This is a review of “Poison Princess” by Kresley Cole. It is her first YA novel, and is the first novel in The Arcana Chronicles.
Evangeline “Evie” Greene is a sixteen year old apocalypse survivor. Alone, she has stumbled into the home of Arthur. He asks Evie to tell him her story. Her story before The Flash (what everyone now calls the apocalyptic event) and after. After having a bite to eat and something warm to drink, she does. Arthur is a little…off though.
Evie takes us back to before The Flash, where she has just returned home after a stint in a mental institution. She was sent there by her mother to deal with her hallucinations. She’d been hearing voices and seeing visions of the world ending. She’s vowed to never go back there, and is working at appearing as normal as possible. She doesn’t want her mother to know that the voices and visions have not gone…
So it’s back to school. Back to her crazy BFF Mel and her gorgeous boyfriend Brandon. Back to … Cajuns? A new bridge has been built in the area and now a group of teens from the poor Cajun district attend their school. Clotile is sexy and braless, and is the new object of desire for the high school boys. Lionel is a petty thief. And Jackson is… a bit of a motorcycle riding mystery, and Evie’s new History Project parter. He always seems to be staring at Evie, and she’s one of the only ones that can understand the French that the Cajuns speak (not that she’s letting on).
When The Flash hits, Evie and her mother go on a looting spree (purely in the name of survival). Shortly after, Evie’s mother realises that Evie was never crazy. All her visions have come true. She is racked with guilt over the way she’s treated Evie, and Evie’s grandmother (her mother) whom she blamed for brainwashing Evie. They survive quite well until Evie’s mother is accosted by some Bagmen (fluid seeking zombies) and suffers internal injuries. Evie doesn’t know what to do. She is all set to go for help when Jackson shows up. So the Cajun survived, did he?
He warns them of a militia army that approaches, one that does wicked things and is searching for women. He is headed for Texas. He asks them to come along, but Evie cannot make the decision with her mother so ill. But in the morning she leaves with Jackson, on the condition that they head towards her grandmother. Evie is certain that she will know what to do, and she longs to remember the things her grandmother told her when she was little, about tarot and the Arcana. But thanks to her mother and to therapy, she has mostly blocked it out.
It’s not so bad with Jackson. The voices are quieter around him.
Can they survive the trip to find her grandmother? What about bagmen and militia? Or crazed survivors and cannibals? Who do the voices that speak to her belong to, and should she or shouldn’t she listen to them? And what’s with this Arthur dude?
I really did like this novel. It was a little dark for a YA novel, but it was compelling. I loved Jackson’s Cajun accent, and the way Cole put it down on paper, I could hear it rolling into my ears. It was a little confusing at times (especially the voices of the arcana) but everything made sense as long as I kept reading. I finished the book pretty quickly, and it’s a shame I’ll have to wait a while for the next installment. Cole did a pretty great job with her first YA novel, and if you’re a fan of her adult stuff, I don’t think you’ll be disappointed with this.