seeks refuge in a warm home. Arthur promises her food and shelter in exchange for her story of survival. Little does she know that he has dark and horrific plans for her. The warm fire and food sooth her tired nerves as she begins her tale. Evie used to be a normal, pretty and popular sixteen year old girl. She hailed from a wealthy family and had few concerns. That is until she sees haunting, terrifying visions of an apocalyptic future and voices start screaming through her head. Convinced she is having a psychotic break, Evie's mother ships her off to a psychiatric hospital. Evie returns home and tries to hide that she is not cured: she still has visions and hears voices. Evie begins school, reuniting with her best friend Mel and her handsome boyfriend. This year, there are some new students at the prestigious school. Kids from the bayou, Cajun kids. This poor, rag tag group turns some heads! Especially, the rugged and ripped Jackson who seems to have eyes for Evie. Soon all the petty problems of high school are forgotten as the Flash rips through the world and changes everything. Now Evie along with the remains of humanity are in a fight for survival. Evie realizes she wasn't crazy and that there must be more to her visions and the voices. Can Evie uncover the mystery behind her terrifying dreams and find out why she is hearing voices?
What I Liked:
- This book is definitely different! It is a combination of dystopian and fantasy with magic and paranormal characters. At the heart of the story are the Arcana. Unique individuals who unknowingly are the incarnate of the figures depicted in a tarot deck. The Arcana after the Flash are coming into their powers. I enjoyed meeting the different personifications of the Arcana. Granted, not too many are introduced in this book, but I am confident there will be many more
- I enjoyed the male protagonist, Jackson. He is layers of complexity and there is so much more to him than the poor, bayou kid. He is strong, fiercely loyal, courageous, protective and determined. When this boy puts his mind to something he is bound to get his way. Underneath the hard exterior is a soft heart. He is certainly swoon worthy for all you gals out there looking for a new male crush.
- This book opens with an absolutely chilling, depraved serial killer type character. He gave me the creeps! I loved that this book immediately pulled me in with this macabre scene.
- I liked that Evie's character progressively grew and adapted along the way. I also enjoy books that show a marked change in the protagonist. The final showdown between Evie and the bad guy was well worth the wait!
And The Not So Much:
- The biggest turn off for me was Evie. Even though I admired her growth, she is a character that constantly annoyed me. She is weak for the majority of the book. She is constantly crying and unable to stand up for herself. Thankfully, by the end she undergoes a major transformation that ensures that the Evie in the remainder of the series will be more along the lines of a kick butt girl.
- The romance in this one is frustrating. Jackson is smoldering hot and has his heart set on Evie, but she constantly treats him like garbage. So much so that I wanted to reach in the pages and shake her to her senses. There is some smoldering tension between the two throughout but it never reaches its potential. It is set up to be one of those antagonistic romances that bursts into attraction, but at this point, I am not sure how is going play out. If you enjoy romances with lots of tension this will be sure to please, but prepared for a bit of a let down.
- Another aspect that was extremely disappointing for me was that The Flash, the big apocalyptic event that destroys life as we know it, is not fully detailed. There is so little discussion or explanation on this destructive shift. Instead the book spends fifty pages relating Evie's high school life, which ends up being so boring in comparison to the rest of the struggle. I plodded through these typical pages of high school drama anxious to get to The Flash and find out what happened. Then it is glossed over. You would think a big monumental, life changing occurrence would entail pages of descriptions, but there aren't. This lack of detail in the world building is frustrating.
- The major plot of this book involves the Arcana, their powers and so forth, but again this area needed more development. I do like this idea and am interested to see how it will be expanded upon. Not to mention, Evie's grandmother seemed to hold the key, but we never get to meet the grandmother.
- Finally, this book ends on a cliffhanger. It isn't a heart pounding throw you book across the room ending, but it occurs just when Evie is finally putting on her big girl panties and ready to step up. This last act was redemption for me, without this transformation, my rating would have been lower.
- This is a book for mature readers. There are plenty of dark scenes, also teen drinking and violence.
The Poison Princess is a promising beginning, there are hints of many great things to come, but overall it was a book that failed to thrill me. The best thing about this novel is the sexy, Cajun French speaking Jackson. The whole book could have revolved around him. I am hopeful for greater things in the second book.
“She loved to sing; her voice sounded like two cats in head sparring in a traffic cone.”
“Doan scoff at the liquor, Evie. What else on earth can disinfect, catch an enemy on fire, and get you drunk?”
“I ain’t making excuses for ‘em. Just think you women civilize us men. Without you around, we...devolve or something.”
“Seemed he was no longer concerned about this growing girl’s bra ultimate bra size. Because he’d shut those thoughts down.....”
A big thanks to ATWT for allowing me to review this ARC copy. All quotations are from the Advanced copy and may vary at the final printing. All opinions expressed are my own and I received no compensation for this review.
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