Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Review: POISON by Bridget Zinn

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.
I wasn't sure what to think of Poison at first. The cover looked more like a cheesy movie poster than an actual book cover, and I'm leery of books with gimmicky animals. (Hello, "too-cute pig.") But it's hard for me to ignore any book that involves poisons, and it seemed like everyone in the blogosphere positively adored this book, so I requested a review copy.

Then, once I had the ARC tucked safely on my shelf, I learned more about the story behind the story. Throughout social media, there's been a big push to promote Ms. Zinn's work, as Poison, sadly, is both her first and last published novel. Ms. Zinn passed away in 2011 from cancer.

I think this is the hardest I've tussled with a review in a long time. I wanted to like this book. No, I wanted to LOVE this book. But I didn't, not even a little.

It was very difficult for me to lose myself in the story. The writing was rough and desperately in need of polishing, in my opinion. Though the story was ostensibly a fantasy, the language used was very current. Kyra mentions "freaky genetics" and talks about things being "totally weird," to list just two of many examples. At no point did I feel like I was reading about an authentic fantasy world.

I also couldn't get into the characters. Kyra was fine, I guess, though vaguely whiny. All of the supporting characters felt very flat and two-dimensional. Even Fred, the love interest, was just so-so. (By the way, the romance felt very juvenile and rushed. Don't go in expecting to swoon.) Really, the star of the show was the one character I expected to despise. Rosie, the "too-cute pig" from the synopsis, really was adorable.

My biggest complaint was that the entire story felt rushed and far too short. Though Poison touched on potentially interesting moments, nothing felt like it had any substance. Gypsies? Meh. Witches? Whatever. Potioners? Arranged marriages? Plots? Impending doom? Whatever. By the end, I didn't care. I skimmed. SKIMMED! During the climax!

Other than the inclusion of disgusting creatures called grecks (look for them on page 65) and some genuinely funny moments, Poison was a bust for me. However, I am definitely in the minority in the blogosphere, so definitely check it out on your own. (For a great positive review of Poison, check out my buddy Ems' post.)

Points Added For: Grecks, Rosie, the stream scene making me laugh.

Points Subtracted For: Feeling like a really weak MG, boring me, failing to make me care.

Good For Fans Of: The Nanny McPhee 2 movie trailer, the Ella Enchanted movie,

Notes For Parents: Light language (one word).

Note: I was given an ARC of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

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