I am part of the Poison blog tour, dedicated to spreading the word about the amazing work of the late Bridget Zinn, librarian and YA author. There are dozens and dozens of blogs participating, and I encourage you to visit them all to read more about Poison. You can also go to Bridget’s site to read more about Poison and about Bridget. (Many authors have also written wonderful pieces about Bridget, one of my favorites is by E.M. Kokie, I really urge you to read that!) Now, onto the review!
The thing about Poison is: I can’t remember the last time I had this much FUN reading a book.
I suppose I should mention that while I really am genre-ventrous (my made-up word explaining how I really will read any genre) I do read a lot of YA that’s much more … intense, let us say. Part of this, I think, is because that’s the majority of what’s being published in YA in the first place. Sometimes it feels like it’s back to back end-of-the-world-fight-to-the-death-sacrifices-suffering-dystopia-murder-rape in YA. Which, ya know, is kind of brilliant, because teens love high stakes and honest conversations about their world. There’s nothing wrong with that, in fact, I think it’s something for the genre to be proud of: YA tells the truth, it doesn’t back down. and it means something. That’s awesome.
BUT WHAT ABOUT FUN, ALSO? Reading Poison reminded me of how rewarding that element of YA can be: the delightful whirl of adventure and magical creatures and banter between two utterly charming leads.
I read Poison with a grin on my face that never stopped. It was pure delight.
What I Love About This Book
Kyra, a potions-master, thinks she’s the only person who knows that her kingdom in about to collapse, so she’ll do whatever it takes to save it – even if it means killing the future queen, the girl who used to be her best friend. But! It all backfires and Kyra is soon on the run, still determined to finish her mission. In short order she finds herself saddled with a pig who can sniff out targets (said pig is not adorable! Kyra will not be charmed by said pig!) and an obnoxious guy named Fred who just won’t leave her alone to finish her murderous quest in peace. In hot pursuit are the entire royal guard and Kyra’s ex-boyfriend and fellow potions-master, Hal. Twists, turns, magical creatures of all sorts, bandits, and undeniable pig adorableness soon ensues.
In short, what’s not to love? I love everything about our heroine Kyra. I love that she is clever but not perfect and a bad-ass but not super-human. I love that she is not only skilled with poison darts but with making the potions as well, this is a great touch, she knows all the complicated chemistry to make the BEST potions, not just how to fling them about. Kyra is highly skilled, intelligent, and completely capable – a dream YA heroine! I also love Kyra and Fred. They have banter worthy of a screwball comedy from the 1940s and one of my all-time favorite meet cutes. They’re a great pair, full of whiz-bang chemistry that reminded me how truly satisfying a light-hearted romance can be.
I can’t stress enough how much FUN I had reading Poison. I just flew through it. Zinn did a great job structuring it – you’re pulled into the mystery of Kyra on the run from the first page and you don’t want to stop reading until you find out the ‘whole’ story of how we meet up with her, breaking into her old living quarters, seeking out deadly poison. The chapters are short and each have a cliff-hanger ending, throwing you headlong into the action chapter by chapter. Another strength of Poison is that not only does it have huge appeal (fans of humor! fans of romance! fans of adventure! fans of fairy tales! fans of fantasy!) but it’s high-interest for even younger readers – this isn’t high YA, middle-schoolers are sure to be fans too. Because of this, and so many other factors, Poison is highly recommended as a first purchase for public libraries.
Poison is, I know, I keep using this word delightful – but it is! In so many ways, it reminded me of The Princess Bride. Like The Princess Bride, Poison is full of adventure, swashbuckling, hidden identities, magic, plenty of humor and heart; something that feels old-fashioned and yet modern too.
I’m so glad Bridget Zinn’s Poison is out in the world and once you pick it up and start reading (and trust me, you’ll have a hard time putting it down) you will be too. And I know you’ll want to share it with your teen readers too.
So, because I want to share the sweetness of Poison with as many people as possible, I’m giving away a copy! All you need to do is leave a comment on this post by April 2 and I’ll choose one random winner. If you don’t win a copy, think about purchasing one. If you can’t purchase one, go check out a copy from your local library and if they don’t have one, request they add it to their collection!
I mean, don’t you think your life could use a little more delight? Thank you, Bridget, for the all the wonder and fun and joy and, yes, delight.