Review: Poison Princess by Kresley Cole


Poison Princess (Arcana Chronicles #1) by Kresley Cole
Young Adult / Paranormal
2012-10-02 (Simon & Schuster )

Rating: A+
Heat: Sweet

Heroine: Evangeline Greene – Sixteen, Magical
Hero: Jackson Deveaux – Eighteen, Survivor
Setting: Louisiana, USA



I was nervous and anxious and a tad apprehensive to read this book. Kresley Cole is one of my ABSOLUTE favorite authors. If she writes it, I will read it. As proven by the fact that the moment this was available to preorder – I did. And yet, as excessively excited as I was, I also worried. Needlessly, let me tell you. It rocked. It rolled. It annihilated my expectations. And reaffirmed exactly why Miz Cole is an auto-buy author for me.

Poison Princess is not the same ol’ YA schtick. There are no vampires, werewolves, or angels to be had. Not a one. Instead, the twenty two cards of the Major Arcana tarot deck come to life—the Empress, the Magician, Death, etc., each of which possess unique powers and abilities—in a post-apocalyptic world.

Told both Before Flash and After Flash, there are two distinct tones and settings.

Before Flash is a world that feels very ‘of the times,’  where the teens act like teens. They’re not idealized. Some of them cuss, or drink, or smoke—and (gasp!) some of them are even having sex. And, as our heroine—Evie Greene—is from a well-to-do family, they have expensive tastes. Flashy clothes, fast cars. Skies the limit. Which served as an extreme juxtaposition for the world After Flash. Putting the characters at a bigger disadvantage, giving them more things to overcome.

After Flash, when the world has been ravaged by what could be solar flares (or not…), when anyone unlucky enough to be outside was turned into ash (or worse…), life is no longer easy and is filled with myriad hard limits. Limited food. Limited survivors. Limited women. Militias form, cannibalism becomes a reality, and slavers begin stealing people. It’s a very gritty and murky life for a teenager to be faced with.

And, oh my goodness, does Evie have a lot to overcome. She was, quite simply, a great heroine. She never truly frustrated me. She's not stupid, she's not weak. Thrust into tough situations time and again, she has to learn how to survive in a setting that comes with a steep learning curve. To say she struggles would be an understatement. But, c'mon. She's sixteen. She went from pampered rich girl to scavenger and survivor. She's going to make mistakes. She's not automatically going to be a she-woman survivalist who can skin animals with her teeth and kill people without a second thought. It felt real, and it felt right. She’s human, she’s resourceful—she isn’t infallible.

Then there is Jackson Deveaux (aka the Cajun I am now ragin' for). He’s used to fighting and constantly having to protect himself from danger. He’s a survivor. Rough around the edges and more than a little bit crass, he can come across mean at times. But his meanness comes from a hurt and damaged place deep inside. And, really, him and Evie spar verbally pretty equally. She delivers some barbs herself. The tension and animosity between them doesn’t rest solely on his shoulders. Besides, as a whole, I see him as simply trying to toughen her up. Give her a thicker skin. Actually give her a fighting chance in this new post-apocalyptic world.

Jack and Evie made my heart pang. The road they’re forced to walk down is hard. A constant battle. Life or death. It’s an extreme situation that brings out both the best and worst in them—as well as in the secondary characters. The cast of this book as a whole is fantastic. Guys and gals alike. Supernatural or simply human. The good and the evil. They’re all so vivid and unique and interesting. I’m invested in them and their journey and outcome 100%.

Which is probably why I stayed up till 3:30a to finish this. There was no good stopping point. No moment where things slowed down. I had to keep going, had to know what happened next. And the ending… it left me breathless. I was so keyed up and full of sympathy adrenaline that sleep evaded me for nearly an hour. Scenes from the book kept popping into my head.

Poison Princess is full of myths and magic. Unrelenting action. Drama. Romance. It plays out in your head like a movie. Makes you invest. Care. It throws curves at you - some real humdingers – and keeps you guessing. Miz Cole has written such an energetic and dynamic story that both teens and adults will be captivated. It has, quite simply, ensnared my mind and my heart.

And the second book cannot come out soon enough! I want it. Bad. The wait, it’s going to be torture. I expect I’ll be rereading this one over and over, between releases, like I do Miz Cole’s other books.

Favorite Quote:

I had to know what the look in his eyes promised.

He was staring at my lips, and before I could think better of it, I’d wetted them.

“That’s it, bébé,” he said in a coaxing rasp. “Ma bonne fille.” My good girl.

He wrapped one of his arms behind my back, cupping my chin with his free hand. “Evangeline, I’m goan to kiss you until your toes curl, until we’re breathing for each other.”

That was the promise. . . .


Thoughts While Reading:

0.0% - "It is delivered! Waiting on my front porch. I think I'm feeling feverish. *cough* Sick day?"
14.0% - "Love the Cajun French. So sexy."
100.0% - "Love, love. Stayed up till 3a to finish!"


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