Thursday, March 20, 2014

Poison by Bridget Zinn

PoisonTitle: Poison 
Author: Bridget Zinn
Series: -
Published: March 13th, 2013
Publisher: Disney Hyperion
Pages: 288 (hardcover)
I checked this book out from my local library. 

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. -Goodreads

Quirky. That's the first word that comes to mind when I think about Poison. That and then humorous. Which would make it quirkorous? Humorky? Seriously, there needs to be a new word invented specifically for this book. Don't believe me? Check out the dust jacket--it's a good indication of the kind of tone you're going to get when you pick up Bridget Zinn's book:

(I mean, come on. The book has a magic pig in it. If that doesn't scream fun to you then consider rethinking your definition of fun.)
With that said, if you're looking for a lighthearted, quick-paced stand alone high fantasy novel, then look no further than Poison. Right from page one the novel has you moving at a quick clip with a cast of characters that's easy to grow attached to. Kyra especially. As far as YA protagonists go, she's remarkably unique. I can't say I've read many novels where the main character was a potions master, yet alone one with a no-nonsense pragmatic attitude, seriously questionable motives, and a dry sense of humor that makes her endearing even in the darkest of moments. (Which in itself is a delightful taste of ironic, considering how the book revolves around the fact that she tried to murder her best friend. Um.) Also, romance! While, yes, romance isn't unique to these sorts of adventures, the love story in Poison was sweet, almost like a Disney movie. Nothing too hot and heavy, just enough to satisfy the romantic in every reader's heart. 

However, don't mistake lighthearted with predictable. While it might be easy to at first glance throw Poison into the simple-minded, fairy tale-inspired category, Poison doesn't hold back, throwing plot twists frequently throughout the adventure. And sure, while some of them are predictable, I was surprised more often then not. Thanks to the strength of Zinn's writing voice and vision, all those itty bitty teeny tiny curious hints dropped throughout Kyra's adventure (and trust me, there are a lot) are wrapped up towards the end in a very satisfying way. 

The only issue I had with the book wasn't even an issue, more like a wish; sometimes the plot moved a little too fast, skimming over details or scenes I wish would have had a little more meat on them. I'm a sucker for good world building, and Poison is the kind of story where things are explained on an "it's here, so you need to know" basis. Which, if I'm honest, really is well done (so well done that you don't really notice until you stop to think about all the things you don't know) but still didn't stop me from looking for more. Unfortunately, just after I finished reading the book I learned that the author passed away in 2011 from cancer. While I might not get the chance to explore more of Zinn's work, I'm very glad that Disney Hyperion went ahead and published Poison. This really is a must-read for those looking to collect another title to add under their high fantasy belt, one that's full of humor and heart.