Poison Princess by Kresley Cole
Published October 2nd, 2012 by Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
Synopsis and cover photo from the Goodreads book page
Buy this book at: Book Depository / Amazon / B&N
She could save the world—or destroy it.
Sixteen year old Evangeline “Evie” Greene leads a charmed life, until she begins experiencing horrifying hallucinations. When an apocalyptic event decimates her Louisiana hometown, Evie realizes her hallucinations were actually visions of the future—and they’re still happening. Fighting for her life and desperate for answers, she must turn to her wrong-side-of-the-bayou classmate: Jack Deveaux.
But she can’t do either alone.
With his mile-long rap sheet, wicked grin, and bad attitude, Jack is like no boy Evie has ever known. Even though he once scorned her and everything she represented, he agrees to protect Evie on her quest. She knows she can’t totally depend on Jack. If he ever cast that wicked grin her way, could she possibly resist him?
Who can Evie trust?
As Jack and Evie race to find the source of her visions, they meet others who have gotten the same call. An ancient prophesy is being played out, and Evie is not the only one with special powers. A group of twenty-two teens has been chosen to reenact the ultimate battle between good and evil. But it’s not always clear who is on which side….
This book and I had a love/hate relationship throughout the course of it and it disappointed me. But let me back up a second. I haven’t read a Kresley Cole book before. I have heard a lot of really great things about the books and have several of them on my TBR list, but just haven’t gotten to them yet. Then I saw this book and I fell in love. The cover on this book is simply amazing. It is so gorgeous that I can hardly stand it. Since the premise sounded interesting too, I pre-ordered it sight unseen. Then I noticed that it had a blurb on it from PC Cast and I thought “Oh God, what have I done!” This is the woman whose book I had to put away because it made me want to vomit so much, and she’s recommending this!? I considered that perhaps I had made a very serious mistake. But I persevered and overall I am happy about that, but not entirely.
I liked Evie for the most part. I found her to be kind, sweet, plucky, and determined when she needed to be. But typical YA heroine stuff started leaking into her personality and I didn’t like that. As soon as Jack got into the picture she was whiny, annoying, dependent, and stupid to the point of being suicidal. I shouldn’t agree when another character calls her useless, but I did…often. I got so angry with her for fawning over this stupid boy so much that I wanted to shake her. However, her character redeemed herself in the end by finishing the book in a serious kick ass fashion. If only we didn’t have this stupid, silly little love triangle in the book it would have easily been 5 stars.
Now let’s turn to Jack. Was I supposed to like him? Was I supposed to see him as a sweet and romantic love interest for Evie? Was I supposed to giggle at his cuteness? Because I didn’t, not to any of that. I found him to be an absolute asshole. I’m really hoping that at some point YA will figure out that “bad boys” are NOT SEXY! Someone going to jail and being suspended from school and leering at girls is not cute or romantic or sexy or sweet! It is creepy and the pinnacle of douchebaggery. Jack is a drunk, I can’t even call him an alcoholic because he doesn’t think there’s a problem. There isn’t a single time he’s mentioned where he’s not knocking back the booze. He is crude and sexually inappropriate constantly. He sexually pressures Evie on multiple occasions, several of which were while she had a boyfriend. He leers at girls constantly and makes inappropriate comments when he hardly knows them. And he is just downright horrible to Evie so often that I stopped keeping track. He calls her names all the time, he puts her down, he belittles her opinions or feelings, he is passive aggressive to the extreme, and is a complete man slut. I mean, for God’s sake, at one point he threatens to throw Evie onto any available horizontal surface and bang the living daylights out of her…for touching his stomach while riding on his motorcycle! Apparently that means he can’t control himself anymore. How is any of this romantic?! I wanted to take a long hot shower with liberal use of bleach and then file a restraining order against this creeper! But the other love interest, Brandon, isn’t much better. He tries to pressure Evie into having sex as a reward for what a good and faithful boyfriend he’s been and he deserves it. Yet at the same time as trying to get in her pants, he shows a total disregard for her feelings and is much more interested in leering at other girls in her presence. Luckily he wasn’t around long enough to enrage me as much as Jack. I just have no more words for any of this. Do I have to get out the signs of domestic abuse again? I REALLY think I do.
Let’s move on to the plot now, shall we? I was fascinated by this plot, as much as the characters infuriated me it was the plot that kept my interest alive. I LOVED the idea of these people representing the Major Arcana of the Tarot. Now, as a pagan, I am fairly well versed in the Tarot and so I was acutely aware of what everyone’s role was and what their presence probably meant once I learned what their card was. It is such a unique idea and I loved it very much. I also was enthralled with the way this plot started out with Arthur because he was royally creepy. I wanted so badly to know more about Arthur and how Evie got to be in his presence. The one big downside to the plot was how much time we spent on Evie’s issues with Brandon and Jack at school prior to the end of the world happening. How exactly were Evie’s text messages relevant to the overall plot? Why did any of these people matter at all since most of them ended up dead by the middle of the book? We spent way too much time on that and it frustrated me, I wanted to get on with things. Once we did move on with the plot I loved every page. I didn’t know what was coming next and I adored the twists and turns to the plot. Then I reached the end and was left with my mouth hanging open and the only words I could muster were, “Holy fuck, I didn’t see that coming.”
I would recommend this book to almost any fantasy or post-apocalypse fan. It is a worthy edition to the genre once you get passed the annoying stereotypical YA parts. The plot alone is worth the investment.