Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Book Review: Poison

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. Quoted from Goodreads


This is such a fun, delightful book.  Really, it's got just about everything you want in a story: mystery, adventure, romance, plot twists, strong main character, and a great ending.  To be perfectly honest, it reminded me of two things: Lloyd Alexander's Prydane series and a disney movie. That may not mean much to you, but it's high praise from me.  This is the kind of novel you read that just enchants you and takes you back to the adventures that sold you on reading in the first place.

First, let's talk about Kyra.  She is absolutely delightful.  She's strong, focused, and amazing at what she does.  She's the kind of character I love reading about.  She faces some really hard choices (like killing her best friend to save the kingdom), but she doesn't wallow in self pity.  She knows what she has to do, and she gets it done, no matter how much it might destroy her personally.  

Then we have Kyra's adorable companions.  First there's Fred, who's as likable a love interest as was ever created.  He's the perfect foil for Kyra, and helps her when she needs it the most, though maybe not quite in the way she wants. Plus they have a delightful banter/rapport. Then there's Rosie . . . the pig.  Honestly, I don't think I've seen such a fun pig since Hen Wen (and yes, it's probably the pig that first inspired my Book of Three comparison). She's fun, quirky, and is one of the more stand-out/un-annoying animal companions out there.

The adventure itself is just fun.  Yes, there's a lot of serious issues, they encounter a witch who wants to eat them, Kyra's being hunted down as the princess killer (or at least attempted murderer), she's forced to bargain with criminals, and even Fred may not be as innocent as he seems.  Despite all the danger and excitement, there's a light element about the whole thing.  It's not ridiculous, like so many fun, light high fantasy's are.  It's just that perfect blend of peril and humor, whimsy and excitement.

Unfortunately the author, Bridget Zinn, died before this book was actually printed, which is sad.  She's one of those people whose blog I would probably stalk to find out what she's writing next.  Still I'm really happy this still got published and we get the opportunity to read it.  

All in all this book is a delightful (yes, I know I keep using that word) 4.5 stars for me.  You absolutely need to pick this up, whether you're young and discovering books for the first time or older and want to capture the magic you felt when you first started reading.  

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