Sunday, December 16, 2012

Book Review: Poison Princess

Poison Princess
(The Arcana Chronicles #1)
Published By:  Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
Publication Date:  October 2, 2012
Page Count:  369 pages
Source:  Book Purchased by Reviewer
  Audience:  Paranormal/Post-Apocalyptic Young Adult
What did I just read???  How can a book that has a spoiled rich girl as a protagonist and a caveman-type boy from the wrong-side-of-the-bayou utterly engage me?  I have absolutely no idea...but it DID! 

"She's so lovely, so fragile.  Those haunted eyes.  Those rosebud lips...they'll scream so prettily." 

THAT was the opening sentence!  The prologue was actually a segment from the future (almost from the end of book one)...but it literally tosses us right into the deep-end with this hecuv'an opener...leaving me reeling and wanting to know what the heck was going on!   

Before I go on gushing about this book, I have to admit that during the world-building stage, I wasn't too sure about it...but the intrigue from that opener compelled me to continue reading on and am I ever glad I did as this turned into an epic read for me!  This post-apocalyptic/paranormal story was sultry, hot, tumultuous and exhilarating...especially once we got to the meat of the book!

Poison Princess is where the mythology behind the Tarot and survival of an apocalypse meet.  Evangeline Green (Evie) was a privileged girl...pretty, wealthy, at the top of the school's social ladder and dating the hottest and most popular boy at school.  She wasn't 'bitchy' but she had an untouchable air about her.  Evie had it all except for one thing she kept hidden--the one thing that terrified and confused her--from those around her for fear of losing her standing amongst her peers, which, truth be told, meant a lot to her at the time.  She had begun to suffer from hallucinations shortly before her previous school year ended--terrifying nightmares and hearing very distinctive voices in her head--which ultimately had her sent away during summer break to, for all intents and purposes, a mental institution for kids while her friends where having fun traipsing across Europe and yachting the seas.   Upon her return from summer break, she did her best to seem 'normal' but that was challenging at best.   Life had become a lot more complicated for Evie...and adding to that complication was the transfer of a group of students from the 'wrong side of the bayou', who, shall we say, turned things a bit upside down at school.  In that group of new students was the ultimate bad-boy, Jackson Deveaux. 

Before I go on (and on) about Jackson...I do have to discuss Evie first since she is the heroine of this story.  If anyone who what mostly makes or breaks a story for me, it would be the evidence of growth in a main character...and Evie definitely became someone that I could root for.  Behind that vulnerable confidence she possessed, Evie was a 'pleaser' and wanted everyone to like her.  She was used to being taken care of and had become inadvertently dependent on others.  However, after the apocalypse, she obviously had it pretty tough as you can imagine considering how fortunate she was before the cataclysmic event...dubbed the 'Flash'.  She was definitely a 'damsel in distress' at the very beginning...needing protecting and saving...but she tried in her slight ways.  As the days went by, she got tougher and tougher, and made some very difficult decisions, which sometimes surprised me.  We could also attribute some of her toughening up to her unlikely protector...Jackson Deveaux. 

From all the books I've read, I think I can safely give the Ultimate Bad-Boy Award to 'Ole Jack'.  He was rude, crass and belligerent at first, and truth be told, he was that way for pretty much most of the story.  Why did I like him?  That's a REALLY good question. But there was something about him that had me intrigued.  As the tough layers melted away...I sort of 'got him' little by little, even though I still balked many times at his reversions back to his old ways.  Jackson called it exactly how he saw it...never minced words.  He had a playful and mischievous side that I completely adored, so that was a big win-over for me, and I hung onto that when his alter hard-assed ego returned on occasion.  His protectiveness for Evie is hard to explain...he wasn't possessive but sort of was.  His protectiveness was endearing but sort of wasn't.  He was patient and impatient all at the same time.  There were times I loved him and times I hated him.  You'll see what I mean when you meet Jackson.  He's really an enigma...but a damn sexy one at that.

"Never in a million years could I have imagined that Jackson Deveaux would end up being my protector, a refuge from the voice, and a...friend.  If I wasn't careful, I'd do something incredibly stupid, like fall for him." ~p. 210

The romantic tension between Evie and Jackson was SMOKIN'!!   Again, at first, they seemed completely incompatible together but there was that huge spark that refused to be doused.  I sort of figured the classless boy would eventually bring the former queen of the school down a few pegs...but it wasn't that way at all...the dynamics changed between them and there really wasn't a point where I could pinpoint when that change took just happened.  There were trust issues on both their parts which had erected a rather tall and thick wall between them.  But the more time they spent together, they began to understand each other...and two unlikely people found they shared some common ground.   They shared some rather hot and steamy scenes as well, let me tell you!

All the characters (Evie, Jackson and supporting) were multi-faceted and were first introduced with an air of mystery about them....but I found they all clicked into place just as their purposes were being revealed.  I found it creative on the author's part to introduce them in this manner, even though it was confusing at times...namely Matthew's character.  Despite his cryptic messages to Evie...I was quite fond of innocent and adorable but also all-knowing.  I so did not like'll see why. 

There were triumphs and losses that would break your heart.  I loved how this story was based on the mythology and mysticism of the Tarot.   I have to admit I didn't know much about these special cards, but I have had psychic readings done years ago, and have always had a small fascination with them, so this aspect of The Arcana Chronicles did intrigue me.  I also loved that this story took place predominantly in Louisiana...a place I've always wanted to visit (prior to an apocalypse, mind you.)

Not really a spoiler, but one thing that did niggle at me was how Jackson and his 'wrong-side-of-the-Bayou' friends got away with their drinking on campus....they made no effort to hide this usually not accepted behaviour and we never got an explanation.

Sometimes, I can't explain WHY I loved a book so much, and I found it hard to find the right words that exactly describe my feelings about this first installment in the Arcana Chronicles, but I CAN say that I was totally addicted to it once the Flash took place, and while the ending wasn't a 'throw your book against the wall' cliffhanger, I totally need the next NOW!  And I AM looking forward to rereading this book before the next one comes out as there were so many clues given throughout the story, and I think I missed several.


#1 New York Times bestselling author Kresley Cole introduces The Arcana Chronicles, post-apocalyptic tales filled with riveting action, the dark mysticism of Tarot cards, and breathtaking romance.

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….



  1. I have this one on my kindle. Really looking forward to reading it. Sounds awesome.

    1. Karen, it really was awesome! I hope you enjoy it too!!

  2. I have got to get my hands on a copy of this book expecicially after reading your review!
    It sounds like the perfect read for me :D
    -Kimberly @ Turning the Pages

    1. Thanks MissKimberlyStardust! I hope you enjoy it as much! Soooo very good!

  3. I love the idea of this novel. To combine mythology and Tarot cards is oh-so-creative. It is pretty strange to a love a damsel in distress and the typical bad boy. I have never loved the kind of stories that contain these kind of characters. But there is definitely something in this book that got everyone raving about it.
    I am adding this to mY TBR
    As usual, a great review, Michael B
    Your reader,

    1. Thanks Soma! Yeah...these two (Evie and Jackson) are about as far apart as any couple should be...but they come work it with a lot of bumps along the way... Let me know what you think once you've read it!

  4. I am a huge fan of Kresley Cole's Immortals After Dark Series. Although I have not tried reading any of her other non-related work to the PNR series (i.e. the historial romance ones), I am looking forward to reading this one. Thanks for that detailed review. I am hoping to get a copy of The Poison Princess soon but since my local bookstore doesn't have it yet as well as Kresley's new book about Dacians called Shadows Claim, I might just have to get it on ebook which I intend to read this holiday season. I know it will be worth it. Happy Reading to all KC fans out there like me. Keep the good reviews coming! :)

  5. Thanks Kittypaws! This is the first Kresley Cole book I've read. I know several people who love her works so I may check them out in the future. I hope you love Poison Princess when you read it!

  6. I'm really eager to read this one. The feedback has just been excellent. I'm so glad I already have it. I'll need to dive in soon!!

  7. It's interesting how you feel for two flawed characters!

    Lovely review:)

  8. Exactly! I loved this book so much, even though I'm still not exactly sure why. Of course I do love Kresley Cole with a passion, it's like I can't help but to like whatever she writes.

    Next book in series, please, come to us!!

  9. What a great review. makes me want to run to the bookstore to get this one. Splendid story!

  10. Thank you all for your awesome comments! I can't wait for the next one either!! Bring it!

  11. I had a slightly different experience with this one than a lot of people did. It took me a while to really get myself involved in the story. I tried hard, and there were moments when I thought that I thought were going to catch me. But it didn't happen until the middle of the book. And then, I was hooked. That ending was absolutely amazing! I cannot wait for the second book. And I am thinking that I will love it from the beginning!

    1. I totally understand where you're coming from...I felt a bit that way too. It was very different from other books I've read...but I liked its uniqueness too! Glad you ended up loving it!!

  12. Sounds like the character has some insecurities. I like that, makes them easier to relate to. Thank you for the review/recommendation.

  13. I was soooooo confused when I started this book but gradually I started to understand what was going on. I agree, the romance between Jackson and Evie was definitely 'SMOKIN'!

    The ending was horrible. I want the next book!

    1. Right?! That cliffhanger was a bit rough...can't wait for the next one!

  14. Oh, I love post-apocalyptic novels. Thanks for the review. Now I know that I must endure the first few pages before and the book will be epic. :)

  15. Huh. The book blurb doesn't make this sound like something I'd be at all interested in (especially with the typical princess-y protagonist and bad-boy love interest :/), but I'm going to have to reconsider this, after all the (surprisingly) good reviews I've read about it, your included.

  16. Thanks everyone for your great comments! And I hope you enjoy this great read when you do get to it!


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