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Wednesday, January 8, 2014

REVIEW: "Poison Princess" by Kresley Cole


Poison Princess (The Arcana Chronicles, #1)
Poison Princess by Kresley Cole
(Arcana Chronicles #1)

Goodreads -- Amazon
Author Website

For Ages 14+ (violence; language)
Young Adult -- Paranormal/Dystopian
Simon and Schuster -- October 2, 2012
Hardcover, 369 pages
Purchased from Books-A-Million

THEMES
First Person Narrative, Dystopian, Magic, Zombies, Cliffhanger  

SUMMARY
She could save the world—or destroy it. 
Sixteen-year-old Evangeline "Evie" Greene leads a charmed life, until she begins experiencing horrifying hallucinations. When an apocalyptic event decimates her Louisiana hometown, Evie realizes her hallucinations were actually visions of the future—and they're still happening. Fighting for her life and desperate for answers, she must turn to her wrong-side-of-the-bayou classmate: Jack Deveaux.

But she can't do either alone.

With his mile-long rap sheet, wicked grin, and bad attitude, Jack is like no boy Evie has ever known. Even though he once scorned her and everything she represented, he agrees to protect Evie on her quest. She knows she can't totally depend on Jack. If he ever cast that wicked grin her way, could she possibly resist him?

Who can Evie trust?

As Jack and Evie race to find the source of her visions, they meet others who have gotten the same call. An ancient prophesy is being played out, and Evie is not the only one with special powers. A group of twenty-two teens has been chosen to reenact the ultimate battle between good and evil. But it's not always clear who is on which side.

FIRST LINE
"She's so lovely, so fragile."

MY THOUGHTS
I should start off by saying that I am a huge fan of Kresley Cole's adult paranormal series (Immortals After Dark).  I was intrigued by her shift to YA fiction, but, since that is a genre I also enjoy, I figured I would give it a shot.  I was particularly interested in how her world building and skills at writing sexual tension would translate to a different age group.  Well, after reading Poison Princess, I have to say that I was impressed at how well Cole did.  It was not a perfect book, but I found it to be creative and highly enjoyable.

There are three main parts to the plot of Poison Princess.  First, there is the heroine Evie attempts to get back into the swing of a normal life after going through treatment for mental illness.  She is terrified that her hallucinations will return and just wants to graduate from high school and leave her hometown forever.  Then, the story follows Evie's life after a mysterious apocalyptic event where she has to escape ruthless militia, blood-drinking zombie-like creatures, and her own demons.  And, finally, readers get to see an encounter between Evie and a mystery guy named Arthur that provides an action-packed ending (all from Arthur's point of view).  I do want to warn potential readers that the first chapter deals with Evie and Arthur before jumping back in time so it can be confusing.  Just keep reading and everything will make sense by the end.

Evie seems like a standard Southern rich girl from a small town.  But, it is quickly revealed that Evie's life is not perfect or normal.  She has been suffering from "hallucinations" for years and they became bad enough that her mother put her into treatment.  Now, Evie is back home and her main goal seems to be get through high school without anyone knowing what she was really doing all summer.  Things are further complicated when she starts showing signs of having mysterious powers.  Despite her initial introduction, I really liked Evie.  She is a bit on the spoiled side, but is pretty nice and sensitive to others.  It is said that she is friendly to almost anyone which makes her more relatable to readers.  Her real strength is shown after the fall when she is forced to deal with dangerous situations while trying to find the origin of her visions and increase her control over her powers.

Poison Princess is truly Evie's story, but there are other characters that are key to her journey.  The most obvious one to mention is Jack Deveaux, a Cajun bad boy who transfers to Evie's high school shortly before the fall.  Jack is intrigued by Evie from the moment he meets her, but resists his feelings because of their social differences.  These two meet up again after the fall and work together to get through the treacherous landscape.  While I did like Jack and understood where he was coming from with his insecurities, I did find him to be a jerk for quite a bit of the book.  His treatment of Evie was inconsistent with him wanting to hang out with her and then berating her for not knowing certain survival skills.  He did make up for some of the jerk moments by the end, but I think he has a long way to go to being a worthy YA hero.

One of the things I loved about this book was the creativity.  The Arcana element is one that I haven't read about before and I found myself fascinated by the different personalities and how they linked together.  It does take time for Cole to get everything laid out and explained for the reader, but, once she does, it is so much fun.  The book summary mentions an ancient battle that is being played out by the members of the Arcana.  While this only really comes to play in the end, I love the idea and am excited to see more in the next book.  Things are definitely not black and white when it comes to who is on whose side which is just a blast to read.

Overall, I thought Poison Princess was a good introduction to this series.  The main character is easy to relate to and provides a good role model for readers.  The paranormal aspect is extremely creative and shows how good Kresley Cole is at world building even in YA fiction.  I definitely think the sequel will be better now that the initial world building is complete and the battle is just getting started.


4 STARS

STEAM LEVEL
Blush -- Kisses with no/minor touching.


FAVORITE QUOTES
---Hey, you've still got your endangered hymen. Which means you'll make it to closing credits - I'm s.o.l.

---Remember my titles? I don't get poisoned,I do the poisoning.I'm the princess of it. 


BOOKS IN THE SERIES
1. Poison Princess
2. Endless Knight
3. Untitled (Coming 2014)

CHALLENGES READ FOR
http://paranormalbookreviews-kelly.blogspot.com/2013/11/2014-reading-challenge-seriously-series.html 

1 comment:

  1. I have an arc of this book that I've never read, so I'm glad to hear that you enjoyed it so much. I'm interested in how Evie's mental illness plays a part in this book, and to find out about the creative world building. I'm a little nervous about how I'll handle Jack, but I do like the idea that he could grow up a lot in the series. Usually YA heroes are pretty perfect to begin with, so to start with one that is not is interesting. Thoughtful review!

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