Title: Poison Princess [The Arcana Chronicles]
Author: Kresley Cole
Genre: Dystopian, Apocalyptic, Young Adult, Fantasy, Paranormal
Rating: 4 Stars
Description/Synopsis: 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….
WARNING - SPOILERS MAY ENSUE BEYOND THIS POINT - REVIEW BELOW
Last month for my Romance Book-Club, we had two books we were asked to read, and Poison Princess by Kresley Cole was the second of them. To be honest, I was so busy that I didn't get to it, so this month the first thing I did was read the two books we'd been asked to. Out of the two, I think Poison Princess certainly had the best world building. The book starts with a girl, Evangeline, who has recently returned to school after spending the summer in a mental institution. For as long as she can remember she's had visions and hallucinations of the end of the world, and other terrifying images of death and destruction. What she doesn't realize, is that all of her visions are true. The world is about to end, and Evangeline may be the only person who can save the remnants of what's left. So starts the journey of Evangeline, her mother, a cajun boy from the wrong side of town, and two wayward teens from another part of the country as the seek out the truth of Evie's visions, what truly happened when the great flash scorched the Earth to cinders, and what their purpose is in the upcoming battle of the Arcana.
I actually really enjoyed the world building in this book. A great flash that scorches the crust of the Earth in a manner of minutes isn't an entirely new concept to the end of the world, but it's certainly a lesser used one. Scientists have been saying for years that if a very large sunflare (which we're due for in the next 5 years) were to happen, one of two outcomes would become reality. The first, is that all electronic equipment on the face of the Earth would be fried... leaving us back in the stone-age (yes, we are currently preparing for this situation in the US. It's going to happen.) The second, is that if the sunflare were large enough, it could very well burn up the Earth and make it nearly uninhabitable (This should happen in the next 10,000 years). Kresley Cole went with the second option. It's a terrifying reality where plants, animals, and water are nearly non-existent, and humans aren't destined to survive long. Once the few non-perishable supplies are gone, that's the end of humanity. We can't live without an ecosystem or sufficient water. I thought Ms. Cole did an excellent job of showing the true desperation of such a situation through her characters and the brutality of how they lived their lives.
As for the characters, well, they irked me a bit. Evangeline was your typical clueless, snobby, teen. It's almost unfortunate that she was one of the popular kids. She seemed to have a very shallow personality for the majority, if not all, of the book. Generally I like my main characters to be a bit less air-headed, and a lot more determined. Evangeline seemed ready to give up at every turn, and let her teenage angst get in the way of some really critical decisions. She worried more about boys than her own survival, and I found that really irritating.
Jack, on the other hand, was extremely determined, practical, and had a no-nonsense attitude when it came to survival. I really enjoyed him as a character for the most part, except one major character flaw: he was totally in love with Evie... I couldn't understand it. He even said at one point that he found her snobbish and useless, and yet he refused to leave her behind. I would have. I guess overall, I did enjoy the other characters, and they each seemed unique and consistent. Mainly, it was Evie I couldn't stand.
That aside, The narrative moved fast, was clearly written, and had a fun dark undertone to the story. The use of tarot cards as a basis for the main characters of the story was a unique and interesting way of setting things up that I did like, but I'm not sure I fully understood. Why did the tarot cards have superhero/villain counterparts? I don't know. Why did they feel the need to battle it out at the end of the world? No idea. Either way, it was still fun, and I really enjoyed it.
I do have to admit though, that I greatly disliked the ending of the story.
It seemed like, the entire story I was rooting for Evie to not turn into the red witch. She tried so hard to be good and avoid killing people... and then at the end.. she turned wholly evil. What? How did this happen? Why did this happen? Jack was terrified of her, and it just seems to me that she threw everything she'd been working towards during the course of the book out the window. I was NOT happy.
(End of spoilers)
Overall, I really liked the story. It was engaging, well written, and a unique take on the apocalypse. It wasn't what I was expecting (I don't know why I was expecting an actual princess to be in a book called Poison Princess!) but it was fun all the same. I'd certainly recommend it to anyone who likes Dystopian, Fantasy, or angsty teen novels.