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Poison Princess (Arcana Chronicles, Book 1)

Poison Princess - Kresley Cole Check out this review on our blog!


Review

4.5 Stars

***MAY BE SOME SPOILERS. IT DEPENDS. I THINK YOU'RE OKAY THOUGH.

First things first, kudos and hats off to author Kresley Cole! Not only is she an amazing writer, this is her first YA novel!! Cole writes an intricate novel woven with secrets, prophesies, romance,and, oh yeah, the apocolypse. Okay. Second point, IF YOU ARE READING THIS BOOK, DO NOT GIVE UP HALF WAY. FINISH IT AND ALL WILL BE EXPLAINED. Also, don't judge the book this time by the cover; trust me, it's waaaay better than some cheesy romance. There are so many things I want to say in this review, so to make it easier, I'm going to split it up into a few different sections: Characters, Plot, Style, Complaints, and Overall.


CHARACTERS

Evie: Evie just wants to be a normal teen, but these visions she's been having for about 2 years is definitely going to ruin her reputation in her little town in Louisiana. I have to say, Evie is the most un-annoying "popular-blonde-got-self-conscious-issues-and-is-dating-jock-and-is-cheerleader" protagonist I've ever read about. Most cheerleader-blondies that pop up in YA novelties seem to be (stupid) bubble heads. It was quite an interesting choice, I have to say, for Cole to pick this sort of character. I think the main reason Evie was created as a "spoiled" princess character in this book was to contrast to how Evie develops, or "hardens" into in the end.

I was a bit frustrated with Evie; for a girl who's been getting psychic visions sent to her of the "baloney" apocolypse, I suppose she took it a lot better than I ever would, but still....she was sort of useless for about 80% of the book. If you know me, and about how I HATE "rag-doll" (so useless they might as well be rag dolls) female protagonists, you would know that I was just a BIT annoyed. After the "flash," Evie must survive out in the world with Jack, a french exchange student in which she shares a hate-love relationship (dear god, is it ever annoying. Like, REALLY annoying.) Evie can't cook, she's mean to Jack while expecting him to take care of her, she can't do any physical labor (she's a cheerleader twig, remember?), and she really is just a dead weight. Oh, by the way, (is this a spoiler? I don't know; you learn it quite quickly in the book) she can't use her "special plant powers" because she doesn't want to be seen as "weird" by Jack. How annoying, right?

However, I did enjoy reading how Evie develops in this story. She goes from powerLESS to powerFULL by the end of the book. I really liked how Evie knows that she does have a brain in her head and manages, quite a few times, might I add, to tap into that brain power from time to time. As most superheroines, they seem to always REJECT the idea that they've gotta save the world from everything evil. Unfortunately, Evie takes about until page, hmmm.... 340 out of 384 to accept her fate? Yeah, sounds about right.

I gotta say, I really like the way Evie turns out! Also, I love that Evie can "control," or rather give life to plants, and therefore "control their wills." I don't think I've ever read a post-apocolyptic book with a girl who can control plants in it!

Jack (or J.D, if you so prefer): JD is a ladies man. It also doesn't hurt that he has a "killer" (I quote from Selena) french accent. This dude's got a lotta problems. When you learn about his backstory, you really can't help but feel a little sorry for this guy. But then your sympathy (*cough* pity) quickly evaporates when you learn how (man-piggedly [haha, is that a word?]) he treats anyone with a bit of extra estrogen and curves.

What pissed me off about Jack was his attitude towards girls. Surprise! No, but really, I'm pretty sure in this book, he tells Evie that his "belles" are always in HIS possession. What are we, toys? Ugh. Don't mean to be a total feminist, but still. Calling a person someone's possession, a thing? Don't get me started.

And that's a wrap on how I feel about Jack. :)

Arthur: Okay, so when you read the prologue, you're going to get creeped out by this guy. Seriously, though, you can't really judge the book based on the prologue or its cover. A) I'm sorry Kresley Cole, but your cover artist was NOT that great. B) The prologue is as creepy as shit, but it's supposed to be like that. It does not, even for a second, compare to how great the rest of the book is. But don't skip it. It's important. I know some of you all out there skip prologues. Why would you ever do that? It's part of the story!!! You won't get the full experience unless you read the prologue, darn it!! Don't skip the prologue or drop the book cause of this freaky prologue. IT GETS GOOD, I'm telling you!

SOOOOO, anyway. To get back to Arthur. Yeah, he's as freaky as hell, but have no fear, all will be explained in the end. He's not really that important....so don't focus on his creepiness too much, okay? I think he was added in to make the story line/style/narration more interesting. I'll tell you more in the Style section, okay?

Selena: Yaaaaah. Did. Not. Like. This. Chick. Period. If Cole's purpose was to create instant dislike towards this character, Cole seriously succeeded. I feel like if I were to talk about her anymore, I'd say some pretty potty-mouthed words, and I'd rather not do that here. Let's just say she's a womanly "interference" to the "Jevie" (a.k.a. Jack + Evie relationship) going on, and causes all the hub-bub/rift/hatred between Jack and Evie. WHICH I did not appreciate, by the way.


PLOT

To be honest, this plot wasn't really the most original I've seen, but it was certainly entertaining. A deck of tarot cards with each card representing a kid with insane super powers? Each kid is destined to try to kill the rest in the post apocolyptic world? Sign me up! I'll read it!

For only the first book, a lot of stuff sure took place in the story. I'm pretty happy with how things are progressing, if not a little annoyed that most of the action took place in the last 50 or so pages in the book.


STYLE

Okay, the way Poison Princess is narrated is definitely not the norm. It's written similarly to The Oddyssey, obviously not in a poem format; it's written in media res, or in the middle. Yup. When the story starts, it is in Arthur's POV as he explains what he feels/sees/thinks as Evie walks into his house for shelter. He asks Evie to tell her story, as a way to pass time in order for his drug to take effect. As Evie tells her story, it switches into her POV as if she is actually telling the story. Throughout the book, it switches back into Arthur's perspective as it fast-forwards to the "present time" to state what Arthur thinks of Evie's story.


COMPLAINTS (...er, well, more so than already)

My only real complaints for Poison Princess was that it was a bit sluggish in the middle, as well as very action-packed in the last 50 pages. Although action is a great way to induce a cliff-hanger feeling for readers, sometimes it's better to spread the action through out the middle and beginning of the story.

My other final complaint would be some of the characters of this story. Evie and Jack's on-and-off-again relationship was a bit tiring. One second Evie would be dying to taste his rugged, rough, schmexy, alluring, wicked lips, and the next, she'd hate his guts. No comprendo. This is why, to this day, I still do not understand girls or boys. Heck, I don't even get myself!


OVERALL IMPRESSIONS

Overall, I was quite satisfied with this story. I loved how the little hints were dropped where I didn't expect and didn't realize until the end where everything was revealed. I, at least, was pleasantly surprised with the ending. I don't know about others, but I seriously hadn't guessed what was going to happen with Evie and Arthur! Maybe I was tired, but my overall impression of this book was great!

My only real warning for readers of Poison Princess is that Kresley Cole, an amazing writer, had written mainly erotica and romance novels before writing her first YA novel, Poison Princess. If you hadn't guessed already, there is a spot in this novel that includes some pretty descriptive romantic scenes, but isn't too graphic. For the weak-stomached I would suggest you skip that part.


Poison Princess is definitely an unforgettable novel that I enjoyed immensely. All I have to say is: DON'T GIVE UP IN THE MIDDLE OF THE STORY. It's worth reading until the end, and you won't be satisfied without it. Good luck and have some great reads, everybody!

Rosie @ YA Novelties