Poison

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4.2 (3)
 
4.5 (3)
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Poison
Author(s)
Genre(s)
Age Range
12+
Release Date
March 12, 2013
ISBN
1423139933
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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.

Editor reviews

3 reviews

Overall rating 
 
4.2
Plot 
 
4.3  (3)
Characters 
 
4.3  (3)
Writing Style 
 
4.0  (3)
IT'S SO FLUFFY
Overall rating 
 
4.7
Plot 
 
5.0
Characters 
 
5.0
Writing Style 
 
4.0
What I Loved:
Though I truly delighted in every page of Poison, I can see where it might not be everybody’s cup of cocoa. It’s all going to depend on your expectations and what you’re into. Thankfully, I went in with fairly low expectations and a feeling that the book would be flufftastic. It IS. There is NOTHING wrong with some well done fluff, and I had a big grin on my face the whole way through, so what is better than that?

If you’re in the mood for nuanced world building and a focus on Kyra’s work as a poisoner, you are going to be disappointed. I’m not saying this to be mean, because I loved this book. Thankfully, that’s not what I was looking for and I don’t think it’s what the book was trying to do. Poison is sheer, character-driven entertainment. In fact, Poison would make an awesome Disney movie, but maybe that’s just the fact that I’ve just watched Frozen talking. It’s light, funny, bantery, has great ships, short, and full of awesome female characters.

Though the focus isn’t on the world building, I LOVE the world in Poison. One of the common complaints in fantasy worlds is women being treated like second class citizens. So many fantasy worlds are medieval in their gender roles, and it gets old. The female characters in Poison are empowered. The society actually runs the royal inheritance through the female line. So often, it’s only the heroine who’s a badass (which Kyra is), but basically all of the women are awesome in their own right, and none of them are pushovers.

Kyra charmed me immediately with her snarky judgmentalness and unfriendliness. Basically, she is my soul sister and a lot of people probably won’t like her, which seems to happen with the characters who I most identify with. Anyway, she’s a potioner and a criminal, having fled town after dumping her hot fiancee and trying to kill her best friend, the princess. You know, as one does. I knew for sure that I loved her on page three when she thinks this, as she’s climbing a building to steal some things:

"What she wouldn’t give for a sturdy length of rope to climb. She cursed quietly. What was she doing wishing for rope? If she was going to wish for something, it should be something really important.

Like pie.

Warm from the oven, all crispy, crackly crust and oozing juicy berries."

I LIKE THE WAY THIS GIRL THINKS. Also I like that she’s not an innocent little darling and that she has walls up. I like that she really did try to assassinate her best friend (for the good of the country). She is hard-hearted. She even hates animals, like the little pig who is going to help her find her best friend again to successfully assassinate her this time. That is comedic gold. Though I don’t actually find pigs adorable, watching Kyra open up to Rosie, the pig, and to Fred is heart-touchingly adorable.

Oh yeah, Fred. I KNOW you didn’t think I would review a book without talking about the ship, right? THAT’S WHAT I DO. IT’S WHAT I LIVE FOR. Fred and Kyra are the adorbs and entirely non-instalovey. In fact, everything about them is made of banter. The whole book is very showing not telling. Most of the characterization is done through dialog, which is tricky to get right, but they were all so real and wonderful. I can’t speak to some of the relationships, because they’re spoilery, but I really love the dynamics of all of Kyra’s various relationships: romantic, friendly and family. Feelings, guys. I have them.

The Final Verdict:
Do you like adorable things? Do you like banter? Do you like ships? If you answered yes to all of these things, time to down some Poison. This was the perfect fluffy, fantasy read for me, and just what I needed as I’m coming out of a streak of non-fantastic reading.
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Fun, lighthearted adventure
Overall rating 
 
4.0
Plot 
 
4.0
Characters 
 
4.0
Writing Style 
 
4.0
Poison is different from most of the fantasy I've read, either YA or otherwise. It's lighthearted and whimsical, and never takes itself too seriously. I'll admit, my personal preference normally trends a bit darker, but Poison was a fun read that kept me smiling from beginning to end.

From the first few pages, it becomes clear that Poison is a different type of high fantasy. It's not Lord of the Rings. It's not even The Princess Bride. Don't let this scare you, but if I had to find something to liken it to in tone, I'd probably have to pick...A Kight's Tale. Yes, that terrible Heath Ledger movie. (That I kind of love anyway. Shh, don't tell.) It's got that same mix of medieval setting with modern language and humor, and though the stakes are high, the situation never really feels truly dire, because that's not the tone of the story.

Kyra isn't the most likable heroine I've ever read, but she's fun. As the Master-Potioner-turned-attempted-assassin, she doesn't really turn the trope on its head, but she gives it a refreshing spin. She has her share of cleverness, but also isn't immune to the semi-regular embarrassment that comes with her not-so -developed social skills. But she doesn't go SO far into the land of the socially inept that it becomes strange that she catches the eye of the Good Looking Guy. Whose name is Fred, by the way.

Fred is a fun character. Yes, he does arrive on the scene as Good Looking Guy, but he quickly displays a carefree and quirky personality that won me over. But the real star of the story, in my opinion, is Rosie the Magical Piglet.

You know a story is going to be fun when there's a magical piglet involved.

Together, Kyra, Fred, and Rosie search for the princess, thwart bad guys, and endeavor to save the kingdom. There's magic in the from of witches and potions, but no sweeping, glittery spectacles. There's road trips and sword fights and court intrigue, but with none of the grittiness that normally accompanies these things in fantasy. Part of me missed the grit (seriously, I think this was the best fed and least financially challenged group of fantasy travelers I've ever encountered), but grit would have clashed with the playful tone of the book.

This story a fun, frolicking adventure that enjoys making its readers smile and laugh. The pages turned quickly, and the plot kept me engaged from beginning to end. If you're looking for something fun, friendly, and full of whimsy, check it out.
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Fun!
(Updated: March 18, 2013)
Overall rating 
 
4.0
Plot 
 
4.0
Characters 
 
4.0
Writing Style 
 
4.0
What I Loved:

POISON is a fun fairy-tale that moves along at a swift pace without delving too deeply into the dark, grim themes that are often found in YA fantasy. Because the fight scenes are swift and everyone lives to either go to prison or fight another day, and because the tone is mostly fun and upbeat, I'd recommend this to MG readers as well.

I really enjoyed the main character, Kyra. She's smart, resourceful, feisty, and loyal to her loved ones, but she isn't infallible. I enjoyed seeing her single-minded focus be tested, first by the unexpected addition of an adorable tracking pig to her quest, and then by the also adorable (and irrepressible) Fred. The interaction between Kyra and Fred made the book the fun adventure that it is.

The world is interesting. We aren't given loads of backstory. Instead, the story simply picks up in the middle of Kyra trying to steal something, and she makes references to rules, people, customs, and past events throughout the story until a picture begins to form for the reader. I was fascinated by the idea of a Potions Master being the top of the food chain. Usually, the man with the sword is the most dangerous in the kingdom (or the man with the magic wand), but this time, it's the smart, resourceful girl who applied herself in potions class.

The plot has some twists and turns, two of which I didn't see coming. I think readers will enjoy the plot if they don't try to hard to ferret out the mysteries and just sit back and enjoy the ride. This is a quick read, and between Kyra's voice, the obstacles that keep rising up to stop her quest, and the adorable Fred and Rosie (the pig), there's plenty to recommend this book.

What Left Me Wanting More:

I would've liked more world building in the long run. It feels as if there's certainly a lot more under the surface of Kyra's world. We get hints of it at the end, but the monsters that live in her kingdom, and the magic that seems to be a part of everyday life for many, are never explored in depth. Again, this might be why I feel so confident recommending this for Middle Grade readers. The darker themes are left mostly untouched.

More depth to the world building would've lent more depth to the plot itself. I was never actually worried that Kyra would die or wouldn't succeed, though I was very interested in how she would achieve the outcome. The suspense is minimal, but again, the main charm of this book is it's fun accessibility and flashes of humor.

Final Verdict:

POISON is a fun, charming story full of warmth and humor. It's perfect for younger YA readers and lovers of light fairy tales.
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User reviews

3 reviews

Overall rating 
 
4.5
Plot 
 
4.3  (3)
Characters 
 
4.3  (3)
Writing Style 
 
4.7  (3)
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Posioned With Good Intent
Overall rating 
 
3.3
Plot 
 
3.0
Characters 
 
3.0
Writing Style 
 
4.0
Overall a read that felt like it didn't quite know whether to be middle-grade or YA to me, but worth it all the same. It made me smile and laugh, without resorting to cheap tactics. That's a rare and precious thing these days.
Good Points
Disney-Hyperion is a mixed bag for me as a reader. They usually tend to publish YA that is either too melodramatic for my taste, or too young. So I went into this book not knowing what to expect at all. I ended up loving it for the sweet, funny piece of fluff that it was. Poison is almost the baby, Bieber-obsessed sister of Graceling by Kristin Cashore (but in the best possible way)! I thought that Kyra was not very developed as a character, but that the majority of the focus was on the plot so it didn't distract me too much. Fred was sweet, funny and sounded like just the kind of boy every girl wants to fall in love with. I loved the conflict with the notorious thief who has his own agenda for the Princess' death and wants to make things as hard for Kyra as possible. Rosie the pig and Fred's dog were too cute for words. But this book also has an undertone of snark and more mature humor (nothing to deter parents of the younger set unless they're really strict) such as allusions to marriage and lingerie jokes. The last revelation about Kyra's parentage was one that I never saw coming and I definitely give Zinn props for that idea.
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Master Potioner & Assassin with an Adorable Pig
Overall rating 
 
5.0
Plot 
 
5.0
Characters 
 
5.0
Writing Style 
 
5.0
You know that feeling you get sometimes when you start a book, that it will be impossible to put down? My friends, Poison was just that. The world-building was rich, the characters were lovable, and the writing was perfect for readers of all ages.

Kyra was one of the Master Trio of Potioners, and a highly respected citizen of the Kingdom of Mohr. Princess Ariana, the heir to the throne, is her best friend and the reason that she is on the run. Apparently it is frowned upon to try to murder a princess, even if she's your best friend. The story begins three months after the attempted assasination with Kyra starving and desperate. She is willing to do whatever it takes to kill Ariana because she thinks that she will save the kingdom by doing so. She's also one of those characters that wants to protect everyone she loves, and while doing that, closes everyone out. Yes, Kyra is a person guilty of the whole "I'm doing it to keep you safe" silliness. She also believes in doing what she thinks is the right thing, even at a personal cost. Kyra does end up growing a lot in Poison.

As much as I loved Kyra (which is a lot), there was still enough of my heart to spread around to other characters. Fred was a good-natured, handsome young man that Kyra met on the run. From him she learned how important it was to be responsible to the people who care about her and to not close herself off from them. Rosie was a Katzenheim pig (which is a punchline for a joke in Mohr), who came to Kyra from Arlo, the King of Criminals. Rosie was the key to finding the hidden away Princess Ariana and - let's just face it - adorable. I almost want a pet pig myself now. (Almost.) As for Princess Ariana, she is not a typical princess, and I probably would be friends with her myself. She won me over wtih the underwear that she made "Kitty" (her nickname for Kyra) for her birthday. Ariana knows that "Kitty" takes herself too seriously and can't resist tweaking her nose a little from time to time. Trust me when I say the book is worth reading for how that plays out alone. It's still awesome on other levels, but that... *snickers*

The world-building in Poison is sound, but fairly typical of humorous fantasy adventures. There is almost always going to be the serious character who gets zinged by his/her funnier companions. Blunders, trouble, and other silliness will happen, and it will be a lot of fun. (It did in Poison, and it was.) Where the book surprised me though was with some of the twists. I did not see what I thought of as the main one coming (you can email if you want to know which one I'm talking about) because it never occurred to me to be expecting one. This is a trick that most authors' use only results in me being pissed at their shenanigans, but Zinn was successful in pleasing me and making my jaw drop a little. (It is a rare thing to surprise me in a book.) There was no sleight of hand or trickery - just really good writing.

The pacing of Poison is fast. The book grabbed me and did not let go until I finished. Or vice versa. I kept wanting more and more out of the story and had loads of questions - why did Kyra try to kill Ariana? who was Kyra engaged to? Why was that pig so damn cute? With each answer, I wanted to know even more. I could not step away from this novel until I was done. I'm already considering a reread because I made my journey with Kyra much too quickly.

Poison is a fantastic YA debut that I think will be around for many years to come. The book is a great crossover for middle grade, as well as adult readers. It is a funny, smart, and fast-paced novel that I plan on putting into everyone's hands. I recommend that you go find yourself a copy of this book immediately. If you'd rather try your luck, I'll have an international giveaway for a copy of Poison up tomorrow!
Good Points
The world-building, characters, and umm... Everything?
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One word: cute
In one word: cute.


I didn't expect this to have such a MG feel to it, but it was okay. I am such a sucker for fairytales that I was fully able to enjoy a story that was a little too squeaky clean to be YA.


I found this to be a fun read, but not really remarkable. I loved that the main character was so fierce. She really did not need anyone to save her. She was fully capable of taking care of herself. But of course, it wouldn't be a fairytale if it stayed that way. Enter Fred. Such a dreamy bloke with a great sense of humor and a heart of gold.


Of course, not everyone is what they appear to be. Right? Right.


That's all I'm really going to say about that. This was a fun, light read. Nothing heavy or thought provoking. Certainly not life-altering. Just fun and enjoyable. There was one little surprise that I didn't anticipate, but I won't tell you what that was!


If you enjoy fairytales, this is a perfect addition to your book shelf.
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Fun read, perfect for any age
Overall rating 
 
5.0
Plot 
 
5.0
Characters 
 
5.0
Writing Style 
 
5.0
Poison by Bridget Zinn
ARC received from Disney Hyperion
Release Date: 3-12-2013
Reviewed by: Middle Sis Jenn
The Sisters Say: Enchanting, Enigmatic, and Endearing

From the first look at Poison, I really didn’t know what to expect. The blurb bore a striking resemblance to my favorite childhood cartoon, The Black Cauldron, though, and I just had to read it to see if it was similar. I mean, both have the enchanted pig, the riffraff guy, and the beautiful girl. After reading Poison, I will say that I loved it! It was very similar to my fave cartoon in some aspects, but there were parts of the story, like Kyra herself, that was all Bridget’s imagination. I’m so sorry that Bridget passed away before getting the chance to write a second novel in this world.

Bridget’s world was delightful—full of intrigue, deception, and romance. I loved the “kind of” magic that blanketed the world. What do I mean by that? I mean that the world wasn’t so full of magic like your Harry Potter’s or the like, but it had touches of it here and there. Kyra’s potions were the most interesting—she had potions for everything—from ones that open doors to ones that turn people into wooden statues. It was fascinating to see Kyra work and create new and old combinations.

Now, let’s get to the fun part—Fred. I liked him the moment he first entered the story—which was hilarious by the way. I had to stop a few times to let myself catch my breath because the picture that Bridget painted was so alive and over the top. It’s been a while since I have read this book, and I can still picture Kyra (in her undies) and Fred’s reaction to them. The romance in this book was so sweet and innocent, which makes this book perfect for MG readers, but also YA readers who enjoy the high fantasy world. It was a nice change of pace, and I admire Bridget for keeping the romance enjoyable yet clean.

Fred was such a fun character—he was rough and tough, and he didn’t let anyone push him around. He provided some comic relief from Kyra’s circumstances, and he really helped to liven up the storyline. There was just something about him, and I can’t quite put my finger on it, but he was just the kind of guy everyone likes.

Kyra was such a great heroine, and that’s a big thing for me to say, because if you follow my reviews, you know it’s hard to impress me with a great heroine. But Kyra did it! She’s the super kick-butt assassin who knows that her best friend (the future ruler) must die or the kingdom will pretty much die a slow and agonizing death. So, she has to make a brutally difficult decision. I admire that she was strong enough to make that decision, but at the same time, she wouldn’t just push aside her guilt. I felt every emotion along with her, and I really felt like I knew Kyra by the end of the novel.

Bridget Zinn’s debut novel is thrilling and passionate. Based in a world where magic looms around every corner, where truth and deceit are separated by a thin line, and where love might be the only thing that can conquer evil, Bridget’s book will open your eyes to a new kind of fantasy. There are plenty of plot twists and turns (some predictable, some not so much), and there’s a little something for everyone in this wonderful tale of murder and truth.

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