Publication Date: March 12th, 2013
Sixteen-year-old Kyra, a highly-skilled potions master, is the only one who knows her kingdom is on the verge of destruction—which means she’s the only one who can save it. Faced with no other choice, Kyra decides to do what she does best: poison the kingdom’s future ruler, who also happens to be her former best friend.
But, for the first time ever, her poisoned dart . . . misses.
Now a fugitive instead of a hero, Kyra is caught in a game of hide-and-seek with the king’s army and her potioner ex-boyfriend, Hal. At least she’s not alone. She’s armed with her vital potions, a too-cute pig, and Fred, the charming adventurer she can’t stop thinking about. Kyra is determined to get herself a second chance (at murder), but will she be able to find and defeat the princess before Hal and the army find her?
Kyra is not your typical murderer, and she’s certainly no damsel-in-distress—she’s the lovable and quick-witted hero of this romantic novel that has all the right ingredients to make teen girls swoon.
(Courtesy of Goodreads)
What a breath of fresh air this book was! Seriously. When it came in the mail, I looked at the cover, and immediately (mis)judged it as something that was going to be really silly and juvenile, and I am happy to admit (as long as no one tells my husband) that I was totally wrong. Poison is a really well-written YA Fantasy that will likely have a very broad readership. It's got great characters, a well paced plot, an innocent romance, lots of unexpected twists, and a whole lot more. Also, it is squeaky clean, so it's perfect for those advanced elementary school age readers who want to venture into some more challenging books, without losing their innocence. Poison is one of those all-ages reads that would be great as a read-aloud to kids, but also engaging and smart enough for the most jaded YA readers, myself included.
So you get it... I have much love for this book, and although I briefly mentioned my reasons above, her is where I will elaborate. I thought this book was a lot of fun. The themes weren't heavy, and I didn't go to bed hashing the events I just read out in my head. The story was fast-paced and full of action and adventure, with a lot of funny events along the way. The story went back and forth between adventure and fun, with little twists here and there to keep the reader on her toes, but not so many that it became confusing. It was fresh and original. There was no real love triangles or insta-love, which is almost unheard of in YA. I would like to give you an overview, but there is too much potential for spoilers, so I will leave it at this... You will want to keep turning the pages because you are intrigued by the story and at the same time, having fun.
The characters were also great, and there were many, but I'm only going to talk about a few. Kyra is a pretty kick-ass heroine; Lethal with her poisons, a well trained fighter, and super smart, but she is also kind of awkward and insecure, and I loved that. Over time on the run, she had become a very solitary person, so when Fred comes along, she doesn't quite know what to do with him. And speaking of Fred... Such a cutie. I could not, for the life of me, figure out why she was always trying to get rid of him, because I thought he was just great. He made me laugh, and he got her out of more than one bind. My favorite was Rosie the pig though. I wish I could reach into the book and grab her to keep as my own pet. She provided just what this book needed to keep it light, and fun. I mean, come on, what is there not to like about a tiny, magical pig?
The last thing I must mention is the world in which this story took place. I thought the author did a great job drawing the reader in by really bringing the setting to life with her words. Her descriptions were great, and she really captured not only the physical environment, but the emotional climate. The main characters covered a lot of ground in their travels and adventures in this book, and I always thought the world-building was solid. In the Fantasy genre, worlds are often either way overdone, or not built up enough. This book had a whole lot of "just right" going on.
The only thing that sucks about this book is that it will be the only one. Sadly, the author, Bridget Zinn, passed away shortly after writing Poison. It is such a tragedy that her life was cut short, before she got to share more of her amazing talent.
My Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ½
Grade Level Recommendation: Like I mentioned before, this book is squeaky clean. No cursing, sex, or other inappropriate content. This book is 100% suitable for all ages.