Wednesday, December 5, 2012

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Title: Poison Princess
Author: Kresley Cole
Narrator: Emma Galvin, Keith Nobbs
Series: The Arcana Chronicles, book #1
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Audio
Publication Date: October 2, 2012
Source: purchased
Purchase: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Audible

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...

Poison Princess could've been great.  As it stands, I'm not sure if I liked this story or not. It was so confusing and convoluted and there was so much miscommunication. And it's probably one of those rare books (for me, anyway) where it would have made more sense had I read the text instead of listening to the audio simply because there was so much going on.

One of the things that bugged me the most was that the reader never learns the cause of the apocalyptic event that nearly wipes out all life on the planet.  We only see glimpses of it through Evie's visions, and even then, they're not reliable because Evie is too preoccupied with her own sanity to give the visions any credibility.  Speaking of, could Evie be any more dense?  She asks plenty of questions throughout the story but never the right ones.  It was infuriating and made it that much harder to connect with her as a character.

It doesn't help that I was immediately put off by Evie's immaturity and lack of experience when it came to boys.  For example, in the very beginning of the novel, Evie admits to promising her boyfriend that she would sleep with him when she turns 16 if they're still together.  This is her way of keeping him interested because he apparently has roaming eyes, and she's afraid of losing him.  What?!?  That is not okay!  Purportedly, Evie is attractive and popular, a cheerleader and queen bee-type, so I'm sure there is someone else for her, someone who treats her better.  But even if there's not, never in a million years is that okay!

My next point of contention is ole Jack, who likes to refer to himself as such.  My problem isn't actually with his character because even though he is flawed in ways you don't want to know, at least he's always honest.  He never said he was a good guy or that he'd rescue Evie from the hell she's found herself in or any of those chivalrous declarations that most YA heroes make when in this situation.  No, my problem with ole Jack is Evie's immediate hatred toward him, despite not knowing anything about him.  Despite drooling over him and  practically describing him as sex-on-a-stick.  Because really, is insta-hate any better than insta-love?

In spite of generally disliking all of the characters and the "romance", the tarot aspect kept me intrigued.  I didn't really know much about tarot going into this book, and I still don't really understand it now, but the story focuses on the Major Arcana, or the 22 trump cards without suits.  According to the synopsis for this novel, there are 22 teens linked to each trump card and they are to fight "the ultimate battle between good and evil".  Each teen has a special power or ability related to the card they represent in the Major Arcana, and I'm assuming it's going to help them in this epic battle. Yeah, I didn't see much of that storyline in this novel, but it's the first in the series, so I guess we're building up to that.  Had the story focused more on that and the apocalypse and less on Evie's neurosis and her ever-changing feelings toward ole Jack, I might have enjoyed it more.

As I mentioned before, I might actually have liked this novel better had I read it instead of listening to the audio.  Emma Galvin was great as the narrator...except when she was voicing Evie, but maybe that was the point.  Evie was portrayed as selfish and naive and immature, and that's exactly how she sounds on the audiobook.  I'm not sure how to rate my agitation due to that fact.  The narrator does a great job with all of Jack's Cajun phrasing and French vocabulary, though.  What I didn't get was why there was a separate narrative at times for the man that Evie is relaying her story to.  Why did he get his own POV?  (And why can't I remember his name?!?)  That's not the fault of the narrator or the audiobook, but it felt unnecessary to include this perspective, even after knowing his relation to the story.

This was my first Kresley Cole novel, and I'm sure it won't be my last because my curiosity will get the best of me, and I will have to find out what happens to Evie and the rest of the Major Arcana.  Regardless, I am not impressed...not after all of the raving for this book and her adult novels.  I just didn't see whatever those readers apparently saw.  If I had reviewed this immediately after listening, I would have given it 2 stars.  A week or so ago when I was trying to remind myself about the book and characters in order to review it, I might have given it 3, maybe 3 1/2 stars.  Now that I've gotten my rant out of the way, I feel like it was somewhere in-between.

Favorite Quotes:

“Matthew, exactly how psychic are you?
So psychic that other psychics should be called Mattics.” 

“At that, the initial mrowr pfft pfft I'd felt transformed into I will cut a bitch.”

“If you touch me like that again, Evangeline,” he began in a husky tone, dropping to his seat once more, “in the space of a heartbeat, I will have you off this bike and onto the closest horizontal surface. And I woan be picky, no.” 

Rating:  Photobucket 1/2


  1. Nope I am with you on this one. I did not like Evie she was immature and a brat. I hated the glossing over the flash and instead wasted all that time in high school to again show what a brat and cry baby Evie was. I had not read a Cole book before and I was very underwhelmed by this one.

    1. Okay, glad I'm not the only one. I saw so many gushing reviews of this one, and I was wondering if we even read the same book, lol.

  2. Ahh thats such a shame. I've seen this book around a fair bit and thought it looked quite good (love the cover, too). Your review was great and you've described stuff that I think I would have probably picked up on too. Might have to give this one a miss then! Cheers, fab review

    RobynLeanne @ Fairytales and Folklore

    1. Glad to have hopefully saved you! I don't know...maybe it was just me because several people loved it, but it just grated on my nerves for the most part.

  3. Hmmm, I was considering trying to squeeze this one in this month, but I think I'll pass instead. It is already SO EASY for me to hate books set in Louisiana because authors tend to lean on clichés and stereotypes rather than actually capturing the setting and culture. The last thing I'd want is for the characters to be obnoxious on top of it. Thanks for (probably) saving me from this one, Jen.

    1. Oh, yeah, I think being from Louisiana, you would definitely take issue with this book. I've barely even passed through the state, and I take issue with it!


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