Review: Poison by Bridget Zinn
Rating: A cute, whimsical little fairy tale with a sense of humor and an insanely cute pig. Though it lacked some depth, and I encountered one or two tiny plot holes, I was basically charmed from beginning to end!
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.
The cover: I keep flip-flopping on this one! I can't decide if it's whimsical and appropriately cutesy, or if I think it looks like a cheesy movie poster, like Ella Enchanted or something (a book I love and a movie I refuse to speak of). I will say that's EXACTLY as I pictured Kyra, and the pig is perfection. I'm also crazy about that title font.
The story: Well, that was just delightful. Seriously, this is such a fun, whimsical little book, full of light, humor, and magic. This is feel-good fantasy at it's finest, the kind that feels more middle grade than gritty YA. But sometimes, all you really ask for in life is a little pink pig, a cute boy with a sunny smile, and a sassy lady potioneer whose sole purpose is to entertain you. And in that regard, Poison most definitely succeeds.
Let's start with the lady herself, Kyra the master potioneer. I thought she was a blast from page one, in which she is scaling the side of a building, attempting to break in. She's funny and tough, but not... hard, I guess, like your typical bad-ass YA girl adept with poisonous potions. She has a royal best friend, an ex-boyfriend, and people she loves, though she's understandably on the outs with them, having just attempted to assassinate said best friend. She's driven, sure, and very focused, but not entirely closed off. She's not as tough as she pretends to be, and I enjoyed spending time with her.
Sidebar: Is it just me, or is there a trend for K-named fantasy/dystopian YA heroines? Kyra from Poison, Kira from Prophecy, Katsa from Graceling, Karou from Daughter of Smoke and Bone, Katniss from The Hunger Games, etc. Not a complaint, just something interesting to think about.
Plus: pig. Really, really cute pig. Expect major giggles during a certain river-crossing scene (tip: Do not ever cross a river with a pig on your head), and, for me, the scene with the "man lesson". And FRED! I loved Fred. I wanted more from Fred, though I was certainly happy with what I got. Yes, their romance was underdeveloped, but it suited this light fairy tale feel. Fred is hilarious, adorable, dorky, and relentlessly cheerful. I just loved that guy (and his wolf dog!) to pieces. Basically, Fred is ALL MINE, and if anyone tries to take him from me... well, let's just say I won't stand for that.
|No, I won't stand for it at all.|
Sadly, Bridget Zinn, the author, passed away from cancer in 2011, and she is an author who will definitely be missed. I love her voice. It's vibrant, upbeat, and funny. She does this whimsical sort of light-fantasy very well, even if I felt Poison needed one more round of editing, just to polish up the prose here and there and flesh out a couple plot points (the gypsies, the witch, Ned and Hal, Dartagn, ARLO. And possibly introduce some Kyra back story a little earlier, though I did enjoy the surprise of her late-in-the-game reveal). The climax could have been bigger, the emotional points could have had more (or any) impact. But in the end, I just shrugged and kept reading. I was seriously enjoying myself. There was a pig, people were making jokes, the guy was cute. I was a happy camper.
The story unraveled in the strangest way. Kyra (and Zinn) kept secrets from you. I was just railing the other day about how much I don't like that, but this is different. This was like they were handing out little dollops of information about Kyra's plans, her background, and why she has to kill her best friend, Princess Ariana, in tiny spoonfuls. Just enough so you wouldn't go crazy *ahem, Dark Star, the book in which we got no dollops at all the entire first half* , but enough that I was turning the pages fast.
|Kyra's back story, sneeeeaking up on you|
Of course, when it got to the big Kyra SURPRISE near the end, I was kind of like, "Well, I would have appreciated this knowledge a bit earlier", but it did make a fun surprise. And again, it suited this kind of book: the kind that pokes at you, giggles with you, and winks.
This is one I'll definitely go back and reread when I need an emotional pick-me-up. Poison was the very definition of delightful.